The Cardinals offense has gotten off to a great start through the first two weeks of the 2015 season. Despite the fact that injuries have once again limited several key starters like Andre Ellington, Michael Floyd and Mike Iupati, no one has made as many waves with his absence as the team's right tackle Bobby Massie.
Massie was suspended for a DUI issued after the Super Bowl back in February. During training camp, backup right and left tackle Bradley Sowell struggled in preseason games leading the team to take backup guard Earl Watford and play him at right tackle. Watson was decent enough to earn the spot and now there is controversy surrounding whether he should start for the remainder of the season.
Now that we are all on the same page, let's clear up the air a little bit.
First, Bobby Massie is a much better right tackle and should be the starter. Second, Earl Watford has made Bobby Massie expendable, but only after the season is over.
I can understand the confusion. Both Bruce Arians and Steve Keim acknowledged Watford for his play.
Keim praised Watford for his run blocking, saying, "Earl has earned the right to be on the field. He's done a nice job. The one thing I think he's excelled at is the run game."
Meanwhile, Arians was more restrained on the subject, "I thought Earl (Watford) played solid. He is giving up too many hits on the quarterback, but he is really helping our running game," Arians said. "For him to do the job he did I thought was outstanding. Whether it was good enough for him to maintain it, we will see."
Earl Watford has historically played guard. Thus, he is and should be a better run blocker. The position of tackle needs to focus on pass blocking. Bobby Massie is a better pass blocker. He should start at right tackle.
The statistics collected by Pro Football Focus shows this. Over the first two games, Earl Watford has given up 72 quarterback pressures and 3 hits. Over an entire season Watford is on track for 48 pressures and 24 hits.
Last year, Massie only allowed 28 pressures, 8 hits and 9 sacks while playing alongside a guard who isn't on the team this season, Paul Fanaika.
Considering the defensive struggles by the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, it is safe to assume Earl Watford hasn't even played against the toughest pass rushers this season. All of which only proves that Bobby Massie needs to start this season.
Now, I stress Massie should start in 2015. Admittedly, the fact that Arians has agreed that Massie is "on a short leash," proves he is willing to pull Massie if he doesn't win but if he does; Massie becomes a free agent at the end of the year and is an average to above average right tackle. He could command a higher salary than the Cardinals are willing to pay.
Thus, the decent play of Earl Watford allows the Cardinals to let Massie leave and their offensive line will still be functional, if D.J. Humphries still isn't ready to start (who may have a similar trajectory of Bobby Massie, but that's for another day).
Frankly, I believe some of the vitriol behind fans wanting Bobby Massie to stay behind Watford is that Massie was suspended. He made an impaired choice that negatively affected the team.
Massie has paid for the choice and crime, both civilly and now professionally. It is time to accept he will make the Cardinals better right now and let him play.
Unless I'm wrong, who knows I'm not at practice every day like the coaches.