The Arizona Cardinals are in a slump and they have finally looked like the team most of the NFL universe was expecting them to look like - a group with absolutely no hope in 2023. While the 34-20 final score didn’t look as bad as the 35-16 final from last week, you can argue the Cards played better in Week 4.
Sure, they had a lead in this game, but following Joshua Dobb’s ill-timed interception, the momentum shifted and the Cardinals never had a chance to truly climb back into this one, even if they did draw within four points in the third quarter.
So to prevent a repeat performance in a Week 6 matchup against their NFC West rival, the Los Angeles Rams, what do the Cardinals need to do? Here are three major issues they must improve between now and next Sunday if they want to put themselves into the best position to win.
3 improvements the Arizona Cardinals must make now
1 - Pass protection
Joshua Dobbs had what you could call a bad game, but it’s hard to pin all the blame on him, considering how poorly the Cardinals picked up the Bengals pass rush. Nobody could stop Trey Hendrickson, who racked up 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hits, and the Redbirds aren’t winning anything if they allow elite pass rushers to keep wreaking havoc like that.
Dobbs was also hit eight times, and he rarely had a chance to set his feet and throw a clean pass. Overall, the Cards offensive line put up its worst performance to date in pass protection, and not a single player on the front five looked like an NFL starter when Dobbs dropped back.
The Cardinals either need to run the ball more and pass only when necessary approach, or adopt something more of a three-step dropback and immediately throw, until the line proves it can slow down opposing pass-rushers. If one good thing came out of the situation, it’s that the backs and receivers had running lanes to work with, so this issue involves only pass protection.