The Arizona Cardinals may have finally assembled an experienced offensive line that can hold it’s own against NFL competition
Things may be looking up for the Arizona Cardinals. The offensive line that’s been on display this season has been brutally ineffective. Anyone who disagrees with that assessment should seek out Carson Palmer’s opinion.
Injuries to the line, combined with inadequate play by it’s backups, have left the Cardinals’ quarterback utterly defenseless. The squad’s running game has been, for the most part, nonexistent. Arizona ranks dead last in the league in toting the rock after five weeks, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry.
But keep your heads up, Cards’ fans, help may be here. The group set to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend may be their most solid collection of starters yet. Incredibly, it will be the team’s fifth different line combination they’ve assembled so far in this young season.
Left tackle D.J Humphries is set to return from the knee injury he suffered in week one versus the Detroit Lions. The Cardinals’ 2015 first-round draft pick mans the most important spot of the five men in front of Palmer. The signal-caller’s blindside should be better protected now that the personable Humphries is back.
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Newcomer Alex Boone, a thorn in the organization’s side for years, is coming back from a pectoral strain to play left guard. The former member of the division rival San Francisco 49ers has made 73 career starts. He replaces Mike Iupati, who’s been placed on injured reserve with a triceps tear.
Newly-signed Earl Watford will take over at right guard for the overmatched Evan Boehm. The woefully inexperienced Boehm showed nothing to make anyone believe he has a future as a regular player. Watford does have 12 starts under his belt, all with Arizona.
Center A.Q.Shipley won’t be voted to a Pro Bowl anytime soon, but he’s a solid performer nevertheless. There’s been some concern over right tackle Jared Veldheer’s knee this week. However, the veteran of 88 starts should be ready to go against the Bucs.
Palmer most likely slept better this week knowing he’d have this new alignment to play behind against Tampa Bay. Newly-acquired Adrian Peterson should provide a spark for the limp rushing attack. This new wall of five looks good on paper, now all they need to do is to get the job done on the playing field.