The Jaguars travel to the desert this weekend to take on the Arizona Cardinals, who are struggling to take flight at this point in the season. The Cardinals have been decimated by injuries. They've let age catch up to them in a big way. And, quite frankly, they allowed some holes on their team to go unaddressed this offseason.
One of the holes is the offensive line. The Cardinals offensive line is one of the worst in football. While they've stayed relatively healthy in that area, the level of play has been far from ideal. Not one single offensive lineman has graded out positive in pass protection by Pro Football Focus. Not one!
At left tackle the Cardinals had former Florida Gator DJ Humphries, but he went down with a season ending knee injury earlier this month. His replacement, John Wetzel, has been a turn styler at left tackle so far. At left guard the Cardinals deploy Alex Boone, who has started for a long time in the NFL, but he is struggling to protect the passer and to create running lanes. At center the Cardinals have AQ Shipley, who is the only offensive lineman for the red birds that grades anywhere close to positive in pass protection. His PFF pass blocking grade of 70/100 is the highest of any Cardinals offensive lineman. At right guard the Cards start Earl Watford, a player signed and released by the Jaguars this offseason. A player who couldn't make the Jaguars 53 man roster is starting for the Cardinals - that should tell you all you need to know about their struggles at right guard. At right tackle, Jared Veldheer has had trouble holding up in both pass pro and run blocking situations.
Needless to say, the Cardinals offensive line is struggling - especially with keeping their QB upright. The Cardinals first and second string QBs are both injured, which leaves Blaine freaking Gabbert to start against the Jaguars on Sunday. He'll make his second straight start and we know from his days in Jacksonville that he'll wilt under pressure.
The Jaguars vaunted Sacksonville defense should be able to get after the Cardinals in clear passing situations without blitzing. Leading the NFL in sacks (40) the Jaguars have been fantastic with their four man rush this year. Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue are dominating off the edge while Dante Fowler has had his fair share of success getting to the passer this year too. In the middle Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus, and Abry Jones are all skilled big men that know how to stuff the run and get after the QB.
The Cardinals have allowed 28 sacks in 2017 - the 11th most in football. They should be one of the easiest matchups that the Jaguars front line will face all year. Adrian Peterson still provides a threat as a runner, but as long as the Jaguars defense can hold him in check it seems unlikely that the Cardinals will be able to do anything on offense to slow down the Jaguars pass rush. This could be a sack party for the Jaguars in the desert.
What do you think? Will the Jaguars have another big day getting after the QB?