The Arizona Cardinals have tried like hell to upgrade an offensive line that struggled a great deal over the past few seasons. Their first point of business was to draft guard Jonathan Cooper in the first round of April’s draft. Magnifying their need to add young talent, Cooper was selected in the top 10, a rarity for a guard in the NFL.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals and their young interior lineman, Copper is going to miss the entire 2013 regular season with a broken leg…
With Cooper out of the mix, attention now turns to a couple lesser options to fill the void in protection of quarterback Carson Palmer.
Veteran Chilo Rachal, who up and quit on the Chicago Bears after a disastrous performance against San Francisco last season, is currently listed as Chicago’s primary backup at left guard. Draft picks Senio Kelemete and Earl Watford offer more upside, but have both been inconsistent thus far during the summer.
Cardinals’ quarterbacks have been sacked 112 times over the past two seasons for an average of 3.5 times per game. Complicating things further, Palmer isn’t necessarily the most mobile quarterback in the world and struggles with pressure in his face.
A lack of protection in front of Palmer could lead to another season of struggles for Arizona’s passing game. No matter the weapons that it has on the outside, Palmer will need time to find the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
Putting the likes of Rachal up against the defensive fronts Arizona is going to see in the NFC West doesn’t necessarily inspire a whole lot of confidence for Bruce Arians and Co. in the desert.
This was a bad break in more ways the one.
Vincent is the head sports editor at eDraft, co-host of eDraft Sports Radio (which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. ET) and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus. He’s also the news director here at PFC and co-host of Football Debate Central with Ryan Riddle every Friday. He’s also a former league-wide featured columnist at Bleacher Report.