Arizona Cardinals Sign Veteran Tackle Eric Winston
After finishing the 2012 regular season ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing yards, the Arizona Cardinals knew they had to beef up their offensive front and they did so this week by adding a veteran player.
According to ESPN.com, the Cardinals reached an agreement with 29-year-old tackle Eric Winston on a one-year contract on Thursday.
Winston is a big addition (in more ways than one) to a Cardinals team that struggled to open up running lanes for their slew of underperforming backs last season. Winston didn’t miss a single snap last season at right tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs and played every down in three of his five seasons with the Houston Texans as well. He may not be one of the more highly-touted blockers in the league, but his experience should bolster Arizona’s lackluster line.
The Cardinals also probably liked Winston for his team loyalty. Last year, he made headlines after publicly chastising Chiefs fans who cheered when quarterback Matt Cassel suffered a concussion in a game against the Baltimore Ravens.While he may have ruffled feathers with some fans, he showed he’s a team player and will stick up for his guys.
With Winston and Levi Brown, the Cardinals now have solid veteran tackles at both ends of the starting line, but it’s the middle group that the team will still need to figure out before the season starts. Bobby Massie showed promise in his rookie season last year at tackle, so it’s possible he could be moved to one of the guard positions during preseason.
Though the Cardinals’ offensive line has been criticized for the past few years, the good news for Cardinals fans is that new head coach Bruce Arians is liking what he is seeing from the O-line so far this offseason. He has praised his current group and has continued to defend it from what he considers outdated criticism.
The Cardinals should be a little stronger up front this season, but until we see them on the field, it’s hard to expect them to be among the top rushing/run-blocking teams in the league. There are still a lot of gaps that need filling and with 125/1 odds to win the 2014 Super Bowl – according to Bovada – the Cardinals’ prospects for a big season still aren’t great, especially in what many consider to be the toughest division in the NFL.