Bruce Arians and the Struggles of the Cardinals’ Offense
May 14, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) looks on during organized team activities at the Cardinals Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
This past Tuesday, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians called out the offense by saying “we’re just not picking it up fast enough, still not picking it up like I’d like to.”
Is it the rust being shaken off due to the off-season? Is it the defense dominating like it should? Or is it the offensive line being the offensive line?
Arians called out Larry Fitzgerald for dropping a ball that I’m sure he’d catch a hundred times out of hundred. With the abundance of new wide receivers to the team, I believe that was Arians’ way to see who responds well and who steps up their intensity, finding out who he wants to keep.
The main reason I believe for the calling out of the offense is due to the offensive line. After losing out on signing Max Starks to the San Diego Chargers and getting a first hand look of the line, Arians knows he has to get them to mesh together and fix all the little things. Arians knows that to be able to compete in the NFL, everything starts up front with the line to open up holes for the running game and to give the quarterback enough time to find an open receiver.
The offense was ranked 31st overall with scoring an average 15.6 points per games (31st in the league), 187.8 passing yards per game (28th), and 75.2 rushing yards per game (32nd).
I believe the line can get it done with them playing better at the end of the 2012 season, but how long will it take for them to get all those little fundamentals down? By calling them out, everyone is forced to think about what they need to do and hopefully make them think about what their jobs are so they don’t get called out through the media again.
The offensive line can be good if it gets all those little things together and put their minds to it. The line started to improve before their bye week and after week nine they did a good job holding their own even though they kept losing.
In Week 12 at the New York Jets, Ryan Lindley dropped back 33 times and the line allowed only one sack, one hurry, one hit and they were ranked the #1 line of the week. Bobby Massie was ranked the sixth-highest right tackle for that week also.
The line improved a great amount after Nate Potter was inserted into the lineup. They might not be a group of guys people start talking about, but with the additions of Jonathan Cooper and Earl Watford and the return of Levi Brown, the line should be great. With Carson Palmer running the offense and a deep group of receivers and running backs, the offense should get it together.
Bumps on the road are expected, and Arians’ criticism was a bump in the road for the offense. However, the team has added 46 players since Steve Keim took over at general manager, which is definitely going to lead to some chemistry issues. The revamped offense has lots of potential, and it’s realistic to expect the offense to get it together.
In other words, the Cardinals have nothing to worry about.