On Monday afternoon, reports from around the web were confirmed by the Arizona Cardinals stating that center Lyle Sendlein did in fact tear his MCL which will require season ending surgery. The train wreck that was in motion for the Cardinals' season is now complete with the loss of Sendlein.
Not only was Sendlein the captain along the offensive line, but he was a team captain as well. He led his unit (for whatever that might be worth) and made sure everyone knew their assignments. He also called out pre-snap adjustments and helped the quarterback.
With Sendlein, the Cardinals also lose more continuity along their offensive line. The team had already lost their starting left tackle Levi Brown for the season due to a torn triceps and Jeremy Bridges was placed on IR with a thumb injury. Bridges would have presumably started at right tackle. That makes three starting linemen now shelved with various wounds. The offensive line only figures to get worse from here due to their unfamiliarity with playing with one another.
Who replaces Sendlein in terms of talent? He may not be a Maurkice Pouncey or anything, but the Cards do not really have a viable option in finding someone to take Sendlein's role. They re-signed center Scott Wedige off of the Bengals' practice squad. Wedige had been with the Cards throughout training camp. But can he be expected to take over the duties in the middle? Moving Adam Snyder or Daryn Colledge to the middle only creates a hole in another spot.
Another thing that we cannot fail to overlook is the grit that Sendlein brought to the whole offense. How many players are going to tear their MCL in the first quarter and then play through the rest of the game? Not many, I can assure you of that much. He has also played through numerous other scratches and bruises to help the Cardinals.
Losing Sendlein hurts these team in an array of ways. He is not a one-dimensional, easy to replace kind of guy. With as much as he did for the team, the Cardinals may be headed for the cliff sooner than we imagined.