Arizona Cardinals have zero balance within the offense
The Arizona Cardinals must figure out how to find the balance within their play calling and try to incorporate more running plays in their scheme.
After another disappointing loss, the Arizona Cardinals are 1-2 on the season. The good thing is that it’s still very early in the year and they have a chance to righten the ship. There are improvements and adjustments that need to be made, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Last season, the Cardinals had one of the top offensive units in the NFL as they were tied for eighth in total touchdowns, 11th in points scored, 11th in points per game and were eighth in total offense. Expectations were much higher for this unit entering the season.
They were expected to improve upon last season’s performance with the new the additions such as WR Marquis Brown, rookie TE Trey McBride, RB Darrel Williams, and rookie RB Keontay Ingram. But the coaches appear to be struggling with finding the right balance within the offensive scheme.
It’s noticeable how much the Cardinals pass the ball as opposed to the run, but that’s largely a result of falling behind early which forces them to pass the ball as they play from behind. They have been notorious for their slow starts in each of their three games so far and that has had a negative effect on the game plan.
Slow starts are dooming the Arizona Cardinals offense
During the first game of 2022 against the KC Chiefs, the Cardinals fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter. In their second game they got off to an even worse start as they faced a 20-0 deficit going into halftime but they somehow was able to make a miraculous comeback for their first win of the season.
Last week was the same story as the Arizona Cardinals once again fell behind early to their divisional foe Los Angeles Rams as they were down 10-0 in the 1st quarter. QB Kyler Murray had 58 pass attempts against the Rams. And while he did make a couple of big connections, he only averaged 5.4 yards an attempt.
Kliff Kingsbury must find a way to implement the running game more into his offensive attack in order to keep defenses honest and to make his play calling less predictable. And besides Murray throwing for 314 yards, he had zero TD passes as he set his career highs in attempts and completions.
There has to be a level of concern for Murray dropping back that many times in the pocket (even though the offensive line played exceptionally well against a vaunted Rams defense) and being exposed to the pass rush even with his ability to escape. So why not try to find some balance and put the ball in the hands of the running backs?
Cardinals need to run the ball more with a three-headed attack
Against the Rams the Cardinals RB’s only ran the ball 19 times while accumulating 62 yards. James Conner, Eno Benjamin and Willams are too talented to limit their touches because they all have big play ability and are good inside the red zone.
Putting the ball in the hands of the RB’s (especially early in games) could open things up in the passing game for Murray and company, especially if they have success because opposing defenses must account for both the run and pass. While comparing discrepancies between the numbers, the Cardinals passing totals prove that they are a pass heavy team as they currently rank second in attempts, third in completions, 18th in completion percentage and 12th in passing yards.
While comparing the rushing stats, it’s noticeable just how much the Cardinals play callers favor the pass over the run as the Cardinals are currently 21st in attempts, 17th in yards, and 13th in yards per carry. Maybe adding a few plays for their stable of running backs could be the key to unlocking their success as the Cardinals only have 3 TD’s through the air.
Everyone knows what the Air Raid offense was designed for. But it may prove to be a genius idea to implement more running plays into the game plan.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)