DJ Humphries Early Favorite For Left Tackle – AZCardinals.com
The Cardinals are confident they will have two good offensive tackles for 2017, but the way offensive coordinator – and offensive line coach – Harold Goodwin sees it, those tackles will swap roles from the ones they started with last season.
Goodwin said right now, he’d like to see D.J. Humphries move to left tackle permanently and Jared Veldheer – who missed the second half of the season with a torn triceps muscle – move from the left side to the right side.
“Going into the offseason, it’s probably a thing that we may just stick to and see what happens,” Goodwin said on Thursday night’s edition of the “Big Red Rage.”
“Jared is a team player, D.J. is a team player, so I’m sure we’re going to have a little coach-to-player conversation, but right now, throwing it out there of my own accord, I think D.J. at left and Jared at right and we’re rolling and kicking butt.”
Humphries, the team’s No. 1 pick in 2015, had been a left tackle his whole career. But after being inactive his entire rookie season, Humphries was the team’s right tackle last year with Veldheer – the team’s marquee 2014 free-agent signee specifically to fill the void at left tackle — entrenched on the left side.
Veldheer got hurt Oct. 30 in Carolina, eight games into the season. The Cards left Humphries on the right side for a game, and tried John Wetzel as Veldheer’s replacement. The following week, Goodwin went to Humphries.
“I said, ‘D.J., what do you think about left tackle?’ And it was like Christmas,” Goodwin said. “He lit up. I can’t tell you (exactly) what he said, but he basically said, ‘Are you screwing with me?’ I said ‘No.’ He goes, ‘In a heartbeat.’ Just his smoothness, the punch, the feet, everything looked natural.”
Humphries played left tackle until he suffered a concussion in Miami, ending his season with three games remaining.
The day after the season ended, both players addressed the looming question of who would play left tackle. Veldheer admitted he preferred to play on the left side, while Humphries – clearly understanding his place in the packing order – wasn’t quite as direct.
“It was fun,” Humphries said of his time on the left side. “Interesting to see how it plays out from here, though.”
Said Veldheer of a potential move, “It’s something I have thought about, and I will ask around and try and get a feel about that. I will prepare myself for however I need to prepare myself in the offseason.”
Either way, the Cardinals believe they will benefit.
“As far as our starting tackles, we should have two of the best in the league,” Goodwin said.