Cards Red Zone Offense Clearly Needs Attention


Aug 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) passes the ball during the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tough day to be an Arizona Cardinals quarterback when it came to scoring points against the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday.  Carson Palmer 7-15 for 66 yards without a touchdown or an interception.  Drew Stanton went 10-19 for 152 yards, however he threw a bad pick at the five-yard line as the Cards were impressively driving.

Now I will say this, they both still looked better than what transpired on offense last season.  The third quarterback, Ryan Lindley, went 4-6 for 52 yards in the fourth quarter without a touchdown or interception.  They all had their moments on Saturday but it needs attention and quick.

In the first quarter, Palmer had a first and 10 at the Dallas 11-yard line.  However, a running play that gained no yardage on first down, led to two poorly constructed pass plays on second and third downs.  Palmer threw incomplete to running back Alfonso Smith on third down on a short pass play and the Cards had to settle for a field goal.  This was all right after a Dallas turnover.

Again in the first quarter on the next offensive drive, Palmer had first and 10 at the Cowboys 15.  They failed to score after a poor pass to running back Rashard Mendenhall on fourth down.  I had no problem with the Cards going for it.  If there is ever a time to work on those things, it’s in the preseason.  However Palmer never got his feet set and hurried the pass.  Ball turned over back to the Cowboys.

Late in the first half, Stanton was leading the Cards at quarterback.  He started a drive at the 35 and impressively led the team down the field and into scoring position.  It all ended with an overthrow dump off down the middle to running back Stepfan Taylor, leading to the first Cards first preseason turnover at the Cowboys two-yard line.

In the fourth quarter, Lindley wasn’t any better in the red zone.  He got the ball down to the six-yard line.  It was third and six just outside the six and all he could muster was a three-yard dump-off to running back Andre Ellington.  Again, the Cards settled for the field goal.

These are the kind of drives that got the Cards in trouble last season when they actually were able to move the ball.  With as much as the Cowboys moved the ball today, the Cards still out-gained them 365-342.  It is something to build on, however now only two preseason games remain.  The Cards will undoubtedly work on their red zone offense this week.  I expect different results next week against the San Diego Chargers.