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USA Today: Grimm's Arizona line challenge no fairy tale


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Grimm's Arizona line challenge no fairy tale

By Greg Boeck, USA TODAY

TEMPE, Ariz. — In near anonymity, Russ Grimm once toiled in the trenches as a "Hog" for the Washington Redskins.

That was glamorous work compared to the job he now holds: assistant head coach/offensive line for the Arizona Cardinals. As if working for chronic losers isn't challenging enough, Grimm, 48, is charged with revamping an offensive line that took the brunt of criticism for the team's 5-11 disappointments the last two seasons.

Grimm, who won three Super Bowl rings in an 11-year playing career with the Redskins and is now embarking on his 16th season as an NFL assistant coach, acknowledges the challenge is huge.

"But sometimes that's what you look forward to and get excited about," he says. "We have enough talent to be a good offensive line. They know the so-called reasons (for the criticism). They've taken their brunt of the blow."

The season kicks off with a Monday Night Football opener at the San Francisco 49ers. It's Ken Whisenhunt's debut as a head coach, with Grimm riding shotgun for his old cohort after losing his bid for the Pittsburgh Steelers job to Mike Tomlin.

Whisenhunt and Grimm coached together the last six years in Pittsburgh, making their biggest impact the last three. With Whisenhunt as the offensive coordinator and Grimm the assistant head coach/offensive line, the Steelers averaged 4.1 yards a carry. They won Super Bowl XL, averaging 140 yards rushing a game.

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Buges probably did not draft as well. The Cardinals have drafted some good young prospects the past few years in attempts to rebuild that line. I think with Grimm, that line will improve drastically.

Look at how our o-line played under Spurrier, and what happened when Bugel came in. The talent was there with Jansen, Thomas, and Samuels, even Dockery, but they improved immediately under Bugel.

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Arizona is picked every year to be the "surprise" team but never comes through. I actually believe it this year though as they have assembled alot of young talent and should have quality coaching for the first time in a few years. I've also read that they have significantly upgraded their workout facilities and weight rooms. I guess we will start to find out this weekend.

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