The Arizona Cardinals returned to the practice field Monday after suffering their first loss of the season on last Thursday to the Rams. In the loss, the inconsistent play of the offensive line continued to show up. Most players likely started to watch film on Friday after returning from St. Louis, but this was the team’s first day on the field back together.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was happy to be back on the field Monday morning.
“The way we played Thursday night, it makes for a long weekend but it was good to get back out here,” he said Monday. “Good to be in meetings and go through the film with them this morning.”
The Cardinals gave up nine sacks on Thursday and eight the previous game against the Dolphins. That’s 17 total sacks in the last two games for those of you keeping score at home, compared to six total sacks given up in the first three games for Arizona.
“I mean that’s a whole team situation,” said veteran guard Daryn Colledge. “We’ve got some guys not lining up right and we’ve got guys on the offensive line not playing their techniques. You end up having 16 mental errors and all of a sudden the game’s out of hand.”
With seven years in the league under his belt, Colledge knows a thing or two, including that getting a run game going can help the offensive line.
“The running game isn’t going to solve everything but it is a huge chunk of what we need to do. Our play-action game was good in the first three weeks,” Colledge reiterated. “Even though we weren’t running the ball really effectively, we were running it enough that we had the threat of it. Right now we have to get back to doing that and that will help us out.”
Colledge may be on to something. In the first three games of the season Arizona rushed the ball 86 times for 244 total yards. In the last two games against Miami and St. Louis, the Cardinals recorded just 32 carries for 73 yards.
Coach Whisenhunt agrees that a productive run game can help the offensive line, which in turn can help cut down sacks and allow them to throw the ball more effectively.
“I don’t think it could hurt,” he said. “I think it’s something obviously that we’re going to continue to try and work on.”
It will be a team effort from this point forward, after finding out that running back Ryan Williams is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and Beanie Wells cannot come off the Injured Reserve/Designated to Return List until Thanksgiving.
That leaves running backs LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell and Alfonso Smith to carry the load right now, unless the Cardinals make a move and bring in some help.
Next up for the Cardinals are the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium. This is a Bills team that allowed 300 yards rushing and 300 yards passing in a single game for the first time in the history of the NFL Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.