Poor play in the trenches destroying Arizona Cardinals
Poor line play on both sides of the ball hampered the Arizona Cardinals during their loss to the Minnesota Vikings
It’s become pretty obvious that the Arizona Cardinals entered the 2018 season ill-prepared. Someone in the know once said that football games are won in the trenches. Apparently, Cards’ general manager Steve Keim wasn’t sold on that theory.
The fact of the matter is, Arizona’s top personnel executive has done a horrendous job with assembling the squad’s offensive and defensive lines. The blocking unit has failed to create running room for the backs all year, and also gave up four sacks during a 27-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday. In addition, the defensive front looks completely ill-equipped to handle their run-stopping duties in the team’s newly-implemented 4-3 alignment.
Keim, though he played left guard at North Carolina State University, appears to be utterly clueless when it comes to putting together a viable contingent of offensive linemen. Justin Pugh, who was handed a five-year, $45 million contract this past March, has been a bust. The right guard is just another example of Keim’s inability to acquire blockers who can actually contribute to the Cardinals’ offense.
2015 first-round draft pick D.J. Humphries, who allowed two of the Vikings’ four sacks on Sunday, has been yet another disappointment. Keim was hoping to squeeze one more campaign out of the rapidly aging Mike Iupati, but that is looking like a pipedream through six weeks. New right tackle Andre Smith‘s best days are clearly behind him, and rookie Mason Cole has been nothing more than adequate at center.
New head coach Steve Wilks insisted on changing Arizona’s defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3, but Keim failed to acquire linemen who could fit that system. Defensive end Benson Mayowa was brought in from the Dallas Cowboys, but that was pretty much it. Minnesota backup Latavious Murray was the latest running back to run roughshod over the Cards d-line, when he gashed them for 155 yards this past weekend.
Addressing the lines on both sides of the ball will obviously be a major priority for the Cardinals’ front office next offseason. That individual who stated that stellar play up front is the key to winning football knew what he was talking about. Now, if only Keim would buy in.