ESPN analyst: Cardinals should watch the Packers
The Arizona Cardinals have once again named another starting quarterback this season. But regardless of whom lines up under center, the Cardinals offense will continue to struggle behind a dismal offensive line.
John Skelton began the season as the starter, but a sprained ankle in the opener forced Kevin Kolb into the game.
Kolb went on to be sacked 27 times before being taken out of the Cardinals Week 6 loss to the Buffalo Bills with injured ribs. Despite playing in one fewer game than most starting quarterback in the NFL, Kolb was brought down more than anyone in the league.
“It’s crystal clear, when you look at the offensive line that’s where the problems are right now. I don’t think anyone is getting a passing grade on the offensive line,” ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo. “I don’t care who the quarterback is because the quarterback is going to get beat up. Kevin Kolb got beat up again on Sunday. Too many hits you can’t last.”
The poor performance by the Cardinals pass blocking has allowed the team to gain a meager 199.8 yards per game through the air, which ranks 28th in the NFL.
“There were opportunities down the field. A couple times on deep crossing routes the plays were available. But Kevin could not get to them,” said Jaworski. “[Receivers] were crossing to the left and [Kolb] got flushed out to the right. Yeah he gains a yard or two scrambling with the football but you leave a big opportunity on the play. And we’re talking about two-tenths of a second here. We’re not even talking about a full second. Just give this play a little time to develop down the field.”
The Cardinals O-line will have difficult task ahead of them against a Minnesota Vikings pass rush that has a quarterback nightmare in Jarred Allen.
Jaworski went on to say that he believes the Cardinals should take a play out of the Green Bay Packers playbook if they want to prepare the difficult matchup awaiting them in Minnesota. Facing sack machine J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans in their Week 6 matchup, the Packers all but abandoned their rush offense in order use their running backs as shields for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The result was six touchdown performances from Rodgers, who had all the time in the world to sit in the pocket and find his receivers downfield.
“They’re now giving Aaron Rodgers time to destroy a Houston defense because he had time to throw the football. I think sometimes you’ve got to give up the rush to get five receivers out and have some guys that can hold the underneath defenders and take a shot down the field.” said Jaworski. “There is no doubt in my mind that that will be the format going into the Viking game. If they don’t, I don’t care who the quarterback is, they have no chance.”