Sendlein out: 'Wheels just might come off'

The Arizona Cardinals had just lost tackle Levi Brown to a season-ending injury when I asked Daryn Colledge, the team's left guard, about another valuable player on the line, center Lyle Sendlein.

"If we had to replace one guy," Colledge said back then, "he would be the worst one [to lose] probably on the whole football team. He is the key cog, especially for this offensive line. He is the captain and he is our guy."

Next came the part that shot through my mind Monday upon learning that a knee injury would sideline Sendlein for the remainder of the 2012 season.

"Without him," Colledge said, "the wheels just might come off."

Rich Ohrnberger is expected to replace Sendlein beginning Sunday on the road against the New York Jets. He has two NFL starts. Sendlein had started 75 consecutive regular-season games for Arizona, plus six playoff games, including a Super Bowl.

We could make a case that the wheels have already come off. Arizona has lost its last seven games following a 4-0 start. The team has been starting rookies at both offensive tackle spots. Both top running backs have missed much of the season to injuries. Quarterback Kevin Kolb has been out, too, along with tight end Todd Heap and right guard Adam Snyder.

The injury situation has spiraled so far out of control in Arizona that it might reasonably weigh into any decisions the organization might make about the long-term direction of the team under coach Ken Whisenhunt. It has to be a consideration, at least.