Why Arizona Cardinals offensive line hasn't been as dominant as expected

Throughout two games, the Arizona Cardinals have seen nothing but pedestrian-to-average performances from their offensive line.
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals offensive line looked like a position of strength, as general manager Monti Ossenfort invested heavily in the unit that was in dire need of attention. Between March 2023 and August 2023, he brought in the following pieces:

  • Kelvin Beachum (re-signed)
  • Will Hernandez (re-signed)
  • Hjalte Froholdt
  • Dennis Daley
  • Elijah Wilkinson
  • Paris Johnson
  • Jon Gaines II
  • Trystan Colon
  • Keith Ismael
  • Ilm Manning
  • Carter O’Donnell

That’s 11 new pieces to the unit, and one would think five guys would step up. So far, only Will Hernandez is the only one to take the baton, generating a 76.9 grade on PFF. This ranks Hernandez as the ninth-best at his position out of 71 qualified candidates. However, he has still allowed five pressures and a pair of quarterback hits.

Arizona Cardinals offensive line has not lived to expectations

So what’s going on with the Cardinals offensive line through the first two weeks of 2023? When you think about it, Hernandez is the only one from the group returning to the starting lineup from last season who also played in double-digit outings. The only other man returning, Humphries, saw time in just eight games before a back injury derailed his 2022 campaign. 

Paris Johnson Jr. is only coming off of his second pro game, and Hjalte Froholdt is entering his first full season as a starter. Froholdt was only a part-time starter before coming to the desert, as was Elijah Wilkinson, who hasn’t started over 10 games in a season since 2019. 

In short, the Arizona Cardinals line just has a lot of new faces, one of which is heading into his third game as a pro when the Redbirds take on the Dallas Cowboys. Another two are still settling into their respective roles, while the man anchoring the line at left tackle is in just his third game back from injury. 

So the offensive line isn’t going to give us good returns off the bat. But if they stay healthy and stick together, you will see better results in the not-so-distant future, especially with Johnson. 


(Historical data provided by Pro-Football-Reference, Player grades provided by PFF [subscription])