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Schlereth on Cardinals’ offensive line: ‘I know guys were upset’

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals watches the clock and calls a time out late in the fourth quarter to kick the game winning field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

NFL analyst and former offensive lineman Mark Schlereth doubled-down Wednesday on his claim that members of the Cardinals’ offensive line were unhappy with the play-calling early in the season.

In case you missed it, Schlereth claimed on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta last week that members of the offensive line were “annoyed” by the play-calling of head coach Kliff Kingsbury, but that the coach had made an adjustment. He implied the issue was in the past.

D.J. Humphries, a member of that line, joined Burns & Gambo on Monday and strongly refuted the claim, saying “nobody’s pissed off” and that he was unhappy with someone from outside the organization putting words in the players’ mouths.

Schlereth, as he does every week, joined Bickley & Marotta again on Wednesday and responded to what’s become a back-and-forth.

“I mean I’ve never talked to D.J. Humphries about any of being upset about the way the plays were called. That wasn’t one of my sources. So he’s 100% correct in that,” Schlereth said. “I didn’t talk to him. But with that said, I know guys were upset about it.

“And I mean, hey, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out if you throw it 50 times a game, I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to have success. And that’s never a formula for success from an offensive line. I mean that irritates guys. That’s just a fact. I’ve been there plenty throughout my career.”

Both times Schlereth has discussed this matter, he’s referenced the number of passes attempted by Kingsbury through the first few weeks of the season, one that was prefaced by hype of an Air Raid offense with rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.

The Cardinals attempted 54 passes with Murray in Week 1 and more than 40 each of the next two weeks. But after that, Murray’s pass attempts were in the 30s for three straight weeks before a season-low 21 in Week 7.

“I think we put them in some tough spots — or I put them in some tough spots early — when we became a dropback team when we got behind in some of those games. That was all me,” Kingsbury said Friday. “I think we’re all getting this feel for each other and how this offense operates. I don’t think we’re anywhere near where we can be.”

So the truth may be somewhere in the middle. While a member of the offensive line would understandably not put his name behind something he didn’t say, there’s also words from Kingsbury himself that there’s been an adaptation process. That’s a given with a first-year play-caller.

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