Beginning with the torn triceps that ended starting OLT Levi Brown’s 2012 season before it began, prolonged injuries to key players have no doubt taken a huge toll on the Cardinals.
In addition to the loss of Brown setting the stage for a performance by the offensive line that gets ghastlier with every passing week, the exits of starting RBs Beanie Wells (out until the end of November with knee and toe injuries) and Ryan Williams (out for the season with a shoulder injury suffered in Week Five) and QBs John Skelton (out for an extended period after spraining his left ankle in the season opener) and Kevin Kolb (out at least another five weeks with chest and rib injuries) have created a challenging atmosphere, to say the least.
But the less serious lingering injuries that have kept an array of Cardinals from performing at peak efficiency are another factor that has contributed to the team’s recent decline.
“It’s certainly been part of the problem,” one daily team observer told PFW. “You’ve got (starting DT) Darnell Dockett, to a certain extent, having been hampered by a hamstring, and the hip injury that kept (current starting RB) LaRod Stephens-Howling out of a few games.”
But the nagging ailments that continue to limit veteran TE Todd Heap and starting ORG Adam Snyder, the team’s highest-profile free-agent addition this offseason, have been particularly painful.
Heap has been riding the pines since Week Three with knee issues. Snyder has an elbow injury that has noticeably limited him all season, in addition to a quad injury suffered in the Week Seven loss to the Vikings that could force him to the sideline for a spell.
That the Cardinals’ blocking also has suffered greatly is not a coincidence.
“I think Heap’s injury turned out to be a lot more serious than the team let on,” the observer said. “He seems to be getting close, and they could certainly use him. He’s a lot better blocker than (Rob) Housler. Snyder has not played particularly well. There were a lot of questions as to whether or not he was that good to begin with, but it’s honestly been tough to gauge him because of an elbow problem that looks like a pretty bad injury."