In week 1, Seattle stuffed the Cardinals in the running game, while Skelton had completed 14 of 28 passes for 149 and a pick. Kolb in limited action had a nice 6/8 66 yards and a score. Wells rushed 7 times for 14 yards. Ry Williams rushed 8 times for 9 yards. If we can agree week 1 was not an aberration for the Seahawks defense, they are currently ranked first overall in total defense, and 3rd against the run. Regardless of bad offensive line play, the Seahawks defense gets the credit here for stuffing the Cardinals. Also let it be known that the rushing yards in this game were so abysmal that it may skew the averages and other rushing numbers used in further total yardage statistics in the next 4 weeks data.
In week 2, New England also fared well against the Cardinals offense, though Kolb was somewhat productive in a short passing game going 15/27 for 140 and a TD, Wells rushed 14 times for 44 yards. Ryan Williams 10 for 13 yards. New England currently ranks 20th in total defense but 8th against the run. Debatable, but I will say that New England's rushing defense against the Cardinals assumably below average offensive line did what it was supposed to do. Again a tough match up for the Cards. And thus through 2 weeks of data, we have yet to see the Cards against a good match up defensively vs. the run and so far our data is based solely on Beanie and Ryan Williams.
In week 3, against the Eagles, Kolb was efficient going 17/24 for 222 and 2 scores. Ryan Williams rushed 13 times for 83 yards, while Wells rushed 8 times for 18 yards. Wells started the game but both backs were alternated every series until they rode the hot hand with Williams throughout the 2nd half. The Eagles rank 8th in total defense, and 12th against the run (97 yards per game and have only allowed 1 rushing TD). It's possible that the Cardinals offensive line isn't all that bad as shown against one of the better defenses in the league in this match up. Just based off of the 3 weeks of data here, it might also be assumed that the offense flowed better with Ryan Williams in the backfield rather than Beanie.
In week 4, Kolb threw 48 passes completing 29 for 324 and 3 TDs. Ryan Williams rushed 13 times for 26 yards and Powell rushed 2 times for 2 yards. Clearly a day in which the rushing game was unnecessary because of the success Kolb had in the air and/or the gameplan heading in. Besides the Cardinals abysmal performance in this game, Miami also leads the league in rushing defense, and ranks 15th in overall defense. Assuming it was part of the game plan, and Kolb had a good performance, it can be assumed it was a combination of the stingy rushing defense of Miami that was a reason for the bad game by Ryan Williams and not necessarily the bad offensive line. Through 4 weeks, we have seen a successful fantasy produced game by Ryan Williams vs. a decent Eagles rushing defense. The other 3 weeks can be summed up bad rushing defensive match ups.
In week 5, Kolb threw 50 passes completing 28 for 289 yards. Ryan Williams rushed 14 times for 33 yards. Powell 1 for 7 yards. The St. Louis Rams rank 14th in overall defense and 18th against the run. This is a game in which you wonder why they didn't have as much success on the ground as the overall numbers would suggest a good match up for Ryan Williams. Out of the 14 rushes that Ryan Williams had, on the opening drive for the Cardinals which featured 18 total plays, 6 of them were Ryan Williams rushes (one called back for a penalty). On the opening drive, Ryan rushed 5 times for 17 yards. Next drive was 4 plays, Ryan rushed once for 4 yards. Next drive after that, 3 plays, one rush by Williams for 4 yards. Next drive, 6 plays, 1 rush by Williams for 5 yards. Next drive 7 plays, 1 rush by Williams for no gain. Next drive on the first play, Powell rushes for 7 yards followed by 6 more passing plays by Kolb. Ryan Williams back in the next drive on the first play hit in the backfield for -4 yards followed by two incompletions by Kolb. Basically from here on out, every drive featured one rush by Williams. Even in a drive which featured 14 straight plays, Williams rushed once for 12 yards and was injured after the play. I could keep diving into the stats here, but clearly the game plan was to pass all over the Rams and it didn't work. The Cardinals did have success running the ball, but in my opinion couldn't establish a rhythm and were not given an opportunity to succeed. I still believe even in this game with skewed numbers on paper, the offensive line was successful here. The game was on Kolb's arm, and he didn't succeed.
NOW WITH ALL THAT BEING SAID.
In week 6 the Buffalo Bills rank 31st in total defense. The Bills rank 30th against the run. The Bills have given up 9 rushing TD's the MOST in the league. After analyzing 5 weeks of data, 3 of which can be attributed to bad rushing defensive match ups, the Cardinals offensive line is probably about league average (not terrible as everyone has been saying), and in my opinion, Powell should have a monster day. BUT - even when the match ups on paper suggested that the teams they were playing had a bad rushing defense, Whisenhunt still chose to let Kolb air it out. Over the last two weeks, he let Kolb throw 48 attempts, and 50 against the Rams. I hope this is not part of the gameplan and not a trust issue of his running backs and/or offensive line. Powell will succeed if Whisenhunt lets him. Otherwise I think we could be looking at a similar line to what Williams did against the Eagles. 13 rushes for 80 yards, with a very very good chance at a rushing TD. However, if the staff lets Powell rush 20 times and get into a rhythm, I'd be willing to bet closer to 120 yards and a couple scores.
Bottom line, the Arizona Cardinals offensive line is not as bad as everyone thinks. This is based on tough rushing defenses and/or the gameplan by Whisenhunt. Please read the entire post before responding with criticism.