Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback Carson Palmer has hung tough despite getting no help from the offensive line in front of him
The Arizona Cardinals can use injuries as an excuse. It can’t be denied that the absence of starters on their offensive line has hurt. There’s also no denying that the backups who general manager Steve Keim has assembled are brutally ineffective.
Quarterback Carson Palmer was once again under serious duress during the Cards’ humiliating 34-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. There were very few times on Sunday when Arizona’s signal-caller had a clean picket to throw from. It could’ve been even worse had Philly’s best defensive lineman, Fletcher Cox, been able to play through a calf injury.
Arizona’s offensive line problems began in week one, when starting left tackle D.J. Humphries suffered a knee injury. Its painfully apparent that journeyman John Wetzel should not be the top backup at the most important position on the line.
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There’s actually a better option for the spot already on the roster and starting four slots down from Wetzel. Perhaps if the Cardinals’ brass wasn’t so stubborn, right tackle Jared Veldheer would’ve been back on the left side already. The Cards’ 2014 offensive MVP was flip-flopped to accommodate Humphries, who the powers-that-be determined was the better candidate for Palmer’s blindside.
By moving Veldheer to right tackle during the offseason, Arizona basically made their best blocker into a shaky mess. The Oakland Raiders’ third-round draft pick in 2010 was brought to the desert by Keim to man the left side, and should’ve remained there. The idea of moving Veldheer back to his natural position was floated after Humphries hurt his knee, but Wetzel was mistakenly handed the job.
It’s also difficult to fathom that second-year pro Evan Boehm was the best option at right guard for the club. Keim did bring in the currently injured Alex Boone a week before the first game. Not realizing Boehm’s limitations earlier is now costing them.
Palmer deserved a better collection of protectors in what may be his final NFL campaign. The 37-year old has proven through five contests that there’s still life in his throwing arm. It’s too bad that the lame offensive line personnel isn’t affording Palmer the opportunity to use that arm to Arizona’s advantage.