Published August 18, 2012
TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona Cardinals starting left tackle Levi Brown has a torn right triceps and probably will not play this season.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt revealed the extent of the injury at his Saturday news conference, saying the five-year starter will require surgery, with an anticipated recovery time that would approach the end of the season.
The 6-foot-6, 324-pound Brown was injured in the first half of Arizona's 31-27 preseason victory over the Oakland Raiders on Friday night.
Whisenhunt said D'Anthony Batiste and D.J. Young were candidates to take Brown's spot, and that the team would keep an eye out for players who could become available as other teams make roster moves.
"We're looking at what could become available over the next couple of weeks and we'll shuffle some guys around," Whisenhunt said.
Batiste, entering his seventh NFL season, had been playing mostly at right tackle in training camp. Young, an undrafted rookie free agent a year ago, had been listed second on the depth chart behind Brown. Nate Potter, a seventh-round draft pick out of Boise State, was third on the depth chart at left tackle.
But none are great options at arguably the most important position on an offensive line that already had been considered one of the biggest question marks on the team.
Brown, Arizona's first-round draft pick out of Penn State in 2007, was released by the team March 13 because the Cardinals didn't want the $17.5 million salary cap hit it would have taken had the Cardinals kept him. But just three days later, Brown re-signed on a five-year, $30 million deal with $12 million guaranteed.
The first significant injury to hit the Cardinals in the preseason comes as the line tries to protect Kevin Kolb and John Skelton while the two quarterbacks vie for the starting job. Kolb started Friday night's game and Skelton took only five snaps, one of them just to go to the knee to end the first half.
Kolb was 3 for 3 as the team drove for a touchdown on its first possession following a long punt return by Patrick Peterson. But Kolb later was sacked three times and called for intentional grounding. One of the sacks, by Oakland's Tommy Kelly, was in the end zone for a safety.
Kelly ripped Kolb after the game, accusing him of being "skittish" and "scared."
The usually low-key Kolb was indignant, to say the least, when asked about Kelly's comments.
"Scared? Scared of what?" Kolb told azcentral.com on Saturday. "Taking a hit? I have never been afraid of anyone on the field and that will never change. That includes No. 93 (Kelly). There's a fine line between holding in the pocket and trying to escape to make a play. Tommy Kelly is too clueless to know the difference. I don't mind people criticizing my play. Don't ever question my toughness."
Skelton, who threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Sherman in his brief time on the field, will start Thursday's game at Tennessee as the two quarterbacks rotate in the starting role until Whisenhunt makes his decision.
Whisenhunt said he saw considerable improvement from his team against Oakland, in the Cardinals' first home game, after losses to New Orleans in the Hall of Fame game and at Kansas City.
The Raiders game featured the return of Ryan Williams, the dynamic running back who missed all of his rookie season a year ago with a torn patella tendon. Williams rushed for 25 yards on five carries, including a 15-yarder that set up his 3-yard touchdown run on Arizona's first possession.