first_img TEMPE, Ariz. — They say the more you can do, the more valuable you become to your employer.That workplace mantra works in sports as well. And Tony Bergstrom, the Arizona Cardinals’ newest offensive lineman, is living proof.An under-the-radar signing in early May, two months into free agency, Bergstrom provides depth to an offensive line that took its share of hits last season.“I played all five (spots) at some point in my life; actually all six, I played tight end a little bit, too, so I can do it,” he said, sitting at his locker following a recent organized team practice activity. “Some I haven’t done in a while, so if you want to throw me out at tackle, you better let me get a couple of sets in.” Follow Craig Grialou on Twitter The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The lack of availability forced a constant shuffling, especially late in the year, when there were five different line combinations in the final seven weeks. The Cardinals started eight different five-man groupings overall.Also, having a player of Bergstrom’s caliber with some experience can serve as a good role model inside the locker room.“It’s good for young guys and rookies to see that somebody can be accountable at each position,” Veldheer said, “so then they’re like, ‘hey, this is my best chance, too, if I can do all this.’ So, then you get younger guys that are kind of being influenced by that same kind of mindset.”Position versatility seems to have become the new buzz phrase in the NFL.To his credit Bergstrom realized that long ago, especially understanding how his versatility may affect his playing status on Sundays.“Teams love to be able to dress only seven (offensive linemen). They like to, maybe, dress that extra d-linemen or the extra quarterback just in case. When you can get by with only seven linemen instead of eight that helps. Anything you can do to help the team. The more you can do the more valuable you are,” he said. “That’s how I’ve lasted so far is by being able to do it all, kind of being that jack-of-all-trades, that’s always a big deal.” “There’s just a good vibe, a good team situation,” Bergstrom said. “Everybody is good teammates. It just has a good feel in (the locker room).”And a lot of familiarity, too.In addition to Veldheer, Bergstrom played with quarterback Carson Palmer and safety Tyvon Branch over his four seasons with the Raiders, who drafted Bergstrom in the third round, the 95th overall pick, in 2012.“Tony, that’s my boy,” Branch said.According to Veldheer, the Cardinals are adding “a smart guy, dependable guy, tough guy; someone that can really help, especially when you never know what’s going to happen throughout an NFL season…because sometimes you got to shuffle stuff around and that’s hard for some guys, but having a guy like that, that’s played all the spots, it’s very valuable.”It helps keep some consistency along the offensive line, Veldheer said. Rather than the team having to call upon a different player for a different position should an injury occur, they can just plug-in Bergstrom and not miss a beat.Last season, the Cardinals had four offensive linemen on injured reserve, and two others, guard Mike Iupati and tackle D.J. Humphries, miss games because of injury. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments   Share   center_img Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Bergstrom, listed at 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, has experience at both center and guard in the NFL after finishing his college career by starting his final 38 games at Utah at right tackle. In five pro seasons, he has played in 40 games — including four starts — with one at right guard and three at center.Last season, Bergstrom appeared in 15 games with Houston, filling in wherever was needed.“That’s how I’ve made it this long. I’m not the best athlete in the world,” he said smiling.While it’s possible Bergstrom may eventually find himself lined up outside, for now, the Cardinals are asking him to concentrate on the three interior positions.“And honestly just trying to find where I can fit in, trying to find where I can help the team and where my role can be on the team, that’s my focus right now is just working hard and find my role and fill it as well as I can,” he said.Bergstrom said he and the Cardinals have had one another on their respective radars for some time now.Bergstrom considered the Cardinals as a possible destination a year ago before joining the Texans. He even went as far as to reach out to tackle Jared Veldheer, a former teammate of his in Oakland. Veldheer gave Bergstrom the thumbs up on the organization. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Cardinals lineman Tony Bergstrom motions during an OTA practice May 24. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)last_img

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