Despite their disappointing performance in their second preseason game last week, there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about the 2021 Arizona Cardinals.
Last Friday against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Arizona Cardinals first-team offense stepped onto the field for three series. They lasted nine plays.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray finished 1-for-4 with just two passing yards. Murray was also sacked twice by the Chiefs which was surprising since he was only sacked five times in the first quarter over 16 regular-season games in 2020.
Arizona running backs Chase Edmonds and James Conner combined for three carries and they gained a total of four yards. Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk dropped a surefire third-down conversion off of a clean pass from Murray, his only target of the evening.
Overall, Arizona‘s offense looked like a rendition of the 2018 version of the team. Despite these meager statistics, there is no reason to panic if you’re a Cardinals fan.
Let’s not worry about the 2021 Arizona Cardinals just yet
This is the preseason, so the results of the games don’t count. Plus, Arizona has one of the NFL’s more experienced rosters this year, which is a far cry from what they had just three seasons ago.
The Cardinals, unlike the Jacksonville Jaguars or New York Jets, can throw a smokescreen or two. They can try new things, such as Murray lining up under center, instead of executing an actual game plan other teams will see come September.
During the preseason, coaches will insert different players into their starting lineups. They will hold out star players like DeAndre Hopkins or substantially limit their playing time.
The preseason is a time to see if anything else works in a game situation. Anything different than what we would normally expect Arizona to do.
Despite the meager results from the Cardinals first-team offense against Kansas City, there were highlights. Arizona rookie receiver Rondale Moore once again showed off his ability as a dual-threat player when he recorded a nine-yard gain on one carry and Cardinals running back Eno Benjamin logged 18 yards on three carries, including a 15-yard run that once again turned heads.
Arizona cornerback Byron Murphy had an outstanding interception in the end zone after linebacker Devon Kennard applied pressure on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Speaking of Mahomes, an annual MVP candidate, get also had a bad game as he finished 10-for-18 for 78 yards and a pick. So the Cardinals first-team offense wasn’t the only rust on the field.
Again, it’s preseason. There are position battles going on, new game plans being tried, and even unique packages being inserted. Right now, it’s premature to panic because Arizona’s starting offense did nothing in their first preseason action of the year with a little extended playing time.
If the Cardinals play like this come Weeks 3 and 4 of the regular season, then we can panic. For now though, Arizona only needs to focus on discovering what works, what doesn’t work, and who best serves the team where.