The Arizona Cardinals had the league’s number one offense in 2015 but through three games this season the unit has struggled
It seemed so easy for the Arizona Cardinals last year. When their offense needed to move the ball, they moved it almost effortlessly. When they needed points, more often than not they were able to score.
Inconsistent best describes the unit so far in 2016. They’ve been excellent, mediocre and terrible, all in three games. It’s been hard to fathom, especially since they’ve returned all the skill position players from last year’s record-setting squad.
There have been mistakes all over the field, from just about every player (receiver Larry Fitzgerald may be the only exception). Play-calling doesn’t seem to be the problem. Execution appears to be the biggest culprit of what is ailing the squad.
Through the first two games quarterback Carson Palmer was playing well. He had no interceptions before imploding for four this past weekend.
Palmer and just about every pass-catcher not named Fitzgerald seem to be on different pages. There also appears to be a slight loss of velocity on his throws. The fact is, he’s been wildly inconsistent since injuring a finger on his throwing hand last December.
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While Fitzgerald and Jaron Brown are off to blazing starts, two of Palmer’s other weapons have struggled. Michael Floyd has dropped passes and doesn’t always seem to have his head in the game he’s playing. This past Sunday, Palmer could be seen scolding the wide receiver after an apparent miscommunication resulted in an interception.
Another weapon of Palmer’s has been pretty much invisible since suffering a training camp concussion. John Brown finally was able to break out last weekend, catching six passes for 70 yards. He also had an exciting 51-yard kick return late in the game.
The offensive line has been up and down. If Evan Mathis can’t stay healthy, they may have to find a better replacement for him than Earl Watford. A.Q.Shipley has also struggled, so it may be time to see if rookie Evan Boehm is up to the task.
At times, running back Andre Ellington has shown to be effective lining up at wide receiver. Up to this point however he’s been buried on the bench. Injecting him into the game plan could provide a much-needed spark to the offense.
It’s much too early for an all-out panic, but head coach Bruce Arians needs to get creative. A few new wrinkles could be just what the doctor ordered. Whatever he comes up with, it needs to be implemented this week before the season gets away from his team.