After setback, Arizona O-line faces big challenge

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 4, 2013 at 5:27 pm •  Published: December 4, 2013
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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals' offensive line regressed a bit in Philadelphia after a series of solid performances in a four-game winning streak that preceded the loss to the Eagles.

Next up is a formidable challenge against the fierce pass rush of defensive end Robert Quinn and the rest of the St. Louis Rams.

When the Rams beat Arizona 27-24 in the season opener in St. Louis, Quinn had three sacks, two forced fumbles and four quarterback hits.

That was against left tackle Levi Brown, who since was traded to Pittsburgh. Coach Bruce Arians gave the job to young Bradley Sowell, who has had his hands full against some of the game's top pass rushers.

On Arizona's first offensive series last Sunday, Trent Cole beat Sowell and knocked the ball out of quarterback Carson Palmer's hand, a turnover that led to Philadelphia's first touchdown and the Eagles went on to win 24-21.

Facing Quinn, Arians said, is probably the biggest challenge Sowell has had thus far.

"Even bigger than Robert Mathis (of Indianapolis)," Arians said, "because this is a young Robert Mathis. It's a challenge for us as coaches to give him some help somehow, some way."

Sowell, who barely played for the Colts last season, agreed.

"I think Quinn's a little bigger (than Mathis)," Sowell said before Wednesday's practice. "He's maybe a little faster at this point. He's a lot younger, got a little more juice."

The Rams have more than Quinn, too. On the other end of the defensive line is the formidable Chris Long.

"It's tough every week in this league and this week is extra tough because they've got two of them that are as good as it gets," Arizona right tackle Eric Winston said. 'We're going to have to play well. There's no hiding, especially in this offense. Coach Arians throws the ball. He wants to drop back and he wants to get it downfield."

Palmer needs a clean pocket to be at his best.

"A huge challenge," Palmer said of the offensive line's task Sunday against the Rams. "They have three good pass rushers and they have five or six guys that they rotate in and out and keep fresh and they keep coming. That's kind of what (Rams coach Jeff) Fisher's always done, even when he was at Tennessee. ... They're a very good group and the linebackers are very good, too."

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