Arizona Cardinals: Return to an NFL-style offense for 2023 is refreshing

Between 2019 and 2022, the Arizona Cardinals offense looked like something you would see on a Saturday, not a Sunday or the occasional prime time slot.
Jul 27, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray watches practice during
Jul 27, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray watches practice during / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

The no-huddle, shotgun formation that operated primarily out of the spread is something reminiscent of my old high school football team’s offense from back in the day. And it’s also something you would expect to see from a Big 12 offense on a Saturday, as opposed to something a professional football team would run, but the Arizona Cardinals ran it anyway. And as with most college coaches, Kliff Kingsbury thought the offense would work in the NFL.

Not that some aspects of such offenses shouldn’t graduate to the professional game, but you get the gist - it was a poor idea from the start. So forgive me when I say that I’m glad current head coach Jonathan Gannon and his offensive coordinator Drew Petzing will be elevating the Cardinals offense back to something you would expect to see on an NFL field.

Arizona Cardinals offense finally looks like a professional unit

Now, will we still see the shotgun formation, no-huddle, and the occasional “Air Raid?” Absolutely. Because pro-style offenses tend to implement a variety of different looks - that’s called not being one-dimensional, something we rarely saw under Kingsbury.

Here is what the offense is most likely going to look like, if I had to make a projection right now: The Cardinals are going to line up under center often and run the ball often, over 50% of the time. I think we can draw that conclusion thanks to the offense Petzing just came from, the personnel that the Cardinals have, especially at the offensive line, and the overall strengths of their respective quarterbacks, including Kyler Murray. 

There are no guarantees that this system will work, but if it does, then the Cards could find themselves winning the time-of-possession game more often than not. And for a young roster that also has its fair share of cast-offs, that alone could keep them in more games than you may believe this season. 

In short, it’s good to see the Arizona Cardinals getting rid of their gimmicky, college football-like offense that, at best, stagnated under Kingsbury. This offense might not produce as many splash plays, but it will at least give a team with a weaker roster like the Redbirds a better chance to keep the ball out of opponents’ hands and even win more than their projected number of games.


Source: Arizona Cardinals will use a huddle on offense far more than the shotgun by Bob McManaman, AZ Central