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PFF: Arizona Cardinals have NFL’s ninth-best O-line

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) takes the snap against the Cleveland Browns during an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Cleveland. Arizona won 34-20. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

The fruits of a capable offensive line are obvious for all to see.

An effective running game? A potent passing attack?

The Arizona Cardinals have both of these things, in no small part due to how their line has played.

Entering their bye week, the Cardinals are fifth in the NFL in total rushing yards, seventh in yards-per-attempt and tenth in rushing yards per game. They’re also pretty good through the air with Carson Palmer ranking third in passing yards, first in yards-per-attempt, fourth in yards-per-game and tied for first in touchdown passes.

No doubt Palmer is one of the league’s better quarterbacks and the running game has benefited from having Chris Johnson in the backfield, but neither would be as successful without adequate blocking up front.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Arizona’s offensive line is the ninth-best in the NFL through the season’s first eight weeks.

Pass blocking rank: 20th

Run blocking rank: 4th

Penalties rank: 13th

Stud: The Cardinals brought Mike Iupati (84.3) in to inject some life into their running game. Mission accomplished.

Dud: If there’s one area that has proven problematic in Arizona, it’s at right tackle. Bobby Massie (45.0) has had some problems since returning to the lineup, earning negative grades in pass protection the past five weeks.

Summary: The much-improved Cardinals’ line is spearheaded by the fantastic left-side combo of Iupati and Jared Veldheer (83.2). Outside of that, it’s still a world away from the Arizona lines of recent years, with no real liabilities.

For the most part, this is probably how most people viewed the line going into the season. The Veldheer/Iupati combo was supposed to be a strength — there is a lot of money dedicated to those two, after all — while Massie and the rest of the group still had plenty to prove.

If nothing else, they are proving to be capable but with room for improvement.

“It’s coming along,” Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said of his offensive line. “Last week, I wasn’t pleased, but you know me — I’m never pleased. I’m hard on those guys. I just have a certain expectation for how we play and how we execute. In the run game, I wasn’t happy very much last week, just guys being on the same page, a little finishing as far as technique and what not.

“But overall those guys are doing a good job. The more they play together the better they’re going to be, and now this is the part of the season where we want them to make sure they’re gelled, they’re tight, they’re talking and finishing blocks and executing.”

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