Another game, another lineman down, which has been the overriding story of the Cardinals 2022 season.

The latest was right guard Will Hernandez, who lasted nine snaps (14 percent) Sunday against Seattle and was replaced by rookie Lecitus Smith.

Perhaps many of you might be weary of reading about it, but the reality is that constant shuffling and personnel changes on the line makes it nearly impossible to achieve a level of consistency to compete in the NFL.

Look no further than the Rams who started their fifth right guard of the season Sunday against Tampa Bay and managed 206 total yards (137 without a 69-yard touchdown by Cooper Kupp) and had eight three-and-outs. It was the seventh different line combination in eight games for the defending Super Bowl champs, who will host the Rams next Sunday.

With coach Kliff Kingsbury essentially ruling Hernandez out for Sunday’s game against the Rams, the Cardinals will enter it with their sixth different line combination of the season.

Kingsbury acknowledged the difficulty of game-planning, while being cognizant of the moving pieces there have been on the line almost on a weekly basis.

He said, “It’s been unfortunate that we’ve had so many injuries this year on that inside piece. Particularly, with guys coming in that weren’t with us in camp, guys that we signed either off different practice squads or traded for, trying to pick it up mid-season similar to Robbie (Anderson) and then go out there and execute at a high level. I think they’ve battled so far and held up well enough to have us in games. We’ve just got to clean it up and execute at a higher level consistently throughout the game.”

The latter is more a wish than a plan because lines have to operate as a unit to have any hope of being consistent, especially in critical situations.

Of course, that won’t stop the calls for Kingsbury to be fired, as if he can wave a magic wand to create a competent and stable group to run block and protect quarterback Kyler Murray.

After Sunday’s game, this is an update of the snap counts and percentages for the line in the 658 snaps this season: Kelvin Beachum, 650/98.8%; Hernandez, 578/87.8; D.J. Humphries, 575/87.4; Rodney Hudson, 303/46.1; Justin Pugh, 263/40.0; Sean Harlow, 223/33.9; Billy Price, 207/31.5; Cody Ford, 194/29.5; Max Garcia, 144/21.9; Josh Jones, 93/14.1; Smith, 62/9.4.

If Garcia is able to return from a shoulder injury that had him inactive for the last two games, he’s a possibility to be the right guard against the Rams.

At center, Kingsbury said he expects Price to continue being the starter, but also added, “We’ll see how practice goes this week. Sean has played for us as well at that position and we’ll kind of see where it goes throughout the week.”

Snap shots

Wide receiver Robbie Anderson’s true debut didn’t go well. After playing 19 snaps in two games, Anderson played 52 (83%) against Seattle but had one reception in three targets for minus-4 yards, dropped one pass and also had one of the team’s five false starts. Meanwhile, A.J. Green played one snap and Greg Dortch five. … Running back James Conner was back after missing three games because of injured ribs and played 45 snaps (71%). Eno Benjamin played only 17 (27%). Conner rushed seven times for 45 yards and caught five passes for 19 yards.

Cornerback Trayvon Mullen Jr. played two snaps on defense as did defensive lineman Manny Jones in his NFL debut. … Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, signed to the roster last week, did not play on defense, but participated in 12 (44%) special-teams snaps.

Charting the snaps (snaps/percentage; starters in bold)

*Indicates player that did not play from scrimmage, but participated on special teams

OFFENSE (63 snaps, 19 players)

Quarterbacks: Kyler Murray (63/100)

Did not play: Colt McCoy. Inactive: Trace McSorley

Running backs: James Conner (45/71), Eno Benjamin (17/27),Keaontay Ingram (1/2)

Reserve/injured: Jonathan Ward (eligible to return), Darrel Williams (eligible to return)

Wide receivers: DeAndre Hopkins (59/94), Rondale Moore (57/90), Robbie Anderson (52/83), Greg Dortch (5/8), A.J. Green (1/2)

Reserve/injured: Marquise Brown (eligible to return), Antoine Wesley

Tight ends: Zach Ertz (61/97), Trey McBride (13/21), Stephen Anderson (3/5)

Offensive linemen: LT D.J. Humphries (63/100, LG Cody Ford (63/100), C Billy Price (63/100), RG Will Hernandez (9/14), RT Kelvin Beachum (63/100), G Lecitus Smith (54/86), T Josh Jones (1/2)

Did not play: C *Sean Harlow. Inactive: C Rodney Hudson (injured), G Max Garcia (injured). Reserve/injured: LG Justin Pugh (eligible to return), T Josh Miles, G Marquis Hayes

DEFENSE (73 snaps, 22 players)

Defensive linemen: DE Zach Allen (56/77), DE J.J. Watt (56/77), DT Leki Fotu (37/51), DE Jonathan Ledbetter (24/33), DE Michael Dogbe (14/19), Manny Jones (2/3)

Inactive: Trysten Hill. Reserve/injured: NT Rashard Lawrence (eligible to return)

Linebackers: ILB Zaven Collins (71/97), ILB Isaiah Simmons (59/81), OLB Markus Golden (48/66), ILB Ben Niemann (34/47), ILB Tanner Vallejo (27/37), OLB Victor Dimukeje (25/34), OLB Myjai Sanders (21/29), OLB Cameron Thomas (17/23), OLB Jesse Luketa (10/14), ILB Ezekiel Turner (3/4)

Did not play: *ILB Kamu Grugier-Hill. Inactive: OLB Dennis Gardeck (injured). Reserve/injured ILB Nick Vigil (eligible to return)

Defensive backs: CB Byron Murphy Jr. (73/100), S Budda Baker (72/99), S Jalen Thompson (72/99), CB Marco Wilson (61/84), CB Antonio Hamilton (19/26), CB Trayvon Mullen Jr. (2/3)

Did not play: S *Chris Banjo. Inactive: CB Christian Matthew (injured)

Reserve/injured: S Charles Washington (eligible to return)

SPECIAL TEAMS (27 snaps, 31 players)

LB Tanner Vallejo (24/89), LB Ezekiel Turner (23/85), S Chris Banjo (23/85), CB Antonio Hamilton (23/85), TE Stephen Anderson (21/78), TE Trey McBride (19/70), LB Victor Dimukeje (19/70), WR/RS Greg Dortch (15/56), LB Ben Niemann (13/48), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (12/44), P Andy Lee (9/33), LS Aaron Brewer (9/33), DT Leki Fotu (9/33), RB Keaontay Ingram (8/30), LB Jesse Luketa (8/30), K Matt Prater (7/26), CB Marco Wilson (7/26), CB Trayvon Mullen Jr. (7/26), DE Zach Allen (6/22), DL Manny Jones (5/19), LB Zaven Collins (5/19), LB Cameron Thomas (4/15), T Kelvin Beachum (3/11), G Cody Ford (3/11), T Josh Jones (3/11), C Sean Harlow (3/11), G Lecitus Smith (3/11), RB Eno Benjamin (2/7), DE Jonathan Ledbetter (1/4), S Budda Baker (1/4), CB Byron Murphy Jr. (1/4)

Inactive: P Nolan Cooney

Don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions on Twitter @hbalzer721 or email me:


Howard Balzer is in his 47th year covering professional football as a writer, editor and broadcaster and has covered 41 Super Bowls. His connection with pro football began in 1976 with College and Pro Football Newsweekly, and since then he has been a featured columnist for The Sporting News, Pro Football Weekly, USA Today Sports Weekly and The Sports Xchange. Balzer moved to St. Louis in 1978 to work for The Sporting News, where he became Pro Football Editor in 1979. He was an analyst on ESPN's initial broadcast of the NFL Draft in 1980 and continued in that role through 1988. He has won seven writing awards in the Professional Football Writers of America competition, won an Emmy for commentaries on KPLR-TV in St. Louis in 1986 and was nominated for an Emmy in 1988 and 1990. He was named the 2016 winner of the Bob Broeg Media Award presented by the St. Louis/Tom Lombardo Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. The award is for enthusiasm, integrity, professionalism and devotion to the game of football and is reserved for individuals whose contributions to football in the St. Louis area have made a significant difference. Balzer was an officer (secretary and secretary/treasurer) for the Professional Football Writers of America for 33 years and was inducted into the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. Balzer relocated to the Phoenix area in 2020 as the publisher of the FanNation AllCardinals site and is now the Cardinals reporter for PHNX. He is entering his 19th year as one of 49 voting members on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is also on the Hall's Seniors Committee. He is the co-host of the weekly Pro Football Hall of Fame radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio and is a part-time host at ArizonaSports 98.7 FM.