The Arizona Cardinals and coach Kliff Kingsbury were supposed to bring an aggressive, innovative, up-tempo style offense this season. However, the only thing to show for it so far is conservative play calling and field goals
Kliff Kingsbury has been regarding as an “offensive genius”, someone who was going to take the NFL by storm with this style of play. We’ve seen glimpses of it through two games, as the Cardinals currently rank 12th in the NFL in total offense (368 yards/game). A far cry from the offensive output of 2018.
Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray has thrown for 657 yards, becoming only the second QB in NFL history to have 300 yards passing in each of his first two games. He’s also tossed 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He has already proven he belongs in the league.
Despite the offensive production, there is still one area that is very disconcerting for Cardinal fans — not scoring TDs. Three times this past Sunday in Baltimore, the Redbirds were inside the 5-yard line and were forced to boot a field each time after failing to produce six points.
Not taking more chances on fourth down has cost the Cardinals two games this season — they should be 2-0. With his reputation for an attacking-style offense, Kliff Kingsbury has erred on the side of conservatism when dealing with his 4th down decisions.
You play to win ball games, and when you’re on the road in a loud and hostile environment, you take more chances. This team has already shown flashes of what it can be — but without points, it’s all for naught. Kingsbury needs to take more chances on fourth down if he wants to win his first NFL game.
The analytics will tell you it pays off to go for it on fourth and short situations — that’s how you establish a winning mentality. With a bit more aggression and an established run game, the Cardinals can run over opposing defenses.
But if stats and offensive numbers are all you’re after, Kliff, go ahead and keep kicking more field goals. At least Zane Gonzalez will have some job security.