The Arizona Cardinals have gone through two left guards through the first three games of the 2017 NFL season, and they will have neither available on Sunday when they host the San Francisco 49ers. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians announced on Friday that Alex Boone will miss a couple weeks with a pectoral injury, and Mike Iupati is going on injured reserve due to a bone spur in his elbow.
Iupati opened the season as the Cardinals starter, shortly after the Cardinals signed Boone. Iupati aggravated his injury in Week 1, and Boone moved into the lineup for Weeks 2 and 3. Boone suffered his injury late in this past week’s Monday Night Football game, and now will sit out this week against the 49ers.
Football Outsiders ranks the Cardinals offensive line No. 20 in pass protection and No. 22 in run blocking. The absence of both guards will not help that unit. Pro Football Focus has the Cardinals allowing a league-leading 61 QB pressure through two weeks. When Boone left last week’s game, Daniel Munyer came on in his place. It seems likely he will start at left guard this week, with Evan Boehm starting at right guard. Add in left tackle D.J. Humphries potentially out with a knee injury, and the Cardinals offensive line faces some serious problems.
The 49ers defensive interior has done good work in getting pressure on the quarterback, but have struggled to close the deal on sacks. These injuries open the door for DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas to get on the board. The 49ers got a lot of pressure against the Seattle Seahawks inept offensive line two weeks ago, so maybe they can do something similar this week against a less mobile quarterback in Carson Palmer.