Arizona Cardinals offensive line has been pleasant surprise
The much-maligned offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals has steadily transformed itself into a respectable group of blockers
For most of the offseason, the offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals was being bombarded with criticism. Steve Keim found himself being taken to task for assembling what appeared to be a mediocre group of blockers. The general manager of the Cards, no matter how hard he had tried, had been unable to solve what has been an ongoing problem for the club’s scoring attack.
Now, seven games into the 2019 campaign, it appears that Keim may have finally gotten it right. Arizona’s current configuration of offensive linemen, led by brand new position coach Sean Kugler, are performing at a high level. If that seems unbelievable, just take a look at the statistics.
After allowing 20 quarterback sacks during the first four contests, the Cardinals have yielded just three over the past three weeks. Of course, having a mobile signal-caller like Kyler Murray certainly makes things easier for the boys. Even so, the squad’s rookie passer has seemingly had plenty of time to find open pass-receivers during the Cards three-game winning streak.
What the offensive line has done for the running game has also been impressive. Heading into week eight, Arizona is the proud owners of the league’s 11th-ranked rushing attack. That’s a tremendous leap from the 32nd-overall ranking that the team posted last season.
Two members of the Cardinals blocking unit just joined the organization this year. Right guard J.R. Sweezy, a veteran who became a pro back in 2012, has brought a nasty edge to the crew. Justin Murray has settled in nicely at right tackle, despite the fact that the 26-year old has only been with the franchise since September 1st.
Left tackle D.J. Humphries, who’s in the final year of his contract, is finally resembling the first-round pick that he is. Left guard Justin Pugh, after enduring a injury-riddled 2018, is now earning the $45 million deal he was handed by the front office a year ago. Center A.Q. Shipley, who has battled back from the torn ACL he suffered in August of ’18, has been the line’s steady anchor.
What many believed would be a weakness for the Cards in ’19 is proving to be anything but. Keim seems to have built an extremely viable front wall for head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s offense. There’s still alot of football to be played, but the offensive linemen are well on their way to making their detractors eat their words.