If the Arizona Cardinals are to be successful in 2017 several things need to happen and topping that list is the quarterback play.

Carson Palmer is 37. He’ll turn 38 in December. And while he’s under contract for next season and his head coach believes he can play a handful more years after that, Palmer won’t make it to 2018 or beyond if he endures another season like 2016.

“It’s completely on us,” left tackle D.J. Humphries said, referring to the offensive line.

Palmer was sacked 40 times last season, the most since 2013, his first season with the Cardinals.

Just four other quarterbacks were sacked more: Tyrod Taylor (42), Andy Dalton (41), Andrew Luck (41) and Russell Wilson (41); and Wilson was the only one to lead his team, Seattle, to the playoffs.

In addition, the Cardinals’ offensive line allowed the third-most quarterback hits, 127; that unit’s highest total in at least eight years.

So the message this season is a simple one.

“Either you protect him or I’m not going to protect you,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said this week. “We got to do a better job because we know (Palmer) makes us go. Without him, it’s an uphill battle. With him, the sky’s the limit.”

OK, then how does the offensive line protect Palmer better? Where does it start?

“Keep the same five guys out there, hopefully. Why do you got to ask that? Knock on wood. But that’s the key to it,” Goodwin said.

Injuries hit the offensive line hard last season, perhaps one of the bigger reasons why—that and special teams—the Cardinals went from 13 wins, an NFC West division title and appearance in the conference championship game to seven wins and no postseason appearance.