Football is back this weekend (hooray!) and since we don't have a Broncos game to evaluate the offensive line, CH74 has turned the tables to do a quick review of the Arizona Cardinals' O-Line in anticipation of the game at Mile High this weekend.
Cardinals offense v. Broncos defense
I scouted Arizona in their first game against the Chargers and last game against the Niners. The Cardinals employ a hybrid scheme that utilizes zone and man-blocking concepts in the run game. The Cardinals O-Line is a little suspect in its pass protection.
Center Paul Sendlien (No. 63) anchors the line. He is a tenacious blocker in both the pass and the run game. He dodged a bullet early in the Chargers game where he snapped the ball to Palmer before the quarterback was ready for it. Sendlien shows above-average footwork and plays like a heady veteran.
At the left tackle position is a face Broncos fans have grown familiar with - Jared Veldheer. He mans the left tackle position for the Cards, and it appears he hasn't grown much since his time with the Raiders. Veldheer had problems in pass protection against both Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney. He has slow feet and uses poor leverage. Veldheer jumped on a screen play in the first quarter against the Chargers where it looked like his assignment was to pull out and set the screen.
At the right tackle position is Bobby Massie. Massie is an athletic right tackle, but he shows a tendency to lose leverage in pass protection. Massie shows good hustle and decent footwork.
Ted Larsen, left guard, showed poor footwork and a tendency to lose leverage both in run blocking and pass blocking. Corey Liuget was able to beat Massie and put a hit on Palmer early in the game against the Chargers. Look for Massie to get help from the center if he struggles.
At right guard is Paul Fanaika. Fanaika plays with good leverage but has slow feet. At 327, Fanaika is the biggest of the Cardinals' "big men." Look for him to be matched up on Pot Roast early and often.
Matchup to Watch
Knighton vs. Fanaika - These two should be battling throughout the game. This is will be a strength-on-strength matchup that should be fun to observe!
Matchups to Exploit
Ware vs. Veldheer - DeMarcus Ware should be able to cause nightmares for Veldheer, who I don't think has the footwork to consistently hang with Ware who I believe is much better than Freeney at this point.
The Broncos deep rotation at the Three Technique vs. Ted Larsen - The Broncos should be able to win this matchup consistently all day long on Sunday no matter who is in the game. Look for Malik Jackson to make his presence felt!
I think week five will be a coming out party for the Broncos pass rush. Arizona had issues with both the depleted Niners and the Chargers. We should see the rush we have all been looking for against the Cardinals. When the Broncos are in their sub packages, things could get very interesting!