Cardinals GM Steve Keim: Offensive line play ‘was unacceptable’
If you watched the Cardinals’ 28-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night — either in the stadium or on TV — it was quite obvious that Arizona’s offensive continues to struggle.
Performance is an issue. The Cardinals allowed quarterback Carson Palmer to get sacked six times, hit on 11 other occasions and failed to open up many running lanes for backs.
They’re also struggling with health. Left tackle D.J. Humphries and left guard Mike Iupati each missed a second straight game against Dallas.
But general manager Steve Keim thinks help is on the way, and maybe in time for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
“Fortunately for us, I think we’re going to be getting a few players back, and back this week,” Keim told Doug & Wolf Tuesday morning on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I’d like to think D.J. Humphries will return this week. I think there’s a good chance Mike Iupati can potentially return this week, so there’s two offensive line starters.”
Getting players back from injury is a positive, but it’s not necessarily the cure to what ails the line, either.
“We just have to get better,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it that (Monday) night’s display of offensive line play was unacceptable, not only from a technical standpoint when you look at guys’ footwork, their sets, their hand placement, but in this game, as we know, it comes down to one-on-one situations and being challenged at the point of attack. You have to win those battles.”
The offensive lineman struggling the most is right tackle Jared Veldheer, who was challenged by coaches heading into the Dallas game to improve. The veteran settled into a new position, but Keim doesn’t think that switch is the culprit for Veldheer’s difficulties.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with right tackle,” he said. “I think the fact of the matter is he’s got to get better. He’s got to improve all those little things I just talked about — his footwork, his technique, his hand placement — and get back to basics.
“Again, sixty-four thousand people saw it last night and Jared’s a prideful guy and I expect nothing less from him to be in here this week and make some improvements.”
Though he started his message on the line with positive news concerning the pending return of two starters, there was some potentially damaging developments in Monday’s loss. Guard Alex Boone, who has started the last two games in place of Iupati, suffered an injury late in the contest.
“He has some type of a (pectoral) strain. I don’t know the extent of it, but I know he has to get an MRI,” Keim said. “The one thing I know about Alex in the short time he’s been here is he’s extremely tough. He’s the kind of guy who will play through pain and you know, I think it would have to be pretty severe for him to miss time.”