You know, we’ve wondered, since week two, if this offense revolved around an aging veteran center. Since Rich Braham fractured his left tibia against Cleveland, the offensive line has struggled to protect Carson Palmer. Against Kansas City, Palmer fumbled the ball after being sacked on the first drive of the second half. Then with 13:31 left in the first half against Cleveland, Rich Braham was carted off and hasn’t been seen since. Palmer was sacked four times after that. In all, Palmer has been sacked 23 times this season; only once when Rich Braham was on the field.
So has the offensive line struggled because of Rich Braham? The evidence is there. But we’ve seen Eric Steinbach, Levi Jones, Andrew Whitworth, Bobbie Williams and Willie Anderson give up sacks also. Could that be a result of the offensive line’s blocking calls generated by the center? Could the blocking scheme be a little too complicated for two inexperienced guys?
Still, signing Ben Wilkerson to a four-year deal raises a few questions. Is the team so concerned Braham won’t return this season they decided to move on? Has the team lost confidence in Eric Ghiaciuc’s development? Or has Ben Wilkerson been given a clean bill of health and the team being very impressed with his talent? I think these are legitimate questions; not for the team to answer, but to monitor as the season trucks along.