Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals Preview: Key Matchups

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Dec 8, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy (30) scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter under pressure from Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 30-10. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Williams vs. Interior Offensive Line

Although the Cardinal’s interior offensive line isn’t among the best in the league, former Arizona Cardinal Dan Williams will be put to the test against his old team for the first time in his career.

After Williams left Arizona via free agency earlier this offseason, the Oakland Raiders jumped on the opportunity to add the 28-year-old defensive tackle. Williams signed a four-year $25 million contract with Oakland in March 2015.

The former Tennessee Volunteer did have some successful years early in his career with Arizona, but he looks to have developed heavily over this offseason, and as a result, his play on the field looks to have improved during his first two preseason games with the Silver and Black.

Williams has been a menace in the middle of Oakland’s defense, as he has dominated at the point of attack. He has proven that he can create separation with his initial punch off the line consistently, which allows him to get his eyes into the backfield and rip by the linemen in front of him to make a play on the ball carrier.

Although Arizona’s offensive line has some talented players at the tackle position, their interior offensive line simply hasn’t proven that they can have success in the NFL. Former 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Cooper has struggled on the field in 2014, as he started in just two games after missing his entire rookie season with a broken leg. Opposite of Cooper at the left guard position was supposed to be Pro Bowl offensive linemen Mike Iupati, as he signed a five-year, $40 million contract with Arizona earlier this offseason, but he has been sidelined for at least the next month with a knee injury.

According to ProFootballFocus, Arizona’s offensive line ranked 24th overall during the 2014 season.

I expect Williams to take advantage of Arizona’s poor offensive line, as he is in a position to have quite the performance against the team that let him walk after a solid 2014 season.

Next: Key Matchups: Amari Cooper Vs. Patrick Peterson