TEMPE, Ariz. – As Jared Veldheer continues to struggle with his transition to right tackle, there’s little the Arizona Cardinals can do.
Veldheer has given up two sacks, two hits and 15 hurries in his first three games at the new position, according to Pro Football Focus, which he was moved to after last season. Veldheer told ESPN during the offseason that he hadn’t played right tackle since his junior year of high school.
Last season, Veldheer gave up one sack, three hits and 17 hurries. He was one of nine tackles in 2016 to give up one sack or less, and seven of his pressures came during the first three games last year.
But the Cardinals have few options if they wanted to address Veldheer’s rocky start.
“I don’t know where you change to,” coach Bruce Arians said. “What’s behind door number two? A rookie?
“He’s got to do his job.”
The only potential option to replace Veldheer if Arizona chooses to make a change is rookie Will Holden, whom the Cardinals drafted in the fifth round out of Vanderbilt this year. But even he may not be available soon.
Arians said Tuesday if neither of his left tackles, John Wetzel, who suffered a pec injury, or D.J. Humphries, who has missed the last two games with a sprained MCL, can play Sunday against the 49ers, Holden will start.
But Arians won’t rush back any of his injured offensive linemen, especially Humphries or left guard Mike Iupati, who missed the last two games with a triceps injury. Earlier Tuesday, general manager Steve Keim said on a radio interview that there’s a “good chance” that Iupati could “potentially” play Sunday.
“I just want to see them on the field,” Arians said. “I’ll believe it when I see it and all those guys that have missed, I want to see them out there and practice at a very high level before I think they can play in this game.”
With Veldheer continuing as Arizona’s starting right tackle, Arians said the 30-year-old has to improve his technique. When Veldheer abandons his technique, he doesn’t regain it, Arians said.
“It was the same problem he had on the left side, of being bull rushed and not getting his hands on people,” Arians said. “He’s got to get his hands on people. If he gets his hands on people, he’s big and strong and won’t get bull rushed.”
But Veldheer can’t just rely on his size and strength, Arians said.
“No, because you’re going to get technically,” Arians said. “If you let a guy hit you in the chest, I don’t care how big you are, you’re going backwards.”
Quarterback Carson Palmer, who is in his sixth season with Veldheer as a teammate, is confident that Veldheer will “bounce back.”
“I’ve got as much respect and trust in Jared as I’ve had in any offensive lineman I’ve ever played with,” Palmer said.