The original offensive line?

Posted by Darren Urban on September 27, 2017 – 5:07 pm

D.J. Humphries was upbeat. “Can’t wait to get out there,” the tackle said Wednesday, although technically he had just been out there for practice. The Cardinals didn’t go hard just two days after a game — Bruce Arians called it a walkthrough, although the guys had helmets, unlike what I would consider a normal walkthrough — and Humphries needs to be in the mix in a harsher environment. So too does guard Mike Iupati (although Iupati has been practicing limited the last couple of weeks even though he hasn’t been playing.)

If Humphries and Iupati can play, however, does that get the Cardinals their original, anticipated offensive line on the field. From left to right, it was supposed to be Humphries, Iupati, Shipley, Boehm, Veldheer. That’s what it was in the opener for a little bit, until Humphries had his leg rolled up on and suffered his knee sprain. Iupati was never 100 percent, with the triceps injury lingering since training camp. (Alex Boone, who hurt his pectoral muscle, is a guy Arians said will be reevaluated Thursday, and frankly, if there is a guy who would try and play through something, Boone is that guy — especially against the 49ers, his former team.)

The problems with the offensive line aren’t a secret or even very hard to see. The right side, with Boehm and Veldheer, is struggling, and that has nothing to do with injuries. I’ll admit, I am surprised at the Veldheer issues. Out of whatever concerns you might have had about the line as constructed, Veldheer would’ve been last on the list, regardless of a move to the right side. If he and Boehm don’t significantly up their level of play, the rest of the line won’t matter. But it would be something to see the Cardinals’ original lineup on the field for a whole game and see what it might mean.

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23 Responses to “The original offensive line?”

  1. By joe holst on Sep 27, 2017 | Reply

    Am I the only one that sees how terrible the defensive line is outside of Corey Peters?

  2. By Scott H on Sep 27, 2017 | Reply

    Well, here is the under-statement of the year – it sure can’t get any worse. We better hope getting some of these bodies back makes things a LOT better. And real quick, too. Because if it doesn’t, the Cowboys just gave the rest of teams on our schedule a road-map to beating this team. And it ain’t real complicated – get effective pressure on Palmer with a 4 or even a 3-man rush and drop 7 or 8 guys into coverage. Not much to it. You’re either gonna get Palmer ( he of the concrete feet ) on the ground often or you can just sit on the bad throws that are going to come when he’s under pressure. If teams are able to get pressure, it will work like a charm. And Palmer will be lucky to make it to mid-season.

    It will also wear our defense down to the nub when they start having to go back on the field every time they turn around.

    I am astounded that we actually had such a TOP advantage over the Cowboys and lost the game by double digits. That seems to defy logic, especially since we didn’t ( by some miracle ) committ any turnovers.

    We’ve also had ZERO from the run game, so that needs to get better – a LOT better – real quick as well.

  3. By Marlin on Sep 27, 2017 | Reply

    If we get Humphries and Iupati back, eventually this year Boone will replace Bhoem at right guard. Boehm becomes a super-sub at center and guard, and the eventual heir apparent at center. Sign Boone for one more year in 2018.

  4. By Coach K on Sep 27, 2017 | Reply

    It’s not just Veldheer and Boehm, it’s also short arms Shipley who is getting swim moved every week. The Cowboys targeted Shipley according to Gruden on MNF.

  5. By Dr. G. on Sep 27, 2017 | Reply

    Well, let’s hope the original O-Line can reassemble. BA thinks that’ll solve things and keep Palmer upright. But I have a few concerns about his commentary.

    * If he thinks changing positions ((LT to RT)) is an easy matter of technique. How would BA do as the DC instead of being the OC? ((Yes, he is the game day OC acting as HC.)) Never happen.

    *BA says “”were not an outside running team.”” This is why Ellington has been injured forever…he is an outside scat back open field guy. BA looked a lot smarter when ((truly gifted)) DJohnson saved his behind last year.

    *BA says CJ2K is rusty! Barnacle Bruce is limiting his Offense with that mentality. CJ & AE are better in open field with occasional runs through the wall. He needs to use a Bull like Penny if he wants to run primarily inside. ((DJ being out)) …still too predictable.

    Barnacle Bruce has been good for a while, but he appears to be locked in antiquity. He needs to step up to the looking glass and admit he could use some changes as well. ⏳ is running out.

    Be well Cards Fans 🇺🇸

  6. By Jo Ball on Sep 27, 2017 | Reply

    The right side of the line is a disaster. The center is average. LG has been done for a year or so. LT is still unproven as he still hasn’t played the left for a full year. It’s possible that these guys get their stuff together as the season progresses.. but I’m not holding my breath. Can’t hope for players to “play better” when they don’t have the talent to do so. The only thing that has a small chance in masking bad players is a an appropriate scheme… and we all know Bruce hates that.

  7. By Daniel Thompson on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    Iupati hasn’t looked good last 2 years…….next!!! Humphries is alway hurtt, Boehm jury still out……..Shipley not as good as previous Center…….Boone, days are behind him……Veldheer, no comment………Wetzel is actually a pretty decent Guard but what do I know? He blows more guys off the ball than anybody else we have. Gresham couldn’t block a Lego. Niklas is a decent blocker but needs to grow a pair. Palmer needs more protection…duh! Ellington needs to quit running out of bounds not to mention his vision blows, brain is too slow for his feet……Chris Johnson, average…….Kerwynn Williams should be the starter but probably is not due to pass protection……..Penny should get more playing time……Fitz…..stud…….John Brown……useless……..Jaron Brown…..average/tough……JJ Nelson……one trick pony but does surprise me sometimes……..Willams WR…….may have some more ability to break tackles at WR than who we currently have…..kicker, not too impress……punter, better than average……….defense……..Nkdeepthroatwatergate or whatever his name is is a bust and I don’t mean HOF material. Budda looks good, Reddick looks good, Peterson good……..really can’t complain too much about the defense other than Justin Bethel. We need to get rid of this guy, fooled the coaching staff way too long.

  8. By mitchaz on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    Pre-Game Analysis & Questions: AZ vs, SF

    1. Defending Kyle Shanahan’s Offense

    Last November, Kyle Shanahan’s Falcons picked apart the Cardinals defense with RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman rushing for 3 TDs and speedy WR Taylor Gabriel scoring 2 TDs off WR screen passes (35 and 25 yards).

    In SF, Shanahan obviuously does not have Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman…however, in those roles he has Brian Hoyer, Pierre Garcon, Marquis Goodwin, Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida. He also has one of the most talented and versatile fullbacks in the game in Kyle Juszczyk. At first glance it might appear to be a significant talent drop-off from the offensive personnel in Atlanta. However, in watching the 49ers’ offense click against the Rams last Thursday night, after a shaky start, Hoyer threw darts left and right (23/35, 322 2-1 TD/int), Garcon (7/142) played like a man possessed, Goodwin (2/62) flashed his all-world speed, Hyde and Breida combined for 124 all-purpose yards. FB Juszczyk added 1 catch for 34 yards. Hyde and Hoyer scored a combined 3 rushing TDs and quick rookie slot WR Trent Taylor and backup TE Garrett Celek caught TD passes of 3 and 1 yards respectively. In the red zone, Shanahan loves to beat you off play action. Watch the FB sneaking into the flat.

    For the Cardinals, it would appear that Patrick Peterson will need to shadow Garcon. That means that Justin Bethel will have to play very fast and fluidly versus speed WR Goodwin. Hopefully Bethel can get some safety help over the top. All Cardinals’ DBs and LBs need to expect a number of quick WR screens to Goodwin and Taylor and play action passes to rookie TE George Kittle, FB Juszczyk and the RB tandem of Hyde and Breida. Hyde is playing faster this year and can bounce runs outside in the red zone. Breida is quick to the hole. Knowing how weak the Cardinals have been in keeping contain and covering mis-direction passes, one would expect Shanahan to run some bootlegs, waggles and sprint outs with Hoyer. Hoyer is not quite as quick footed as Dak Prescott, but he’s no slouch when it comes to using his feet to buy time and space.

    One of the major keys to the game is how well the Cardinals can adjust to play action and the screens…as well as how much pressure they can put on Hoyer. The 49ers have two good tackles in Joe Staley and Trent Brown. Chandler Jones and Markus Golden will have to be at their best. What the Cardinals desperately need this week is a pass rush up the middle. That’s where the $9ers’ line is most vulnerable.

    The question is: will Shanahan’s offense have as much success versus the Cardinals as his offense did with the Falcons last year? Shanahan knows the Cardinals defense and its vulnerabilities very well.

    2. Attacking the 49ers’ Defense

    Just as Kyle Shanahan is very familiar with the Cardinals’ defense, first year DC Robert Saleh was the defensive quality control assistant for the Seahawks for a few years before heading to the Jaguars as LB coach for Gus Bradley, and thus Saleh will be familiar with the Cardinals’ offense and its tendencies.

    One of the musts for the Cardinals in this game is to do a much better job establishing the running game. The 49ers are 23rd in the league in rush defense thus far…which is somewhat surprising in that Saleh has 3 first round DL up front (DE Arik Armstead, DT DeForest Buckner and DE Solomon Thomas). However, MLB NaVorro Bowman and OLBers Eli Harold and Ray Ray Armstrong (in for injured rookie 1st round pick Reuben Foster) have struggled thus far. The Cardinals’ offensive line has struggled mightily in opening up holes, which could well be the case again this week. If so, it will allow the 49ers to do what the Cowboys did…tee off after QB Carson Palmer. Clearly, after watching DeMarcus Lawrence dominate RT Jared Veldheer, LDE Arik Amstead must be licking his chops. Same for the best pass rusher, DT DeForest Buckner who is likely very confident of his chances versus the trio of Iupati, Shipley and Boehm. RDE Solomon Thomas is getting his first start in place of injured DE Tank Carradine. Solomon will be matched up with John Wetzel (bicep) or D.J. Humphries (ankle).

    It wouldn’t be a surprise at all if Saleh employs his own 3 man rush (Amstead—Buckner—Thomas) in favor of dropping 8 men into coverage. The whole nation saw how badly the Cardinals struggled with it versus the Cowboys. And Bucker is capable of blowing up the middle all on his own.

    On the back end the 49ers have speed, but not a lot of polish. Their safeties (Jimmy Ward, Eric Reid and Jaquisky Tartt) are aggressive and physical. The CBs (Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson) have speed and flexibility, but are not as yet particularly nuanced.

    if the Cardinals can get some push in the running game, then they can hit pay dirt on their play action passes. If not, they will have to find a way to crack 8 man coverages. Carson Palmer may have to run from the pocket a few times to keep the defense honest. Whenever a defense rushes three, the QB scramble is a concern…but not so much if the 49ers play 5 under 3 deep zones. Still, Palmer may have to do whatever he can to move the chains.

    BA’s reaction to the pass blocking woes on MNF was to “block better.” And it has not been in BA’s m.o. to change what he does, but with a banged up and unconfident offensive line, BA will need to make some adjustments, somehow, some way. Right?

    The question is…will the Cardinals be able to establish a running game this week so as to create a balanced attack and so as to avoid 8 man coverages? Plus, in clear passing situations, will BA provide added pass pro help this week?

    3. Quality Special Teams Play

    On paper, after 3 games, the 49ers hold a distinct advantage on STs.

    K AZ-Dawson (5/8 FG, 5/5 XP)
    K SF-Gould (6/6 FG, 3/4 XP)

    P AZ-Lee (45.8 ave., 38.2 net)
    P SF-Pinion (42.5 ave., 42.0 net)

    KR AZ-Williams (20.2 ave.)
    KR SF-Bolden (21.4 ave.)

    PR AZ-Williams (3.0 ave.)
    PR SF-Taylor (11.3 ave.)

    One would think that Phil Dawson and Andy Lee will be extra amped to play well versus their former team. Thus far, Dawson has missed a FG in each of the 3 games, while Gould has made all 6 of his. Lee has outdistanced Pinion, but Pinion has gotten better hang time and a laudable 42.0 net.

    Rookie Trent Taylor has nifty feet, as evidence by his 58 yards in 5 punt returns. Meanwhile the Cardinals’ combo of Williams and Peterson has produced a mere 3.0 average even though opposing punters are booming 50+ yards seemingly each punt…which normally would outkick the coverage, but Williams has let a number of punts bounce and he’s fair caught a few punt that normally would be and should be returned.

    The question is—will the Cardinals’ STs woes continued to cost the team valuable momentum and a better chance to win? Will the 49ers keep flipping the field on the Cardinals the way the Cowboys did ad nauseum in the second half on MNF?

  9. By clssylssy on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    It sounds as if we could be getting some of our players back to the 0-line. Does this mean that Veldeer might get to go back to the position he has played his entire careers and is more effective at or he he too beat up now and demoralized that at this point it will not make a difference. Either way, I am skeptical at how effective these linemen who have been injured and have been fragile in practice will be against an EXTREMELY young and physical 49er front seven,
    I think our front office needs to do some serious re-evaluation of our depleted ranks and rather than trying repeated DIY makeovers with any warm body laying around, it may be time to break out the wallet and do what other teams have been doing, to bring in players and possibly give some of these guys injjury settlements. The longer we try to get by with a patchwork roster of the injured and players being asked to pick up new skillsets that they are unfamiliar with, the weaker we will be and the more risk there will be for the guys remaining for injury.
    I think Carson showed he still is one tough cookie, who still has it and can make good throws under fire; I really worry that anybody could withstand the pounding for a complete season that he is being asked to do. It;s going to take a willingness on the part of BA to be a little more flexible and adapt what we have to our opponents. This week I would use Blaine Gabbard who is a more mobile QB and also go to the no huddle, which he has done a few times in the past (with Patrick P as QB, I recall?). I would change the run plays from those designed around David Johnson and play to Chris and Andre’s strengths, bringing in Penny as a closer (and someone they wouldn’t be expecting or have a lot of film on).
    I like John Brown but really have to question whether he is ever going to be aable to be the guy we saw his rookie year but rather a good guy to put in for special plays (if he’s not too rusty); I have to wonder if he shouldn’t have been on the PUP list or given a settlement.
    This game is going to be MAJOR in determining our fate going forward as the 9ers are holding the bottom place in the division currently, a place we could find ourselves after this weekend. Going back months now, I have believed that SK was not concerned with the Cards immediate success but had his own “three year plan” agenda, which seems to be bearing out my assessment. Seeing how much the FO has not been willing to effect any positive changes in personnel, I have to wonder if this is why Larry and Carson were considering retirement at the end of last season. Perhaps they didn’t believe the sacrifice of their health was worth the risk and only changed their minds for the love of the game and our fans.
    I understand that some of our players were upset Monday night but hopefully we can put our emotions aside and not get played by the evil and dangerous sentiments that, in reality, have been around since the Europeans stepped foot in this country.

  10. By Scott H on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    mitchaz –

    Who DOESN’T hold a distinct advantage over us on ST’s???

    The injury to Logan was quite unfortunate. And, of course, we have NO ONE else capable of offering anything in the return game. Kerwyn Williams? Please. He offers nothing.

    And after a career of rock solid consistency, Phil Dawson has picked NOW to go in the tank.

    The result is continued poor performance from the ST’s. And that will continue to kill this team because neither the offense or defense looks able to carry this team.

  11. By carlsonchemist on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    Greetings Cardinals Fans (and Darren)!

    I’d really like somebody to enlighten me as to how a three-man rush can EVER result in a quarterback sack? The o-line has 5 men to defend against 3 pass rushers (and that doesn’t even take into consideration that a tight-end and/or a running back might also have duties to block) and I’m left scratching my head as to how Carson is getting hurried, let alone sacked!

    I know that talent might be suggested as the reason, but I find it hard to believe that there can be such a monumental difference in talent. At the end of the day, they’re all paid professionals and to quote Ron Wolf, “These are the best players that our species can generate.”

  12. By carlsonchemist on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    Hi clssylssy,

    The thought of substituting Blaine Gabbert for Carson Palmer actually crossed my mind too! With as horrible as our offensive line is (and how unlikely it’s performance can be expected to improve dramatically in the near future), I was just thinking of what changes could we make to improve our chances to win ball games. I wondered if a more athletic, and mobile, quarterback might be a band-aid to compensate for the shameful performance of the offensive line.

    If the o-line continues to allow a 3-man rush to sack our QB, then something has to change. I’m in favor of blowing up the o-line, but that’s not gonna happen now that we’re well into the season. Unfortunately, they’re here to stay. Having said that, the only other alternative I can visualize to use a QB that can scramble.

    To even think of this is shameful. Benching a superior QB for one only because he can scramble is a move of desperation. And I don’t mean any disrespect to Gabbert as I believe he has the potential to develop into a very good QB in our system, but Carson has the greater familiarity with the receivers and 14 years of experience and QB savvy…not to mention that he’s tough as nails and is a great leader.

    Carson doesn’t deserve to be benched, but I can’t help wonder if it’s the o-line that might force the issue. Shame on them.

  13. By clssylssy on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    I don’t think of it as”benching” Carson (negative implication) but rather being more creative & using our strengths more fully to match our opponents. I think &this 49er team is just to young, fast & physical for the offense BA has been running for a decade. Perhaps some unexpected new moves might be in order and after all Gabbert did a pretty good job playing against us in 49er uniform.
    As for our run game, we can use Penny for our road grader with Chris & Ellington in other ways when they can get separation. Mainly we have to get more creative and we have to be able to depend on our defense getting pressure the full sixty.

  14. By Jo Ball on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply


    Unless you plan on having Gabbert run on every play… it’ just isn’t going to happen. Remember that one of the biggest flaws on Gabbert is that he panics when being rushed. He loses his technique and footwork. Of course, most QBs don’t do as well under being constantly pressured, but this is especially the case for Gabbert. Can you imagine behind that line? Turnover galore. Until the Oline is fixed … QB doesn’t matter. There is no need to rattle the confidence of Gabbert as of right now. If it’s near the end of the season, and you’re alredy out of playoff contention.. then sure. If you’re trying to win THIS season, Palmer is the only QB on the roster who gives you a chance. You only play Gabbert this season for evaluation purposes. Play him and find out what you have. But Bruce won’t do that either with his “we play to win, no matter the situation” mentality. He’ll just use half of next season to evaluate these guys instead of the offseason and the preseason. Hopefully, he’s not here by then.

  15. By Dr. G. on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    The Cards can get this thing back on track with a good unpredictable scheme and starting a fire under the players. Let’s not see any more “”which way didy go?”” stuff. Keep Palmer verticle ’till we get one with some mobility.

    And……regardless what the 9ers do pre-game, let’s just honor the ceremonies and go out and play the &#$%*×#! GAME. …ignore the multitudes of race baiters including the portion of the aggravating media who participate with exaggeration.

    I just want to see some 🏈 Football…that’s it… Go Cards!!

  16. By dkerry5242 on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    Iupati has been hurt so much he now has become a liability. Hopefully Humphries can stay healthy and prove he deserves to be the starting left tackle.
    Denver is proof that any running back can be successful if you have a strong offensive line.
    Smoke and mirrors will be the only recipe for a winning season for the Cards this season.

  17. By Kevin S Mesa on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    I understand people trying to be creative, but please, folks, Gabbert isn’t happening.

  18. By mitchaz on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    John H—

    Can’t argue with anything you said. Good points.

    The maddening thing is the OL, CB2 and STs stigmas are a carryover from year to year. Not to mention the yearly QBOF deferral.

    As Langston Hughes wrote, “What happens to a dream deferred?”

  19. By Scott H on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    Veldheer and Iupati were great acquisitions at the time they were made. And we had a period where they were still good enough that they gave a great left side of the o-line. Obviously, Keim was thinking that was going to last….forever? In-definitely?

    No, it doesn’t work that way. We tried to ride this train too long. Iupati seems to be breaking down and the decision to move Veldheer to the right side seems ill-advised. He may be breaking down, too, at this point but with him playing out of position….how do we even know?

    What we know is that this group just isn’t working out.

    The aforementioned guys appear to be breaking down. Shipley has never been good enough. Wetzel is not a starter. And Humphries……well, when he actually plays, we’ll see.

  20. By Shooter28 on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    This weekend with several offensive starters coming back, including two of our best starting offensive linemen in LT DJ Humphries & LG Mike Iupati, both of whom are very, very good, the offensive line play is going to be a lot better this week against a weakish outside SF Pass-Rush. Shipley is a good solid Center and young Evan Boehm has a very, very bright future but is learning on the job, he looks excellent outside of 2-3 mental error plays per game which need to stop but I think he will be good. Veldheer has been a top 10 caliber OT for sooo long playing at LT that in my head with how prideful he is I think he will get his issues worked out and play a lot better this weekend but if he doesn’t then Arizona needs to plug in big mauler 6″7/330pd John Wetzel in as the starting RT after Wetzel dominated at LT over the last 2 weeks ranking 4th in wk2 & 8th in wk3 of 80 OT’s ranked.
    This weekend I think Veldheer will start turning his play around and playing quality football as a RT, with Arians possibly leaving a TE in with him to help him at times. The rest of the line should be very good with the starters back. Overall I think the O-Line will give Palmer league avg to above league avg line play which is more than enough for him to absolutely RIP PICK APART the 49ers terrible secondary, especially with both burners fully healthy and at his disposal in John Brown and JJ Nelson who will be almost uncover able versus SF. With the offense actually healthy and Palmer getting all his starters back I expect for him to DROP DIMES again Sunday.

  21. By patrick bailey on Sep 28, 2017 | Reply

    Turn out the lights , the party’s over…….

  22. By Ken Foust on Sep 29, 2017 | Reply

    The O line is not going to help – The Stone Mope (Palmer) is sooooooo slow the great wall of china could not protect him. Ancient Arians needs to understand the NFL is now mobile. Play Gabbert or fail!!

  23. By Coach K on Sep 29, 2017 | Reply

    Just look at the photo of Shipley above. Any long armed defender would be licking his chops to swim over the fire plug.

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