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Nov 18, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Arizona Cardinals offense lines up against the Atlanta Falcons defense during the first half at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals: Have the Cardinals Done Enough to Solidify the Offensive Line?


 

Last season, the Cardinals offensive line finished last overall by giving up 58 sacks, seven more than the Packers, who had the next worse offensive line.

There were a lot of explanations as to why the line was playing so poorly, and one of those were injuries. Starting left tackle Levi Brown tore his triceps in the preseason causing him to miss the rest of the year. D’Anthony Batiste, normally a reserve player, was forced into the starting lineup because the only other option was rookie Nate Potter. On the right side, rookie third-round pick Bobby Massie, who was eaten alive in the first half of the season, settled down nicely in the second half, giving up zero sacks.

 

The interior had Daryn Colledge, Lyle Sendlein, and Adam Snyder. Both Sendlein and Snyder suffered injuries leaving Colledge and Massie the only two linemen to play in all 16 games.

After finishing in the bottom three in sacks allowed and giving up more than 50 sacks three years in a row, the Cardinals had a huge need that was not being addressed. The Cardinals had not picked a offensive linemen in the first round since 2007, when they chose Levi Brown over Adrian Peterson.

In this year’s draft the Cardinals drafted two guards, Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina and Earl Watford of James Madison. Cooper is expected to come in and start right away taking over for recently cut Adam Snyder, while Watford will be a long-term project and over time turn into a starter.

The line’s job is to make quarterbacks and running backs look good by protecting them and keeping them off their back, while its the quarterback’s job to return the favor. When you have a elite quarterback, they make a line look great even if they really aren’t. Or even if your line is terrible, you can still have a winning season because having a elite quarterback does miracles for a team. Take away Rodgers, Brady, and Manning guaranteed their teams finish below five hundred.

Aaron Rodgers was sacked a total of 51 times this past season and still won 10 games. Now Carson Palmer is nowhere near Rodgers in terms of talent, but if his line can keep him under 35 sacks, Palmer could lead his team to the playoffs.

The Cardinals offensive line in 2009 was the sixth-best in the NFL and only gave up 26 sacks. They also had a future Hall of Famer under center in Kurt Warner. Warner had a big part in keeping the number of sacks so low. Often he would wait until the last second to throw the ball, no matter how much pressure was coming. The man sacrificed his body day in and day out.

Taking two guards this year was a good step in building a solid offensive line, but will it be enough this year to propel them into the top half of the league? With 2-3 more years of drafting offensive linemen and finding a franchise quarterback the Cardinals will be able to compete with the league’s best.

However, it may take some time.

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Tags: Adam Snyder Arizona Cardinals Bobby Massie Daryn Colledge Levi Brown Lyle Sendlein Offensive Line