Three reasons the Arizona Cardinals should have moved on from coach
By Sion Fawkes
Misusing offensive players
DeAndre Hopkins was a great pickup. He’s one of the best receivers in football and it makes sense to go to him often. But it seemed like Kingsbury forgot that he had several decent gadget players at receiver. Either that or Murray tried to make it a point to preset his throws to Hopkins.
Aging, Larry Fitzgerald was one of those underused players. And despite his lack of production, he remains a sure-handed possession receiver. But does that explain his 72 targets in 13 games? Fitzgerald’s 75 percent catch percentage was the second-best of his career, behind his 75.2 percent in 2015. With such a high catch percentage, Murray should have targeted the future Hall of Famer more often. And Kingsbury should have made it a point to get him more involved.
Chase Edmonds outplayed Kenyan Drake between weeks 10 and 15. Yet he only saw 40 carries in those games? Edmonds isn’t the best back when featured, but as part of a two-man committee, he dominates.
Here are Edmonds’ yards-per-attempt in those weeks, starting with week 10: 7.00, 6.50, 4.83, 4.67, 4.57, 4.27. He also had 18 receptions on 27 targets, good for a 66 percent catch percentage. You can also tack on two receiving touchdowns.
Yet Drake continued to get the bulk of the carries. And while he had a stellar performance in week 10 averaging 6.25 yards per carry, he had only one other game in that same span where he averaged over 4.0 yards per carry. In the other four games, he averaged 2.64, 3.55, 3.48, and 2.6.
Drake’s upside? He scored a grand total of five touchdowns in that span. But they were primarily short-yardage runs.
Relying far too much on Hopkins and underusing perhaps his most versatile chess piece on offense next to Kyler Murray allowed the Cardinals to get too predictable. On offense, they averaged 29.8 points per game through their first nine contests.
In games 10 through 16, they averaged 20.5 points per game. Defenses figured out Kingsbury’s offense. And Kingsbury not only failed to adjust, he severely misused his players. Leading to the eventual 2-5 record down the stretch.