While the starting offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals is chock-full of experience, the backups are in dire need of it
Steve Wilks of the Arizona Cardinals paid the club’s offensive line a huge compliment recently. The squad’s new leader raised quite a few eyebrows by proclaiming that the unit was the “strength” of his Cardinals. Unfortunately, that may just be some unadulterated, wishful thinking on the head coach’s part.
No matter how hard he has tried, Arizona’s general manager Steve Keim just can’t seem to fix the team’s group of blockers. Once again, there will be a new configuration of linemen in 2018. From left to right, the starters for the upcoming campaign will be D.J. Humphries, Mike Iupati, A.Q. Shipley, Justin Pugh and Andre Smith.
While the latest contingent is an experienced crew, the backups sitting behind them are severely lacking in that department. Wilks’ assertion that the Cards have solid depth on the line appears to be a bit misguided.
Of the 11 substitute linemen currently on the roster, only John Wetzel, Evan Boehm and Will Holden have started games at the NFL level. The versatile Mason Cole, who played tackle and center at the University of Michigan, was added during the third round of last month’s draft. In the seventh round, Keim selected another tackle, the University of Cincinnati’s Korey Cunningham.
Others in the mix include Daniel Munyer, Vinston Painter, Josh Allen, Brant Weiss, Austin Olsen and Will House. None of those candidates are household names, by any means.
There are upgrades on the free agent market who are still seeking employment. Alex Boone, who was with the Cards last season, remains unsigned. Others in search of a home include Greg Robinson, Luke Joeckel and Allen Barbre.
While Wilks is apparently happy with the Cardinals’ current offensive line situation, there are those who feel they could use a reinforcement, or two. Actually, they may be just one injury away from an undesirable predicament. It’s certainly a part of the Cards that Keim would be smart to pay attention to.