Marcus Gilbert: Cardinals O is 'offensive-line friendly'


The 2018 Arizona Cardinals offensive line was an overrun dam, allowing wave after wave to pummel the quarterback.

The Cards' brass targeted improvements this offseason, importing the likes of veterans Marcus Gilbert and J.R. Sweezy to bolster the barrier. Perhaps the biggest boon for the offensive line, however, might be new coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense itself.

"We've been loving it as an offensive line," Gilbert said earlier this week, via the team. "Like I said, this offense is offensive-line friendly, just because you don't know what's going to happen ... what No. 1 (QB Kyler Murray) is going to do with the ball."

The ability of Kingsbury's offense to move at a different pace and get the ball out quickly should aid an offensive line that allowed 52 sacks and 109 QB hits in 2018.

Even early in offseason workouts, Gilbert sees an offense that will keep defenses on their heels with its diverse approach.

"Our offense is all about timing, so we can be in a deep-step throw and the (defensive) guys might think it's a run play," the right tackle said. "But I think that coach Kliff, he does a great job so far seeing that no matter what the down and distance is, he's going to get the ball out. He's going to make sure he has the right call, and the guys are going to feel comfortable."

First-round quarterback Kyler Murray is the game-changer in Kingsbury's offense. The rookie signal-caller's ability to burn a defense with his arm or legs will itself aid the offensive line. Murray's ability to escape pressure should also aid the O-line. Combine Kingsbury's potential tempo with Murray's dynamic gifts, and the Cards have a recipe to give defenses headaches along with helping the offensive line perform better in 2019.

"Because we're going so fast, we can see everything, we can see the field, it's more so the defense trying to get set," Gilbert noted. "Most of the time they can't get set because we're moving so fast. (Murray) is made for this offense and I think we have to do a lot of catching up to make him feel comfortable and do our job as an offensive line and stay out there and protect K1."

Getting better play from the offensive line is key for the Cards to make any strides forward in the first year under Kingsbury. The first-time coach brings an intriguing offense that will be fun to watch from a skill-position standpoint but could be an even greater blessing for the blockers tasked with protecting Murray.