No help will be coming this season but the Arizona Cardinals will need to acquire some offensive line reinforcements in 2017
It finally came to a head this past Sunday for the Arizona Cardinals. An offensive line that was getting by with smoke and mirrors was finally exposed. The fact that it took until the eighth game for it to happen is a small miracle.
The offseason question marks concerning the group were well-publicized. They would be starting a right tackle who was deactivated or every game of his rookie season. The center position would be manned by either a journeyman or a fourth-round rookie.
D.J.Humphries is the right tackle, and it’s apparent that he’s not starting material. While a decent run-blocker, he does very little in terms of keeping Carson Palmer upright. A first-round pick was spent on him, but at this point he looks like nothing more than a backup.
Center A.Q. Shipley is barely serviceable. In fact, many followers of the team gave rookie Evan Boehm a solid chance of starting over him. Shipley was able to hold off the fourth-round pick, but has been far from impressive.
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Right guard Evan Mathis was brought in but various injuries have derailed his one and only season in the desert. He plowed open holes for the running backs when he did play, backing up his reputation as a run-blocker. Earl Watford has taken over the starting spot, but has been a liability.
Left guard Mike Iupati is also adept at creating running lanes. His problem has been his pass-blocking, which leaves much to be desired. His play was atrocious this past Sunday, when he allowed two sacks, two quarterback hits and two quarterback hurries.
Left tackle Jared Veldheer is Arizona’s best all-around lineman, but his season is over. A torn triceps muscle has forced him onto injured reserve. The inexperienced but game John Wetzel takes over at the most important position on the line.
Continuity is an offensive line’s best friend and the Cards can’t secure it, no matter how hard they try. While Veldheer and Iupati will likely be returning, the other three line spots will almost certainly feature new faces. Not great news for Palmer or any other quarterback who takes a snap for the Cardinals next year.