Could the Arizona Cardinals Have the Best Offensive Line in the NFC?
Don't look at me like that. I swear I'm not crazy.
Yes, the Arizona Cardinals could have the best offensive line in the NFC.
Adding a nine-time Pro Bowler will do that for you (Alan Faneca ).
Many of you are probably laughing right now. The rest are probably scoffing and using four letter words to describe my level of intelligence.
I'm okay with that. Really. This is just an opinion.
Many of you out there scoffing probably thought that Jay Cutler was going to be the best NFC quarterback last year.
Or that the New York Giants were going to win the Super Bowl.
Or that the New Orleans Saints weren't even going to win their division.
You see, we all like making predictions. But we don't like accepting the consequences when we're wrong.
I know. I'm one of them. So feel free to make fun of me if the Cardinals offensive line absolutely tanks this year.
But that doesn't mean we stop making predictions. It makes for a great NFL offseason, doesn't it?
So, with that, are you ready to hear me out?
Let's look at some statistics from last year for offensive lines before we go into this year's offensive line for Arizona.
But first, let me clarify. There are usually two big statistics when looking at how good an offensive line really is: yards per carry and sacks allowed.
These don't tell the whole story. But then again, when do statistics really tell the whole story, aside from JaMarcus Russell ?
So with that, here are some startling stats from last year:
1. The Cardinals had the least amount of rushing attempts in the entire league.
That's something you absolutely need to keep in mind as I share some more stats.
The Arizona Cardinals were 12th in the league with 16 TDs.
Rushing on the left side of the line, they were 18th in terms of 10 yard plus runs (19 in all), 16th when rushing up the middle (10 in all), and 5th when rushing on the right side (22 in all).
That may be due to finally having a legitimate running back (Beanie Wells ).
But even then, those numbers are actually shocking considering the lack of rushing attempts.
2. The Cardinals were sixth in the league in sacks allowed.
They allowed 26. That's it.
Both playoff teams.
Now, again, some of it may be due to Kurt Warner and his quick release.
But not all. It's the way the Cardinals run their offense as well. They usually created plays where Warner got rid of it quickly.
However, an alarming stat is the number of hits Cardinals QBs took—95, good for eighth worst in the league.
But that can actually be somewhat attributed to the fact that Warner didn't ever move out of the pocket, making him an easy target for pass rushers.
3. The Cardinals had the 12th most experienced offensive line last year (according to nfl.com).
Of course, Green Bay's was the seventh most experienced, so it's not all relevant.
My point is this: The Cardinals had the 12th most experienced last year, and now, they added Alan Faneca.
Now, granted, they did let go of a veteran themselves in Mike Gandy . And they will probably feature a second year guard/tackle in Herman Johnson at some point this year.
But they also added an experienced starter in Rex Hadnot this offseason, they feature a former first rounder on the line in Levi Brown , and have one of the more underrated centers in the game in Lyle Sendlein .
Experience is a big thing when it comes to offensive lines.
So looking to this year, a year when the Cardinals will need a good offensive line, they could have one of the best in the NFC.
If you factor in an improving running game that is sure to see more carries, a more mobile QB in either Matt Leinart or Derek Anderson, and one of the best line coaches in the game in Russ Grimm, the Cards line should be nothing if not solid.
We all have opinions. We like to share them.
I've thrown down the gauntlet.
Now, let's hear your opinion.
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