3 major moves the Arizona Cardinals must make to keep winning
The Arizona Cardinals took control against a team that caused them nothing but trouble over the past decade, winning it 26-16.
For one wild moment, or one wild half, I thought I’d be writing once again as to why Kliff Kingsbury’s play-calling and clock management was among the league’s worst. Then his Arizona Cardinals came to life, with quarterback Kyler Murray using his legs to create and extend plays. The end result? A big win on the road.
So what jumped out that made the Cardinals win in a Week 4 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, a team they haven’t beaten in quite some time? Here are three moves they made today that must become permanent if they want to keep winning.
Move #1 – Arizona Cardinals must let Kyler move around
While I get that you want to protect your quarterback by all necessary means, Kyler Murray is a dual threat player who excels on the move. From the pocket, his accuracy and decision-making is rather spotty. But when moving around back there, he often finds the open man.
No, such a playing style probably won’t change LeSean McCoy’s mind on Murray. But who cares? If this is what it takes for Murray to win games and look like an elite quarterback, so be it, and let the naysayers hate.
Move #2 – Go with a running back committee
I’ve said it many times already this season: James Conner is not featured back material. He is a great short yardage back who can get you three and a half yards per carry. But that’s his ceiling in the NFL.
Today, we saw Murray get more involved in the running game, racking up 26 yards on 12 carries. But more importantly, Eno Benjamin and Darrel Williams saw five and four carries, respectively. Both averaged 4.8 yards per or better. Get them more involved, and keep it going.
Move #3 – Shut down the run
The Arizona Cardinals defense held running back Christian McCaffrey to just 3.4 yards per carry, forcing quarterback Baker Mayfield into taking a near-one-dimensional route. This led to two interceptions, the first two of the season for the Cardinals, and a dominant defensive performance.
McCaffrey did get his numbers, receptions, and yards, but most of it did not happen until garbage time when the Cardinals, yes, the Cardinals, held a 26-10 lead. Overall, it was a solid performance from the Arizona rushing defense, and the 2-2 Redbirds are in the thick of the early NFC West race.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)