ARIZONA CARDINALS

Former NFL lineman: Continuity on offensive line very delicate process

Sep 26, 2017, 1:43 PM | Updated: 2:15 pm
Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Jared Veldheer (68) works on technique as Mike Iupati (76) look...
Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Jared Veldheer (68) works on technique as Mike Iupati (76) looks on during an NFL football organized team activity Monday, June 1, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: LeCharles Bentley, Former Pro Bowl OL

The Arizona Cardinals are not the only NFL team dealing with porous offensive line play — it has been a league-wide issue.

Defensive fronts are dominating in ways the league has not seen in quite some time. While it is a small sample size, through two weeks, there were 5.23 sacks per game. That’s the highest rate in the last 20 seasons, according to NFL Research Media Group.

There were 4.81 sacks per game in Week 3 (77 sacks in the 16 games), which is not far off from the average through Week 2.

So, what could possibly explain this trend?

LeCharles Bentley, who played center in the NFL for six seasons, said coaches should shoulder the blame for creating a toxic environment.

The 37-year-old said playing on the offensive line requires five guys working and believing in one another, and as the “patriarch” of the unit, the offensive line coach has to spearhead that belief.

“An element of what’s taking place is that many of the offensive line coaches are just [expletive] and they hurt players more so than help players,” Bentley told Doug & Wolf Tuesday morning on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “Many of these men who parade themselves as coaches spend more time berating players spend more time flexing their personal egos and agendas than actually investing the time into developing the skill sets required to be a high-level offensive line athlete.”

Bentley did not mention any coaches in particular but said that “many……..of these players are dealing with environments that are not conducive to growth and that’s part of the problem we’re seeing in today’s game.”

The Cardinals and Packers led the league in Week 3 with six sacks allowed, and through three weeks, only the Houston Texans (15), Packers (13) and the Kansas City Chiefs (12) have given up more. The Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns are tied for third with 11.

An inability to protect Palmer by the entire offensive line could certainly account for most of the Cardinals’ issues on offense, but Bentley singled out right tackle Jared Veldheer.

“In my humble opinion, just being a guy who’s been in the locker room understanding the physique of athletes, it’s really hard for a person to decide to retire in the middle of training camp and then decide I want to keep playing,” Bentley said. “Once you take that step to decide I’m willing to shut it down, it’s very difficult for anyone to turn it back on.”

While Bentley acknowledged that the entire group “is a bit of a patchwork right now,” he said he questions whether Veldheer is mentally ready to play every week and the Cardinals should start looking for a long-term replacement at right tackle.

Veldheer struggled Monday against Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawerence, who sacked Palmer three times and now leads the NFL with 6.5 sacks this season.

Left tackle D.J. Humphries, who switched positions with Veldheer in the offseason, has only played in one game this season. General manager Steve Keim told Doug & Wolf this morning he could see Humphries and guard Mike Iupati returning this Sunday for the team’s Week 4 contest against the San Francisco 49ers.

Keim also said guard Alex Boone has “some kind of (pectoral) strain,” and he does not know the extent of Boone’s injury until he gets an MRI.

Besides questioning Veldheer’s mental fortitude, Bentley pointed to a number of problems with the 30-year-old’s technique.

“He hasn’t been consistent with anything he’s done in terms of a stance,” Bentley said. “He’s played with multiple elements, he’s constantly adjusting this and adjusting that — nobody can do what Joe Thomas does so don’t try to replicate that.”

Life Changer Loans
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) makes the catch as Dallas Cowboys free safety Byron Jones (31) and cornerback Orlando Scandrick (32) defend during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) is hit by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) looks at Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence after being sacked during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates his touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws under pressure from Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) trees to elude Arizona Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker (92) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians talks with quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs as Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (90) misses the tackle during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) pulls in a touchdown catch as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is hit by Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) celebrates his sack of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) with teammate nose tackle Corey Peters (98) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates his touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals with offensive guard Zack Martin during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) celebrates his touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) dives for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals strong safety Antoine Bethea and inside linebacker Haason Reddick (43) defend during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) dives for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) and strong safety Antoine Bethea, rear, defend during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) dives for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) and strong safety Antoine Bethea, rear, defend during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, left, greets Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians prior to an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) From left; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, president Michael Bidwill, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and head coach Bruce Arians stand during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) The Dallas Cowboys stand during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) scores a touchdown as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown (13) scores a touchdown as Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws under pressure from Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) stretches for yards as he is hit by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) is hit by Arizona Cardinals nose tackle Corey Peters (98) and outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is hit by Dallas Cowboys strong safety Jeff Heath (38) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson (4) looks way after missing a field goal as Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Kyle Wilber (51) heads to the bench during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Arizona Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson (4) walks to the bench after missing a field goal against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) signals first down against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians looks for a call from line judge Julian Mapp (10) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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