The Arizona Cardinals start the season on a good foot with a win in their last pre-season game. Understandably fans may not be as thrilled as they should be after a win. There are glaring needs and areas of concern leading in to the regular season.
Let’s start with the lack of chemistry and fluidity on the offense. Comparing Carson Palmer to Andrew Luck may be apples to oranges. Regardless, fluidity is a primary descriptor when evaluating a Bruce Arians offense. The system is quarterback friendly hence, a touchdown on Andrew Lucks first NFL throw. Upon completion of the pre-season I saw no major big plays and a lot of confusion and wrong routes ran.
The Cardinals staff are likely to have the expert video crew compile all the plays I’m referring to and have a long study session in order to create a more effective offense. The next issue which defined this pre-season is the loss of Jonathan Cooper. Not much can be said other than that’s part of the roller-coaster ride called an NFL season. He was designated to the IR a few days ago so we won’t see him until next season.
It’s not much as far as solace but the Cardinals are likely to get more talented O-line players next off-season. Add Cooper fresh out of the trainers office and all of a sudden the Cardinals have a “A Rated” line from the “C+” we will use this season. I think fans should have some hesitation when not having a lot of faith in the line. The Cardinals have coaches who can bring the best out of any player (Earl Watford) and a great thing about a team sport is deficiencies can be hidden by play of other positions.
An equally large concern is the achilles heel of Coach Arians scheme which is the tight end position. Utilized as blockers and weapons to make the defense honest in the event they feel they can cheat and ignore their pass integrity, the Cardinals are hurting to provide this aspect of the offense. Rob Housler the “alpha” tight end is nursing a high ankle sprain. The back-up Jeff King is now gone due to a knee injury and the rest of the depth are not good enough to keep the defense from cheating.
The Cardinals started to address this by getting Robert Quinn when he was dropped by the Bengals only to later cut him again. The scouting department is being called on as teams make major cuts and the Cardinals tight end relief may be in the mass of players available after Saturday.
I’ll list a couple of possible “gems” to look for. D.C. Jefferson and whoever else the staff choose to take a flyer on will need to put in extra time with the coaches regarding blocking and attend a make shift receiving camp held by Larry Fitzgerald similar to the one he already held for D.C. Jefferson a few weeks ago.
Possible tight ends available this week include Dorin Dickerson of the Bills, Ryan Otten (Project) of the Jaguars and Ladarius Green of the Chargers (Trade). The Cardinals staff should also keep an eye on the Green Bay Packers tight end situation as Brandon Bostick and Jake Stoneburner may be available due to the extensive depth they obtained.