Cards get back to work in pads this week

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Bruce Arians gave his team Saturday and Sunday off following Thursday’s 34-22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but he’s expecting the Cardinals to return to practice Monday ready to work.

Arizona will don pads Monday and Wednesday this week, the one time during the season they’re allowed pads twice in one week per the collective bargaining agreement. With the extra day in pads, Arians will also have extra opportunities to evaluate his younger players, which means there’s the possibility of him reshuffling the lineup in coming weeks.

One player Arians will take a long look at it is second-year right tackle Bobby Massie.

On Thursday, Massie was active for the first time this season, but with extra work in practice this week, he could see some reps Sunday against Atlanta.

“We’d like to get him some action,” Arians said. “[Starting right tackle] Eric [Winston] had been injured a little bit. We felt like [Massie] might be ready to go and I like to get him out there some.”

Last year as a rookie, Massie was thrown into the starting lineup at right tackle to start the season after Levi Brown’s season-ending injury forced the Cardinals to reshuffle the line. There’s no hiding Massie’s struggles. He gave up 13 sacks and 35 quarterback hurries in the first eight weeks, according to Pro Football Focus, but Massie also made the greatest improvements from anyone on the line.

In the final eight weeks, he didn’t give up a sack and allowed just seven quarterback hurries. He began to transition that progress into 2013, lining up at right tackle during OTAs and minicamp, but the Cardinals signed Winston on the first day of training camp and he slid into the starting job.

“I want to play,” Massie said. “I progressed a lot better from what I did from the beginning of the year to the end of the year and I felt I still can do that now. I don’t know, man. I don’t know. I can play. It’s not my decision.”

Two other players Arians will look at on the offensive line this week are guards Nate Potter and Earl Watford, who hasn’t seen the field this season despite being active for two of Arizona’s seven games. Arians said Watford is “getting there.”

But even before giving him extra snaps in practice, Arians got a chance on Thursday to see Potter, who replaced injured right guard Daryn Colledge for half the game.

“Nate struggled inside,” Arians said. “And the same things he struggled with in training camp was power but he works his tail off. We used him some at tight end as a big tight end. He did OK there. But inside at guard he doesn’t have enough experience.”

Over the next three weeks, Arians will be evaluate and re-evaluate his roster, looking for ways to improve on the rollercoaster of struggles this season, especially on the offensive line.

After Sunday’s game against Atlanta, Arizona has a bye and plays again Nov. 10 against Houston.

But not all is lost this season at 3-4, Arians said. Some of the goals had to be rewritten, but the Cardinals are still focused on the postseason.

“We had a goal to not lose at home,” Arians said. “We have to reset it. Don’t lose again at home. Like we do every day, just take it day to day. Look at the tape, correct the mistakes, accept the coaching that goes on -- not criticism, its coaching, so we don’t make the same mistakes.

“Our goal is still in sight and that’s to get to the playoffs.”