clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Arizona Cardinals offensive line one of league's most improved groups

New, comments

It looks pretty good on paper.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals offensive line is getting attention, and it isn't because of how bad it is. Long having been the weakest link on the team, things are hopefully changing.

In one of many offseason lists we can find, CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso wrote about the most improved positions groups in the league and the most depleted.

The Cardinals offensive line made the list for most improved.

While the line last season did only give up 28 sacks, the running game was atrocious.

Not counting quarterback "runs" of any kind, the Cardinals averaged 3.35 yards per carry, the lowest figure in the entire NFL.

What did GM Steve Keim, someone with "Executive of the Year" on his resume, do?

In free agency, he snagged Mike Iupati away from the 49ers, a division nemesis, to play guard. In the first round of the draft, the fleet-footed D.J. Humphries was grabbed to play right tackle.

The addition of those players alone will boost Arizona's rushing attack in 2015, and will help to keep Palmer frequently upright, too.

Iupati, while he is criticized for his pass protection, still is an improvement over Ted Larsen. A healthy Jonathan Cooper should be an upgrade over Paul Fanaika. Either Larsen or A.Q. Shipley will replace Lyle Sendlein.

And the Cardinals' top pick might not even play in 2015. He will have to win the starting right tackle job over Bobby Massie, who was at least adequate last season.

The pass protection in 2014 was solid enough. The organization has made it a point to be better at running the football. Iupati is an elite run blocker. Shipley got high run blocking grades. Arizona had its best rushing performances when Cooper was in the lineup last season.

As bad as the running game was last season, it couldn't really get worse. But, at least on paper, Arizona's offensive line, long having been a big problem, now appears to be a pretty good unit.