Guess who's leading the NFL in fewest sacks allowed? Yup. The Arizona Cardinals have only yielded two sacks through the first three games. The three teams right on their heels? The New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Indianapolis Colts. Not bad company to keep.
Who gets the credit then for the turnaround? Well, obviously a line plays together, so it's been a collective effort, but you've got to give Russ Grimm a lot of credit first and foremost. He is after all still working with some holdovers from last year's line. Deuce Lutui, now in his 2nd year out of USC, is better now that he has a year of experience under his belt and some time spent with Grimm. Reggie Wells has improved at left guard as well, especially in the running game (Edge James suddenly has holes that were not at all available last year). Mike Gandy was brought over from the Bills to play left tackle, and if Kurt Warner will in fact be playing more as the season progresses, his importance protecting Warner's blind side goes up tremendously. You have to give Grimm credit though for finidng Kyle Senderlein, the undrafted free-agent center out of Texas. You rarely pick up guys from the street and have them starting on your line their rookie year, especially at a position that requires as much intelligence and communication as the center position. So far so good for Senderlein though and many props to the Cardinals organization for a) finding the guy and b) having the guts to play him over a back-up type veteran with less upside.
And then there's Levi Brown, the Cardinals first-round draft choice out of Penn State. At 6'5", 322 lbs. Brown is massive and light-of-foot. The Cardinals selected him with the 5th overall pick to hopefully protect the-left handed throwing Matt Leinart for years to come. With him and Tutui on the right side, it's actually quite a legitimate foundation to build your offense around.
The arrival of Levi Brown and Russ Grimm has transformed the once-sad Cardinals' line
And thus far, the results have been good. Rushing yards are way up - although that has something to do with Edge's health - and sacks are way down. The Cardinals are still learning how to close out games, but it seems as if they have to burn less capital worrying about protecting the quarterback than in year's past. That in my mind, should go a long way towards making this franchise more consistent as they move into the future.