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PFF: Arizona Cardinals’ O-line in NFL’s upper half

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals have spent a considerable amount of resources trying to build a good offensive line.

And you know what? They may have done it.

The Cardinals’ line, which has consisted of Jared Veldheer at left tackle, Ted Larsen and Mike Iupati at left guard, Lyle Sendlein at center, Jonathan Cooper at right guard and Bobby Massie and Earl Watford at right tackle has played well enough this season to be ranked as the 11th-best O-line in the NFL by the folks over at ProFootball Focus.com.

The site notes the Cardinals finished last season’s O-line rankings at No. 24.

Pass blocking rank: 15th

Run blocking rank: 10th

Penalties rank: 4th

Stud: With just five hurries allowed all year, Jared Veldheer (+2.3) continues to prove he’s worth the money.

Dud: He’s on the field, at least, and there have been many worse guards in the league. But you’d want more out of Jonathan Cooper (-4.3).

Summary: It feels like it’s taken forever for the Cardinals to get anything resembling a decent offensive line. Well, after spending high draft picks and handing out big dollars in free agency, that day may be here. Now, can this line grow together if they all stay healthy?

While the grades provided by PFF may be a little difficult to understand, there are certain stats that stand out and help tell the story. For instance, QB Carson Palmer has been sacked just five times, which is a mark that is bettered by just three teams, and their running game is ranked 11th in the NFL with 487 yards, though their 4.4 yards-per-carry average is tied for third-best.

And though the line has had success thus far, it’s possible even better play is in store as Iupati and Massie are further re-integrated into the lineup after the former missed the first three games due to a knee injury and the latter the first two due to a suspension.

But whether or not the Cardinals’ line evolves into one of the league’s very best or finishes ranked somewhere in the middle, it’s apparent the work the organization did to improve the situation there has paid off.

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