The Cardinals are in trouble. The team has spent significant resources to find the right pieces on the offensive line. They have missed on almost every single one. Jarrod Veldheer and Mike Iupati were the first two substantial free agent acquisitions that the Cardinals put together on the O-line in years. Both players were significant upgrades at the time and helped the Cardinals put together the winningest stretch of seasons the team has ever had in Arizona.
The misses have far outweighed the hits. Starting with the number seven overall draft pick in Jonathan Cooper. In training camp and preseason he looked as good and as athletic as any guard I have ever seen. I was sending text messages to friends from training camp raving about the guy. Then he broke his leg and was never the same. They have also drafted Earl Watford, DJ Humphries, Evan Boehm, Cole Toner, Dorian Johnson, and Will Holden in that time.
DJ Humphries and Evan Boehm still have a chance to be solid pro lineman, but Boehm is out of position at right guard, and Humphries can’t stay healthy. The Cardinals scouting department and coaching staff have failed to find and teach any top-tier offensive line talent. We have watched Jarod Veldheer go from potential pro-bowl left tackle, to barely able to play at right tackle.
Then the free agency pickups. Evan Mathis (always injured, retired), AQ Shipley (smart, but undersized), Alex Boone (Injured), John Wetzel (not starting NFL talent) and some practice squad guys that never saw the light of day.
Steve Keim has committed to building the trenches, and he has tried. But at some point, fans have to question what the Cardinals are looking at when evaluating line talent. What is Harold Goodwin teaching them when they get here? I don’t care who you put at QB, if the offensive line is terrible, your team is going to struggle. The Cardinals need to figure it out, quickly.
If the Cardinals lose this week to the Tampa Bay Bucs, the season is all but over. The only hope is that our division is so bad, that we can squeeze out a few more wins before David Johnson returns. If Arizona can be 6-5 when he returns, they have a fighting chance. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.
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