Why we like Mike (Iupati)

Mar 12, 2015, 3:14 AM | Updated: 1:33 pm
Follow @Gambo987...
LISTEN: Mike Iupati, Cardinals guard

The Cardinals have signed six players thus far in free agency.

They replaced nose tackle Dan Williams with Corey Peters. They replaced defensive tackle Darnell Dockett with Cory Redding. They replaced future coach Larry Foote, should he retire as expected, with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. And they get veteran LaMarr Woodley on the cheap for depth at linebacker.

They got A.Q. Shipley to provide depth at center. All those moves were made to provide depth and replace lost players.

But Mike Iupati is different. The free agent signing of the former 49ers guard is a signal of a shift in philosophy. A pass-happy team unable to run the ball last season (3.3 yards per carry) now has a mauler at left guard. The Cardinals can now potentially run off-tackle left between Jared Veldheer and Iupati and have success.

Iupati was rated as the fourth-best free agent available by NFL.com. He is only 27 years old and he is a three-time Pro Bowl player. And, most importantly, he is durable. Iupati has played in 75 of 80 games, and he played last season with a broken foot.

Arizona will add a running back either via free agency or in the draft. The Cardinals like Andre Ellington but don’t seem to trust him carrying the bulk of the workload. Any upgrade at running back and this team becomes awfully dangerous.

I’m sure the Cardinals — even Bruce Arians — would have liked to run the ball more last season. But Ellington was banged up and the offensive line was not built to dominate the line of scrimmage when running the ball. Their leading rusher in each game totaled 53, 91, 62, 32, 67, 88, 71, 95, 23, 42, 24, 16, 100, 75, 19, 67 and 22 yards. Only Kerwynn Williams rushed for 100 yards in a game — against Kansas City, two days after being called up from the practice squad.

With Iupati in the fold, Arizona can and should run the ball more.

Run it down opponents’ throats.

They can establish the run, and stick to it — use it move the chains, to dominate the time of possession, to run out the clock.

Now, instead of passing on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1, Arizona can line up play some smashmouth football.

It’s been a long time since they have been able to do that.

But Iupati is that good at run blocking. So good, in fact, that Arians should begin putting more running plays in his arsenal now.

Life Changer Loans

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals star backer Isaiah Simmons runs through drills during training camp on Wednesday,...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals notebook: A competitive training camp comes to a close

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury came out of training camp pleased with both the work his players and staff were able to get in.
16 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals RB Jonathan Ward catches a pass during training camp on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, ...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals not oblivious to Ravens’ 21-game preseason win streak

Preseason football does not count in the win-loss column. But don't tell the Baltimore Ravens, who face the Cardinals on Sunday.
16 hours ago
DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks runs the ball after making a catch in front of Antonio Hamil...
Jake Anderson

Kingsbury: Antonio Hamilton is Cardinals’ No. 2 cornerback ‘as of now’

Cardinals CB Antonio Hamilton is no stranger to being doubted, and he looks to make the most of his opportunity in Arizona for his family.
16 hours ago
Offensive lineman Greg Long #65 of the Arizona Cardinals participants in a team training camp at St...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals re-sign OL Greg Long, release TE Deon Yelder

The Arizona Cardinals re-signed offensive lineman Greg Long and release tight end Deon Yelder, the team announced Friday.
16 hours ago
Owner Bill Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals holds up the George S. Halas trophy after winning the N...
Arizona Sports

Late owner Bill Bidwill to enter Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor

Bill Bidwill, the late Cardinals owner and father of current owner Michael Bidwill, will enter the team's Ring of Honor as its 19th member.
16 hours ago
Marquise Brown #5 of the Baltimore Ravens takes the field prior to the game against the Miami Dolph...
Kellan Olson

Hollywood Brown felt like Baltimore Ravens ‘really didn’t need me’

Cardinals WR Hollywood Brown clarified that "people get it wrong" when it comes to how he feels about the Baltimore Ravens, his former team.
16 hours ago