Arizona Cardinals should consider offensive line changes
An embarrassing display by the Arizona Cardinals offensive line on “Monday Night Football” should serve as a wake-up call
The Arizona Cardinals were playing with fire this offseason. When a team expecting to contend makes drastic changes to their offensive line, disappointment is inevitable. Unfortunately, the Cards are currently learning that lesson the hard way.
The five-man wall that is lining up in front of quarterback Carson Palmer is struggling in a big way. Struggling enough that the Cardinals’ coaching staff should be considering a different alignment. If changes aren’t made, there’s a strong possibility that the beating Palmer has been taking so far in this young season will continue.
The squad will apparently be getting two injured starters back this Sunday for a divisional matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Left guard Mike Iupati should be returning from a triceps strain, and left tackle D.J. Humphries is expected to be recovered from a bum knee. Nevertheless, a retooling of the front five should be in the club’s plans.
The experiment at the offensive tackle spots needs to be abandoned. Jared Veldheer is above-average on the left side of the line, but brutally ineffective on the right. The pasting he took from Dallas Cowboys’ defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on Monday night was further proof of that.
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Current left-side starter Humphries is an adequate right tackle. And even “adequate” would be a huge improvement over what Veldheer is now offering at that post. A flip-flop of the tackles in time for the 49ers tilt this weekend would go a long way in addressing the line’s woes.
Right guard Evan Boehm seemed to be receiving a bunch of in-game instruction from his fellow linemen during the 28-17 loss to Dallas. The University of Missouri product is obviously overmatched in this, his second year in the NFL. Perhaps Boehm should be watching from the sidelines for the time being.
The best candidate to replace Boehm was injured versus the Cowboys. Alex Boone, filling in for Iupati at left guard, suffered a strained pectoral muscle. The prognosis for the injury is three to four weeks, but the veteran should be anointed Arizona’s new right guard the moment he returns.
Special teams coach Amos Jones receives a boatload of criticism for his unit’s play, and rightfully so. Maybe it’s time for Harold Goodwin to be under the microscope. Though he’s technically the Cards’ offensive coordinator, the offensive line is a major responsibility of one of Bruce Arians’ favorite pupils.
The job that offensive line coach Larry Zierlein is doing should also be examined. Its possible that at least a portion of the problem could be scheme-related. However, Cardinals fans are well aware of the fact that Arians doesn’t fire assistant coaches.
The perfect time to shake things up this dramatically would be during Arizona’s bye week. But that’s still a long four weeks away. With the way the the current offensive line is configured, the Cards’ 2017 playoff hopes could be wiped away by then.