Arians: ‘Growth', not opposition, reason for O-line success vs. Falcons
Along with Carson Palmer's interception woes, the trade of offensive tackle Levi Brown, the team's defensive successes and Larry Fitzgerald's down year, the sustained struggles of the offensive line have made headlines throughout the year.
But Sunday versus the Atlanta Falcons, the Cardinals' offensive front seems to have dodged another round of Monday morning criticism. Though allowing three sacks, a closer look reveals that the line protected its quarterback extremely well, as Palmer was hurried just twice and .
In effect, the assumption was that the team's opponent was the biggest factor in the anomalous showing Sunday. The Falcons brought one of the NFC's worst defenses to University of Phoenix Stadium, according to points per game and sacks metrics. Headed into the contest, they had recorded just 14 sacks through their first seven games.
But head coach Bruce Arians believes it was the line's performance, not the Falcons' lack thereof, that deserves the credit for the improvement.
"I think it was a lot of growth," Arians explained Monday while a guest with The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta.
The coach went on to point out that, while the Falcons' defense as a whole has struggled throughout the season -- suffering injuries along the way, that their defensive linemen and linebackers haven't been among the troubled.
"That's a solid front," Arians said of Atlanta's defensive front.
"You know, that team was picked to win the Super Bowl by a lot of people. They have had some injuries, but they weren't to their linemen. So they're a good front, and they were missing just one linebacker, but I thought it was the best we played up front as a group and the tight ends especially played better."
- Wolf's NFL 5 Star Games - Week 14 - Friday December 6The must-see NFL games of the weekend.
- Wolf's Film Room - Friday December 6Ron Wolfley grinds film all week and shares his findings in the Cardinals-Rams match-up
- John Clayton, ESPN NFL Insider - Friday December 6The Professor provides insight into this week's NFL headlines
- Ron Jaworski, ESPN NFL Analyst - Thursday December 5A recap of the Cardinals game in Philly and what to expect against the Rams.
- Craig Wolfley, Steelers Sideline Analyst - Thursday December 5Will Ben Roethlisberger leave the Steelers?