The Arizona Cardinals franchise could find success with a two-tight end attack in the same way they did during the late 1980s.
Roughly 35 years ago, the Arizona Cardinals franchise could throw the football downfield with the best of them. During the tail end of the organization’s stint in St. Louis, and its inaugural season in the desert, the league’s defensive coordinators shuddered at the thought of facing the Cardinals’ high-flying passing attack.
The Cards also supplied Lomax with a couple of terrific tight ends who were utilized like field-stretching receivers. Jay Novacek, a sixth-round pick of the Redbirds back in 1985, had both deceptive speed and outstanding hands. Robert Awalt, a third-round selection of the team in 1987, was a phenomenal pass-catcher who also had the size and strength to run over would-be tacklers.
Following the departure of Novacek and Awalt, the tight end became a forgotten component of the Cardinals‘ offense for years. No matter who was calling the plays, any individual who was placed at that position made minimal contributions to the squad’s passing game.
Arizona Cardinals are equipt to bring back the two-tight end attack in 2022
Don’t look now, but the utilization of the double-tight end may be on the verge of making a comeback with “Big Red”. A trade pulled off by Cards general manager Steve Keim back in October has put that offensive concept back on the map in the desert.
The addition of Zach Ertz did wonders for Kliff Kingsbury’s scoring attack during the second half of 2021. Despite appearing in just 11 games for the Cardinals, the three-time Pro bowler finished second on the team in receptions (56). Ertz was also targeted a whopping 81 times, which is blatant proof that Kingsbury is more than willing to feature the tight end.
An injury to Arizona’s original starter at the spot, Maxx Williams, was what triggered the deal for Ertz. The 27-year-old Williams was performing well until he tore his ACL against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5. Up until that point, the 6-foot-4, 252-pounder had hauled in 16 passes (on 17 targets) for 193 yards and a touchdown for the Cards during his five starts in 2021.
Both Ertz and Williams are scheduled to hit the free-agent market next month. Keim would have to allocate a significant amount of cash into the tight end position to bring both veterans back into the nest. A possible second coming of the Novacek-Awalt combination that worked so well three and a half decades ago would be well worth the investment.