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Offensive Lines

Kyler Murray

Arizona's line better than you think

Kyler Murray was sacked 48 times last year; exactly 3 per game. So an easy offseason storyline is how Arizona needs to sink a lot of resources into its offensive line to make it better. That will probably be on the list of things to do (the defense also needs a lot of help), but it might not be as dire as all that.

While Arizona did allow 50 sacks (2 against backup Brett Hundley), it allowed just 69 total hits on its quarterbacks (on pass plays). While they were 5th-worst in terms of sacks, they were 6th-best in terms of hits allowed. The variance comes in the fact that Murray and Hundley were taken down on nearly three-quarters of the plays the defense touched them. That was the worst rate in the league by a wide margin.

Team Sacks QB Hits%Sks/Hts
Dallas Cowboys 238726.4%
Los Angeles Rams 227927.8%
New England Patriots 289031.1%
Indianapolis Colts 329533.7%
Kansas City257135.2%
New York Giants 4311936.1%
Los Angeles Chargers 349336.6%
Atlanta Falcons 5013636.8%
Philadelphia Eagles 3710037.0%
Miami Dolphins 5814739.5%
Pittsburgh Steelers 327841.0%
Minnesota Vikings 286841.2%
Green Bay Packers 368542.4%
New Orleans Saints 255843.1%
Seattle Seahawks 4811143.2%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4710644.3%
Buffalo Bills 408746.0%
Detroit Lions 439246.7%
Baltimore Ravens 285947.5%
Denver Broncos 418448.8%
New York Jets 5210649.1%
San Francisco 49ers 367349.3%
Jacksonville Jaguars 428450.0%
Chicago Bears 458652.3%
Houston Texans 499352.7%
Oakland Raiders 295255.8%
Tennessee Titans 569956.6%
Carolina Panthers 5810256.9%
Cincinnati Bengals 488457.1%
Cleveland Browns 416761.2%
Arizona Cardinals 506972.5%

Murray is a smaller guy, of course. It's not realistic to think he's going to be like Ben Roethlisberger or Dak Prescott, getting rid of the ball with defenders hanging off him, trying to drag him down. Prescott last year was sacked just 23 times, half as often as Murray, despite being hit 87 times. His rate of just 26 percent was tops in the league -- opposite end of the spectrum.

Point is that rather than Murray being under siege behind a porous line, it actually did a better than average job of keeping pass rushers from hitting him. And he was a rookie. Similar line play in 2020 and Murray being more accustomed to the speed of the NFL and getting the ball out of his hands quicker, that sack total should go down, maybe by a lot, even if the personnel doesn't change too much.

We know they'll have blindside protector D.J. Humphries back; he signed a new $45 million contract last month. Center A.Q. Shipley is a free agent, but he could return. Guards Justin Pugh and J.R. Sweezy are under contract. Bottom line: Arizona's line might not be headed for an overhaul. Minor changes might be all that occur, or are needed, for Murray to take another step forward in 2020.

--Andy Richardson

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