Arizona Cardinals can’t hold lines in preseason loss to Bears

Aug 19, 2017, 11:36 PM
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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Cardinals coach Bruce Arians doesn’t like to assess his line play after games because it’s too hard to see what’s happening in the trenches when he is standing on the sidelines.

He should have checked with his son, Jake, for an instant evaluation.

The truth is, the younger Arians wasn’t far off. The Cardinals’ first team defense allowed the Bears 76 rushing yards on 16 carries (4.8-yard average) but just 89 passing yards, thanks in large part to Chicago quarterback Mike Glennon’s ineptness.

The first-team (mostly) offense managed just 17 rushing yards on nine carries, and 84 passing yards in a 24-23, preseason loss to the Bears on Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

“They’re not blocking very well is my best guess,” said Arians, when asked for his assessment of the Cardinals’ running game. “I’ll have to go look at it because we didn’t really stick to one thing.”

There were other issues that factored into the first-team’s sluggish play. Arians said the offense had wrong runs called against the Bears’ base defense and a wide receiver trying to block an outside linebacker, “which isn’t very good.”

He also noted that young inside linebackers Haason Reddick and Scooby Wright struggled to tackle when the line sent ball carriers their way, but there were notable issues along both lines. The Bears run game had success getting to the second level of the defense with a big push up front, Jared Veldheer had a rough night at right tackle and the offensive line obviously wasn’t getting a push.

All the usual preseason qualifiers apply, but there will be areas of focus in the final week of training camp this week.

“We’ve definitely got some stuff we’ve got to iron out,” left tackle D.J. Humphries said. “I lost on an inside move late. [Carson Palmer] got the ball out but it still was an L in my book. I think it’s just some little stuff that we’ve got to clean up and we’ll be on the right path.”

Saturday’s game was the first time the starting five played together on the offensive line. Humphries missed last week’s game against the Oakland Raiders with a hamstring injury.

“I had to get out there; I couldn’t sit out another week,” he said. “I was a little pumped early. I had to calm myself down a bit.”

The Cardinals play their final two preseason games on the road, but the next game at Atlanta is likely the last opportunity the starters will have to iron out the issues that plagued them against Chicago. The starters will almost certainly sit out the preseason finale on Aug. 31 at Denver.

The Cardinals will game plan for the Falcons, which quarterback Carson Palmer said is an advantage.

“It’s good to prepare for an opponent throughout the week so I’m looking forward to doing that,” he said. “We’ve got another week; got another opportunity to play a preseason game before we get to the ones that count.”

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