It took a quarter of the season, but for the first time in 2017, Jared Veldheer looked like the player we have seen in Arizona the past three seasons.
Yet, after a briefly flirting with the idea of retirement in July, Veldheer decided to comeback and work through the challenge of the right side of the offensive line.
The first three weeks of the season were painful for many, but mostly for Carson Palmer as Veldheer tried to find his way on the right side. Not only was this his first season in the NFL on the right side, this was the first time ever.
Per Pro Football Focus, Veldheer’s first three game grades for the Arizona Cardinals:
WK1: 39.1 overall grade (55 out of 67 OTs)
Wk 2: 36.8 (55 out of 67)
Wk 3: 37.5 (59 out of 67)
Veldheer was clearly not just bad, he was awful. The media even began to wonder if Bruce Arians would make a switch at right tackle. Arians was blunt, they didn’t have any options, which is true, so Veldheer would just have to play better.
Veldheer responded in week four, with his best game of the season, per PFF:
Wk 4: 77.1 (18 out of 67)
Is it the upswing of Veldheer’s performance at right tackle?
Bruce Arians has unrelenting faith in his players, sometimes to a fault, but this could be one of the time when patience was needed and Arians faith, and not having an alternative, pays off.