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Improvement on OL more from health than new additions for Arizona Cardinals

Football Outsiders looks at the Arizona Cardinals additions on the OL and sees those returning from injury being the key.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Every year SB Nation is fortunate enough to do a question and answer session with the fine folks over at Football Outsiders.

They are the original analytics site, that takes a deeper look at the game of football from a number of angles.

Well, this year for the Cardinals much is changing, new head coach, new coaching staff, new quarterback, new offensive and defensive schemes.

That gave us plenty to talk about with FO.

Through this week we have looked at or will look at:

Mike McCoy and Sam Bradford?

David Johnson’s expectations?

Offensive line improvements?

Does the new defensive scheme help or hurt Chandler Jones?

How will the new zone schemes work with the Cardinals?

Today, we check in on the offensive line and whether they really improved.

It’s good that the Cardinals are trying to improve here, seeing as they had one of the worst offensive lines in the league at protecting the quarterback.

With Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen as the primary quarterback options, improving their pass protection will be critical for keeping them healthy and aiding Rosen’s development if he sees some serious playing time. Pugh was solid at right tackle for the Giants, so he should be an upgrade. On the other hand, Smith had major issues in pass protection with Cincinnati.

Neither of those two are superstar offensive linemen, but one factor in the Cardinals’ favor is how hurt their offensive line was last season. They finished 29th in adjusted games lost along the offensive line, meaning they were constantly filling holes with backups. Assuming somewhat better injury luck, Arizona should see an improvement up front.

It is a definite expectation that the Cardinals improve on the OL, but as Carl alluded to, much of that improvement should simply come from health.

If any team is playing their third and fourth guys at a position, they’ll struggle.

Health, like all things this season is the key to improvement, even over bringing in new faces at 3 of the 5 starting positions.

Are you optimistic about the offensive line in 2018?