Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information

Earl Watford Start Highlights O-Line Changes

Notes: Boone, Humphries return on left side; Cards need to force turnovers


The Cardinals plan to start Earl Watford at right guard Sunday in place of the struggling Evan Boehm.

Earlier this week, after the trade for running back Adrian Peterson, coach Bruce Arians hinted at changes on the offensive line to help that unit's woes.

Those officially came down Friday, as Arians said Earl Watford will be the new right guard over Evan Boehm, who had started the first five games. Left guard Alex Boone (chest) and left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) both are off the injury report on Friday, meaning they are both ready to resume their spots in the starting lineup.

The one question is right tackle Jared Veldheer, who is dealing with a sore knee and is officially questionable for the game.

With the change at guard, Arians said Boehm was more of a natural center, the position he played in college. He said Boehm was OK at guard, adding he could be better.

"The holding penalties, he got himself in trouble and that's hurt us," Arians said. "Earl came in, he knows the offense.

It's a natural fit. Picked it up even quicker than I thought he would coming back. I still think Boehm will be a hell of a center someday. And now his position flexibility is good for us on Sunday."

Humphries said he thought the chemistry was already good with Boone – with whom he has not yet played with in a game – and with Watford, who just signed last week.

"I didn't forget anything," said Watford, who started at left guard in Philadelphia in place of Boone. "There are little tweaks here and there. More technique-wise, getting back in the groove."

Boehm acknowledged he was disappointed, but he understood the decision.

"One thing I pride myself on is working my ass off every day," Boehm said. "My roles have changed. I'm down to doing anything to help this team win. If that is being on kickoff return and field goal and having packages, OK. But I want to see this team win, and if they think Earl is the best fit for that, Earl is the best fit.

"Is it upsetting and does it hurt? For sure. But whatever I need to do to help this team win, I'm going to do it."

As for Boone and Humphries, "my biggest concern with both those guys is conditioning," Arians said. "They haven't played in a while. We may substitute during the game which we don't normally do. We'll see how it goes."

Humphries said he wasn't worried about being tired – "I'd be tired if I would've played the past five weeks," he said – and added he's been miserable not being able to play, feeling like it was his rookie year all over again when he was inactive all 16 games.

"I don't want to be that guy on the sideline with the stank face because he can't play," Humphries said.


The Cardinals have forced just four turnovers in five games. By comparison, the Cards forced five turnovers against the Buccaneers – Sunday's opponent – when the teams met last season. It's an area in which the Cardinals must improve regardless, but it gains in importance with the struggles of the offense.

"There are fumbles two feet from us that we haven't recovered, there are balls that hits us in the hands or a tipped ball

that falls two yards from us," defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. "Those are 50-50 balls and we haven't won 50 (percent) of them. We just have to keep playing hard."

Asked if the Cards needed to press more in that area, linebacker Chandler Jones said he personally needed to press the issue.

"I feel I'm a player that can cause turnovers, like when I get to the quarterback I need to start going for the ball more," Jones said. "I'm coming from the blindside so the quarterback does not know where I am. I'm always chopping at the ball.

"There is a risk-reward. A lot of times you can get the strip-sack, but you might miss the quarterback because he's feeling you going for the ball. Maybe I can get some turnovers Sunday. Hopefully."


The offensive line is relatively healthy, but the defense had some key players listed as questionable for Sunday. Joining Veldheer (knee) were cornerback Patrick Peterson (quad), linebacker Karlos Dansby (knee) and defensive linemen Robert Nkemdiche (calf) and Corey Peters (knee).

Defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (ankle) was ruled out.

For the Bucs, linebacker Kwon Alexander (hamstring), safety Josh Robinson (concussion), defensive end Ryan Russell (shoulder) and safety Keith Tandy (hip) are all out. Defensive end Robert Ayers (back), linebacker Lavonte David (ankle), center Ali Marpet (illness) and safety T.J. Ward (hip) were all listed as questionable.

Images of key players for this week's opponent, the Buccaneers

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content