GLENDALE, AZ - Ever since Bruce Arians arrived in Tempe he’s been saying that the offensive line would be okay, they just needed to get healthy and with a little coaching, they would be okay.
He’s said it over and over again, believing that his coaching staff could bring out the best in an offensive line that produced more sacks (58) than any other team in the league last season. An offensive line that produced the fewest rushing yards (75.3 yds. per game) of any team in the league.
Today, after just three practices, when asked about what he liked about the offensive line he said, “Not much. I’m very disappointed right now with the play up front. Way too many mental errors. The physical part we’ll start to see this afternoon. All of them up front got to get better. They got enough pride that they’re going to fix it. I think they’re anxious to get pads on. Of all the people who get hurt playing in shorts, it’s the big guys. I hope to see a much better display mentally so that can play fast and physical.”
Not very flattering after the coach repeatedly told us they’d be fine. However, Arians did add this at the end of his trashing of the offensive line.
“It’s way too early to start worrying about anything,” he said.
Okay, so admittedly, the coach is concerned about his offensive line, but the team is just three practices in to training camp. So do we give them the benefit of the doubt, or do we hold onto what we know this offensive line has produced in the past?
Clearly, the addition of first round draft pick, Jonathan Cooper and seven year veteran tackle, Eric Winston should help, but how much they’ll help is yet to be determined.
Did you know that the last time the Cardinals had a Pro Bowl offensive lineman was back in 1996 when Lomas Brown made it to Hawaii? In fact, since 1980, the Cardinals have produced just two Pro Bowl offensive linemen.
Not exactly a shining history of outstanding offensive lineman. The last time we even heard of many of the Cardinals offensive linemen was back in the 70’s when Dan Dierdorf and Conrad Dobler were household names. Dobler of course because of his moniker as the “dirtiest” lineman in the game and Dierdorf because he went on to be a top NFL analyst.
So Arians and his staff have their work cut out for them and at this point, only time will tell. Will the addition of Cooper and Winston really help, or will Cardinal fans have to suffer through another year of bad offense?
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