The Arizona Cardinals offensive line is currently a mess, but there’s an array of available players who could provide help
Things have gone from bad to worse for the offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals. For the fans who feel that the group’s performance against the Dallas Cowboys was putrid, you should probably brace yourselves. If ever the club needed head coach Bruce Arians’ “next man up” mantra to ring true, it’s now.
Starting left guard Mike Iupati’s proclamation that he’s “100% sure” that he’ll play this weekend has turned out to be hogwash. A bone spur in the veteran’s elbow is cutting a tendon, and will most likely require surgery. An operation that could effectively end Iupati’s season, and possibly his career with the Cardinals as well.
The latest news on left tackle D.J. Humphries ailing knee has caused uncertainty. Just a couple of days ago, it looked as if the franchise’s 2015 first-round draft pick would return this Sunday. But when asked about it at the end of the week, Arians could only answer “we’ll see”.
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Add in the injury to the recently-signed Alex Boone, and the Cards’ blocking unit has the makings of a disaster. There’s a strong possibility that the left side of the line will feature journeyman John Wetzel and rookie Will Holden versus the San Francisco 49ers. Certainly not an ideal scenario for quarterback Carson Palmer’s health or the squad’s running game.
While it’s too late to do anything about it for the Niners matchup, there’s help available for the final three quarters of the 2017 campaign. Time for general manager Steve Keim and his cronies to get to work.
Former Cardinal Earl Watford is available after being released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. His knowledge of Arizona’s offense and versatility make him attractive. The exact same thing can be said of Cole Toner, a former Card who was just cut from the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad.
Former New York Jet Nick Mangold is an intriguing name who’s still looking for work. He’s made the Pro Bowl seven times as a center, but there was offseason talk that he can also play guard. The same goes for 2016 Pro Bowler Jeremy Zuttah, an available free agent who can also play both center and guard.
John Greco, a veteran of 70 starts who played for the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns, also remains jobless. There are also two possible call-ups currently on Arizona’s practice squad. Dorian Johnson, this year’s fourth-round pick, and Vinston Painter, a former Denver Broncos’ draft selection, are the candidates.
All of the players mentioned in this article could provide help. Keim needs to attack this brutal situation aggressively. Before the losses pile up and there’s no point in righting the ship.