Leading into the Arizona Cardinals traveling to Minnesota to play the Vikings for a battle of the 4-2 team there were reports from the Cardinals front office that they were looking for ways to shore up a porous offensive line. After giving up 22 sacks in three games and losing two quarterbacks to injury in six weeks it finally dawned on the team that a change needed to take place if the team had any chance of making something of its 4-0 start. Since that time the Cardinals have lost three in a row due to the struggles of the offense, particularly featuring the NFLs worst offensive line.
The Cardinals offensive line is ranked 32nd, having now given up a league high 35 sacks and 53 QB hits. To put the numbers into perspective, the closest teams to those numbers are the Green Bay Packers who have given up 26 sacks and 41 hits and the Philadelphia Eagles giving up 17 sacks and 52 hits.
The offensive line had a handful of bonehead plays, even calling a blocking scheme that left a defensive linemen untouched to run right down the middle to sack QB John Skelton.
The number of sacks is never the lines fault completely. John Skelton had plenty of bonehead plays holding the ball too long, and has to be blamed for not speeding up his internal clock. The QB coach has to be blamed for not teaching Skelton behind this line he has three seconds to throw the ball, either to a target or away because their will be a defender on him at the fourth second (reference above). On one particular bonehead play Skelton tried to roll outside the pocket and extend the play. During his roll out he could have thrown the ball away, but instead tried to run it out of bounds. That doesn’t sound like that bad of a play, except he was running out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage, looked exactly like a guy trying to run on a sprained ankle and was caught from behind by Jared Allen to pad his sack stats.
My "favorite" bonehead play this week was the 4th down call to have FB Reagan Maui’a roll out to catch a pass from John Skelton. The defender was all over Maui’a so Skelton decided to tuck the ball and run for the first. Maui’a didn’t recognize this and continued to play the ball as a pass catcher, rather than a blocker, and the defender rushed past Maui’a and laid a hard hit on Skelton to cause the turnover on downs. Maui’a bonehead. Two weeks in a row. Skelton bonehead. Mike Miller bonehead for calling that bad play.
Finally, Mike Miller will receive a permanent mention on the bonehead play of the game until he adjusts his game plan and play calling to suit the players and their strengths rather than highlighting their weaknesses. Mike Miller is the one calling these plays and hoping for deep plays to develop behind the offensive line. Miller’s fourth down calls boneheaded. The question remains, when will Miller utilize heavy sets with an extra tackle to support the tackle positions? There’s no better time than now to get Potter on the field for some snaps.
The two things that stood out to me watching the Vikings game is that Kevin Kolb is sorely missed. The other is that Coach Whisenhunt and Coach Miller are stubborn beyond belief thinking that anyone on this offensive line could stand up to Jared Allen without a double team.
What was your bonehead play?