Freitag, 5. Oktober 2012

Cardinals vs Rams: Arizona's Offensive Line Fell Flat on Its Face in Defeat

Tonight proved to be an absolute nightmare for quarterback Kevin Kolb. He was dumped nine times by the St. Louis Rams defense and hit 11 more times. Over the past two week's Kolb has been sacked 17 times and hit 21 times. They are the first team in nine years to allow eight-plus sacks in consecutive weeks. Arizona's offensive line should be ashamed of themselves.

So, who is to blame for the fiasco upfront? I have four names that come to mind right off the top of my head. Bobby Massie and D'Anthony Batiste deserve the immediate blame. Through the first four games they have accounted for 44 total pressures. If you add tonight's game in, that number quickly approaches 70. Yes, that's how bad tonight was for the book end tackles.

The third person on my list who deserves criticism is Russ Grimm, the offensive line coach. I know there is only so much he can control when teaching these guys, but this poor level of play has me convinced that he is not that good of a teacher. By comparison, look at Paul Boudreau, the offensive line coach of the Rams. 

His talent on the offensive line is equally as poor as Grimm's, yet you don't see his unit giving up 17 sacks and 21 hits over a two-game span. Their offensive tackles are freaking Barry Richardson and Wayne Hunter. Sure, they have more experience under their belts, but there's no way you can tell me they are that much better than Batiste and Massie.

Hunter was originally playing right tackle in New York until injuries forced him to the left side. Kansas City wanted nothing to do with Richardson as his tenure for the Chiefs was not a good one. However, the coaching of Boudreau has turned both players into serviceable tackles. Since Chicago handed it to St. Louis in Week 3, Weeks 4 and 5 have been like night and day. 

Neither of them allowed a sack and by my count they only allowed Bradford to get hit four times. That means over the past two games Hunter and Richardson have only allowed four quarterback hits. No sacks have been surrendered in two weeks. That just goes to show that proper coaching is the key to improvement. 

And lastly, I blame general manager Rod Graves. Why hasn't he made more of an effort to really improve this offensive line? He just invested $60 million into a franchise quarterback, so why not protect him? I guess that would make too much sense. Instead of drafting Michael Floyd, Graves should have maybe drafted Riley Reiff, or any other offensive lineman with a pulse.

Arizona is too talented on defense to let the offense hold this team back. For the fifth game in a row the offense failed to reach the 300-yard mark. The running game was non-existent again and outside of Larry Fitzgerald there wasn't a consistent pass-catcher on the field. If you can't move the ball on the ground or through the air, how do you expect to win?

The good news is that even though tonight was a step back, they've already taken four steps forward. A 4-1 record stills puts them at the top of division. With a win over the Bills this Sunday, the 49ers would be tied for first place.  

Lucky for Arizona, they now have 10 days to try and figure out that mess they call an offensive line. 


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