Bobby Massie mind-set: Making right-tackle job his own

Bobby Massie will be the Cardinals' starting right tackle when training camp opens in July, just as he was in 2013. What remains in question is whether Massie can keep the job — something he didn't do last season.

His odds are better. Massie estimates the number of mental errors he's committed this offseason have decreased 80 percent compared with this time last year. So have the number of times he's been yelled at by offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin and other offensive-line coaches.

"I think I've come a long ways," Massie said on Wednesday, the second day of a three-day minicamp. "That was my first year with this coaching staff, this playbook and this offensive scheme. I think I've grown leaps and bounds."

Massie's performance last spring and summer prompted the Cardinals to sign Eric Winston on the day training camp started. Winston quickly won the job and started all 16 games. Massie was inactive for eight games and participated in just 55 plays all last season.

Winston hasn't been re-signed, and three players — Massie, Bradley Sowell and Nate Potter — have been competing for the starting job.

Players aren't allowed to wear pads until training-camp practices, so the competition is far from over. But so far, coaches are pleased with Massie's development.

"It all comes down to consistency mentally," coach Bruce Arians said. "Cardinals can't beat Cardinals."

That's why Massie lost the job last season after starting all 16 games as a rookie in 2012. Due to mental errors, too many rushers from his side had a free run toward quarterback Carson Palmer.

"I just kept grinding; nothing I could do about it," Massie said. "It was a coach's decision."

Within Cardinals headquarters, Massie has a reputation as someone who needs a constant challenge. Of the three contenders for the right-tackle job, he's the most athletic and the most experienced. If he has figured out which defender to block, the job is his.

Massie's young career has been defined by inconsistency, which isn't unusual for a fourth-round pick.

He was awful in the first half of his rookie season. Profootballfocus.com rated him as the second-worst tackle in the NFL. No one argued.

Friends relayed that information to Massie through texts. Twitter followers alerted him to the ranking, too. Motivated, Massie was a different player in the latter half of 2012 and showed signs that he could become an elite tackle.

"Carson's a franchise-type quarterback, and we've got to protect him," Goodwin said this spring. "You've got to be in a position where you know what you're doing consistently. I'm not going to be out there on the field with you. You have to be able to answer the problems when they arise."

Arians and Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim have made it clear through their actions that they are still looking for help at the position. They brought veteran Tyson Clabo in for a workout earlier this week, and they didn't mind that word of it leaked.

"That's their decision upstairs; I just do everything possible on the field," Massie said.

So far, so good. Palmer hasn't noticed Massie much in these practices, mostly because the defender Massie was supposed to block has not been in Palmer's face.

"When you don't notice a guy, that's a good thing," Palmer said, "when you don't notice a guy coming free, or coming clean. That's what I've noticed with Bobby. And that's exactly what you want from tackles."

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