Heading into week 17 with their playoff hopes on the line, the Arizona Cardinals needs better play from their offensive line.
Prior to the 2020 season, Arizona Cardinals fans hoped the offensive line that surrendered 50 sacks (6th worst) in the league last season would be improved. In regards to allowed sacks, they are vastly improved with 25 sacks allowed this season.
The issue that is rearing its ugly head, is their inconsistency to generate a push in the ground game. Lead running back Kenyan Drake ranks 10th in the league in rushing with 919 yards. Those numbers deserve a bit deeper dive.
Out of the 16 games played, Drake has nine games where he averaged under four ypc. Also, he has four games averaging less than three ypc. That is not ideal for a team that desires to run the football. Those porous averages can be linked to the play of the offensive line.
Pro Football Focus the Arizona Cardinals has two OL, Mason Cole and Justin Murray with grades 61 or lower. Heading into this off-season, General Manager Steve Kiem could benefit from adding quality talent in the OL room.
Although the offensive line has cleaned up the number of sacks allowed, they rank 21st in the league in quarterback hurries allowed with 56, according to pro football reference.
This offensive line will be tasked with containing the unstoppable force Aaron Donald from wreaking their offensive game plans. Donald finished the prior meeting in week 13 with three tackles and one sack. Providing Kyler Murray enough time to find success against this Ram’s defense will be the top priority.
Generating a push for Kenyan Drake and the other running backs would help increase the chances of securing a spot in the playoff.
Despite the results of their regular-season finale, improving the offensive line must be high on the off-season checklist. This free-agent class will be an interesting group with a few big names. Heading into year three of the Kingsbury and Murray pairing, building a proper great wall for the young dynamic passer is one step in a championship direction.