TEMPE, Ariz. -- John Wetzel's life just got easier.
With the announcement last week that he’ll replace Jared Veldheer, who was placed on injured reserve with a biceps injury, at left tackle, the journeyman offensive lineman no longer has to worry about learning multiple positions across the Arizona Cardinals' offensive line or stress about when he’s going to play.
He’ll be starting at one position for the rest of the year.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Wetzel said. “[I’ve] been around for a while now. It’s good to finally get in there and start, instead of sitting on the bench for a while.”
Before this season, Wetzel had never played a down in an NFL game. He played in all eight of the Cardinals’ games thus far and started in Week 6 against the New York Jets at left guard. That experience Wetzel said, will come in handy over the final eight weeks of the season.
“I, at least, got the feel for the game, the speed,” he said. “I feel a little bit more comfortable going in there now compared to last time.”
Wetzel will be returning to his natural position.
He played left tackle during his junior season at Boston College but moved to right tackle as a senior. He’s bounced across the offensive line during his time in the NFL, which includes stints with the Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts before he was signed to the Cardinals’ practice squad on Dec. 9, 2015.
By playing just one position, Wetzel said he can focus on improving small, technical facets of his game.
But the Cardinals don’t plan on helping Wetzel much even as he transitions to a full-time role at a position he hasn’t played competitively in five years.
“You help them as much as you can,” coach Bruce Arians said. “But the more you try to help them, the more they don’t get help.
“They just have to do their job and let them know you trust them to do their job.”