Cardinals pump new blood into banged up offensive line

Arizona Sports News online

“Unfortunately, this the part of football that we all hate. Injuries occur.”

That’s Larry Fitzgerald’s response when questioned about the situation at left tackle for the Cardinals, after tackle Levi Brown suffered a triceps injury on Friday night against the Raiders, which left a gaping hole at the position.

Fortunately for the Cardinals, they have bodies to fill Brown’s position, in D.J. Young and D’Anthony Batiste.

Young and Batiste will have to get up to speed quickly, as this is a short work week for the Cardinals. They’ll fly out to Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday for a Thursday night clash with the Tennessee Titans at LP Field.

Young spent all of last season on the practice squad.

This will be his first ever NFL start.

Young won’t lie and say he’s not thinking hard about this game, because he is.

“I’m nervous,” Young said. “That comes with the territory, you’re gonna be nervous until that first hit comes, and then you’re like “Okay, I can get the job done.”

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt plans on starting Young at the left tackle spot, and Batiste at the right tackle spot, and interchange them as he sees fit.

Batiste is heading into his seventh NFL season, but has been limited in the amount of starts he’s had in his time, having just four in that time span.

Whisenhunt says when Batiste flips over to the left tackle position, Bobby Massie will come in and man the right tackle spot.

“This is more about finding out what the younger guys can do,” Whisenhunt said.

Back on Young, who made the jump from the practice squad to being one of the starters. Whisenhunt brought Young up because of certain things he saw in him that peaked his interest.

“I saw a raw guy last year on the practice squad that looked like he had pretty good feet and moved around,” Whisenhunt said. “He does a good job in pass protection. The big thing for him is being able to establish some consistency.”

Whenever you bring new people into a work environment, there’s always a period of chemistry building within the staff.

Whisenhunt knows the offensive line chemistry will come, but he says the line is already at an advantage in that department.

“The group has been so tight, the offensive line group, in the way they meet and talk about things, that it’s not going to be like coming in the first day and starting over,” Whisenhunt said.

Fitzgerald knows this team has no choice but to man the positions and keep rolling on, which is what Brown would want.

“We [have] guys that are going to be ready, guys that are going to step up and play and contribute and do their part,” Fitzgerald said. “No better way to honor Levi, his hard work and dedication, by stepping up and doing well at that position.”

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