Warner: Cardinals’ offensive line inconsistency keying offensive woes
Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner believes there’s a major difference between the Cardinals’ offense and the best ones in the NFL.
It has little to do with the quality of the team’s playmakers.
Warner told Bickley and Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Tuesday that he believes the Cardinals’ inability to field a strong offensive line is holding the offense back from having more success.
The Cardinals have allowed 28 sacks in 10 games and only the Buffalo Bills have scored less points per game than the Cardinals (14.5 points per game).
“If you look at the Cardinals, that’s the one area again — go all the way back to when I was there — that’s always been an area of concern,” Warner said. “And they’ve never really fixed it to the point where you’ve felt really good year in, year out with all five guys across the board.
“Until you fix that, I don’t care how innovative you are — you can run some smoke and mirrors — but you’re not going to win with smoke and mirrors week in and week out. Especially when you’re playing teams like we saw last night.”
Warner specifically mentioned the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints as offenses that thrive because of strong offensive line play.
Those three teams are the only ones that average over 30 points per game and are a combined 28-4 this season.
“They all protect their quarterbacks extremely well and allow them to get downfield and change the complexion of games with big plays,” Warner said.
“You’ve got to have good players, a good quarterback and you have to be able to protect them if you’re going to throw the ball all over the yard and try to put pressure on defenses like good teams do.”
The Cardinals’ offensive line has been decimated by injuries this season, which has further hampered the offense.
Most recently, starting offensive tackle D.J. Humphries couldn’t go Sunday against the Raiders because of a knee injury.
“It takes five guys to do it as well. It’s not about one guy being really good,” Warner said. “You still have to mesh with five guys so that’s what is so unique with the offensive line.
“You can’t just put a couple of guys in there and think it’ll fix whole thing. You have to have a collective unit that plays well together that understands and communicates.”
Warner does believe the Cardinals could improve quickly.
He noted the Rams’ quick rise, from 4-12 in 2016 to 10-1 so far this season.
But for the Cardinals to even scratch the surface of the Rams’ recent success, it’ll start with an improvement on the offensive line.
“I think like everything else, what makes great players great or great offensive lines great, is the ability to react in the moment positively,” Warner said.
“Whether that’s falling back to proper technique, the ability to see twists of a defensive line and be able to counter those twists or to be able to play against the great pass rushers and hold your technique.”