After the Arizona Cardinals held their Tuesday practice, opening up their second week of OTAs, head coach Bruce Arians was asked about how guard Mike Iupati has looked. The prize of the offseason, Iupati is expected to be a major upgrade to the offensive line.
But since practices are not in pads and are not full contact, it is hard to say.
"Mike's not a soccer player," Arians said, citing as he always does about offseason work not being football. "He's a physical guy and this isn't the time to be physical."
Arians did note how Iupati is learning the system. "He's picking up all the nuances of our pass protection schemes," he said. "They're a lot different than San Franciso's were."
Arians said the Cardinals "ask a lot more" in terms of pass protection reads and schemes than many other teams, but Iupati is "picking it up well."
Iupati has a reputation of being much worse at pass blocking than he is at run blocking. However, he himself says he was recovering much of last season from a broken foot he suffered in the playoffs the previous season. He will also now be protecting a pocket passer in Carson Palmer, not the very mobile Colin Kaepernick.
It won't be until training camp and then the preseason when we get to see him in full contact, but even with his reputed flaws, he should be an upgrade over the guys they have had playing left guard the past few seasons.