The Arizona Cardinals improved on the offensive line in 2014 but it is still a work in progress
The 2014 Arizona Cardinals offensive line was a unit that had some ups and down but overall the appearance of an improved unit over 2013 and made 2012 a long distant memory. As we look ahead to 2015, there is definitely still improvement to be made.
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We can start with the good. Tackle Jared Veldheer came every bit as advertised and then some. He not only protected the Cardinals quarterbacks blind side with great authority, he was also named team MVP by local writers. That’s saying a lot with all the major contributors to the Cardinals first playoff appearance in five years.
Veldheer helped the Cardinals to the sixth-least sacked team in the NFL in 2014. The Cardinals quarterbacks were sacked just 28 times. That is amazing considering they played four different quarterbacks on the field this past season. The NFL leader was the Denver Broncos with 17 sacks allowed.
At center Lyle Sendlein was solid. He’s certainly been around awhile and held his own. Some beat him up for his lack of run blocking but the same can be said for others on the line as well.
Bobby Massie was serviceable. Paul Fanaika had his good and bad games. For guys like Jonathan Cooper and Ted Larsen though, who knows what the immediate future holds for them?
Cooper spent almost all season dealing with injury. After coming off a broken leg in the preseason of his rookie year, he came to camp and didn’t seem to have the drive to compete for the starting job. Coach Bruce Arians voiced his displeasure in Cooper in not so many words.
The Cooper further injured himself and never was good enough to get himself into the starting lineup until December. He started the games against the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams. The Cardinals had their best two running games of the season. After that we didn’t hear from him again. I have to think the Cardinals aren’t ready to give up just yet but I’d be willing to bet the leash will be short if he’s healthy come this July and August.
As for Larsen, he could be hitting the road. I would not be surprised to see the Cardinals try to find someone in the draft or through free agency. As to who specifically they would look for, I’m not quite sure yet. They’ll knock some doors down though. That I’m sure of.