The Arizona Cardinals were searching for someone to protect quarterback Carson Palmer’s blind side, so they went and brought in the player who did it for him in Oakland.
The team signed Jared Veldheer Wednesday, bringing the massive 26-year-old into the fold.
“We had great intel in our building with Kevin Ross, our corners coach, who was in Oakland, and obviously the ability to talk to Carson this weekend about Jared at length,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim said at Veldheer’s introductory press conference in Tempe. “And both guys came back to us with an unbelievable and unbiased opinion of him, which was rare work ethic, great intangibles.
“I think when Bruce and I found out from Kevin Ross that Jared’s been known from time to time to scrap on the practice field, he went up in our book. He’s our kind of guy.”
Veldheer had spent his first four NFL seasons in Oakland, with Palmer there for two of them.
“It’s going to be great, he’s such an awesome guy to work with,” Veldheer said of Palmer. “He’s a great quarterback, great leader in the huddle. He’s very smart. The tempo at which he can play at is great to be a part of [because] it’s tough for other teams to kind of react and play with it.
“I think he’s a great weapon and I’m happy to be back with him.”
In 25 games as a Raider and with Veldheer at left tackle, Palmer was sacked 43 times. In 16 games as a Cardinal last season, he was brought down on 41 instances.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Veldheer has allowed just 18 sacks in his career.
“He plays big,” Palmer said via AZCardinals.com. “He’s very difficult to bull rush. Even guys like Terrell Suggs — we played against Terrell, one of the better bull rushers in the game — and he can anchor down and take those guys on.
“But he’s quick, for being, he looks like eight-feet tall. He moves really, really well; he moves like a shorter tackle. And he’s a monster in the run game, he mauls people.”
It’s clear that in Veldheer, the Cardinals think they got a young player who will solidify the left tackle position for years to come. But of course, it doesn’t hurt that he has a history with the team’s starting quarterback.
“I think it gives Carson a lot of satisfaction and relief that he knows this guy can play for him and has played for him,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “It’s like Steve said earlier, Carson came to me and said, ‘We’ve got to get this guy,’ and I trust him totally.
“He is a hard-working, tough hombre that likes to practice hard and play hard. He fit what we were looking for, so it was easy, it was a no-brainer.”