The mantra of the offseason for the Arizona Cardinals was clearly to improve the offensive line.
Of course, that has been Steve Keim’s mantra since he took over as GM.
He drafted Jonathan Cooper as a top ten pick.
He paid big money to older free agents in Jared Veldheer and Mike Iupati.
He drafted D.J. Humphries in the first round.
This offseason, he signed former first round picks Justin Pugh and Andre Smith and drafted Michigan offensive lineman Mason Cole, as he looks to find the right combination of players to lift the offensive lines play.
Honestly, it shouldn’t be that hard.
With a healthy D.J. Humphries and Mike Iupati, plus the added new pieces, the Cardinals can’t be as bad as they were last year in pass protection.
Pro Football Focus released their 2017 pass blocking efficiency rankings and guess who came in second to last?
That’s right, your Arizona Cardinals.
2017 pass-blocking efficiency: 74.3
Best individual PBE: A.Q. Shipley, 97.8
Arguably, the Cardinals struggled at every position along the line in 2017, with seven different offensive linemen having allowing two or more sacks throughout the season. All told, the team surrendered 217 total pressures on 664 passing plays, resulting in a PBE of 74.3 – the second-worst mark in the league. In terms of pass-blocking efficiency, the Cardinals best performer was center A.Q. Shipley, but even he surrendered five sacks on the season, which was more than any other center in the NFL.
This is not surprising to anyone who watched the Cardinals piece together an offenisve line in 2017, while also continuing to watch the Cardinals run a very Cardinals like offense.
At times, it looked like Bruce Arians thought he had his full arsenal from 2015 at his disposal. Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert were instead used as tackling dummies and the offensive line would get the brunt of the blame, despite not being exactly a who’s who of talent.
Now, under Mike McCoy, with a completely revamped and hopefully healthy offensive line, maybe things will get a little better.
Let’s just say at the end of the year, let’s hope it is for Sam Bradford and/or Josh Rosen’s sake.