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A.Q. Shipley: Combination of Peterson, healthy O-line bodes well for Cardinals

(AP Photo/John Froschauer)
LISTEN: AQ Shipley, Cardinals Center

There’s been no question that the Arizona Cardinals’ offensive line has struggled for most of the 2017 season, but with the team’s latest acquisition of running back Adrian Peterson, the beleaguered unit seems to have found its rhythm.

“It was awesome,” offensive linemen A.Q. Shipley told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on last week’s 38-33 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “I mean (Peterson) was hitting the holes, he made us look good quite a couple of times.”

Peterson shined in his Cardinals debut, rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. He averaged 5.2 yards a tote and added a missing element on the ground that was lost when running back David Johnson went down with a wrist injury in Week 1.

The running game opened up more opportunities for the Cardinals as quarterback Carson Palmer was able to call use play-action that, in turn, resulted in points.

Before the trade, the Cardinals were dreadful in the running game. They ranked dead last in yards per attempt (2.6), yards per game (51.8) and total yards (259). The offensive line was hit with multiple injuries and poor play that resulted in five different line combinations through the first six weeks of play.

And while it’s obvious the team has improved in the running back department, the offensive line hasn’t done anything different, Shipley said.

Peterson is always going downhill and that’s something the O-line hadn’t seen this year, the lineman added.

Up next for the Cardinals are the Los Angeles Rams, who feature a talented front seven headlined by Aaron Donald.

“I’ve never seen a guy use his hands and go forward as fast as (Donald) does. Most guys when they use their hands to work a move they stop their feet, they try and get open,” Shipley said. “He’s constantly going forward when he’s working his hands.

“It’s a lot of the same guys as last year. They’re a special group up front, there’s no question.”

Donald may be up high on a list of players to stop on Sunday, but there is more than just one player on the other side of the trenches.

“When I came in the league nine years ago, you had to worry about one guy,” Shipley said. “Now every D-line, there’s two or three guys, on every D-line, you’ve got to worry about.”

The Cardinals (3-3) will look to knock off the NFC West-leading Rams (4-2) for first place in the division when they face off in London at Twickenham Stadium Sunday. You can hear the game on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, with pregame coverage beginning at 5:30 a.m.

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