The Cardinals' offense could not get into a rhythm in their matchup against the New Orleans Saints. It was a sight that brought Cardinals fans flashbacks to the first weeks of the season. There was no flow. The defense had to stay on the field for too long. The Redzone offense seemed to have regressed, forgetting all the progress made over the past three weeks.
The Cardinals could not gain anything on the ground. Chase Edmonds was bottled up and only had seven carries for 8 yards. Wide Reciever, Christian Kirk, was the leading rusher in the game with one carry for 19 yards. David Johnson was inactive with an ankle injury. The Cardinals need both David Johnson and Chase Edmonds to have a productive backfield. They compliment each other tremendously, as Johnson has moved into a more power back position with the occasional speed and agility, and Edmonds has complete agility and speed. It will keep defenses from completely being able to game plan against the Cardinals run game. David Johnson's injury hurt the Cardinals with the inability to cause any mismatches against Saints linebackers in the passing game.
The Cardinals started strong in the passing game with a trick play on 2nd down of the first possession. It was precisely the innovative play-calling that was needed against the Saints. Everything looked to be going well.
Kyler Murray quickly dumps the ball to Christian Kirk, who draws most defenders towards his side. Kirk passes the ball back to Kyler, who then throws the ball 49 yards down the filed into the hands of the tight end, Charles Clay. Charles had the best day out of the Cardinals' receivers with three receptions for 88 yards. The throw was perfect from Murray, and it led the Cardinals inside the 15. The Cardinals were unable to come out with a touchdown and instead had to settle for 3 points.
The Redzone offense is the most glaring problem. The Cardinals need to do something about establishing a running game inside the Redzone. Whether that be more two back schemes with Edmonds and Johnson, allowing for the option for either to pound the ball forward and the choice for Johnson to run routes from the backfield as a receiver. The Cardinals have had success with QB draw plays, letting Murray use his skills as a runner. Sadly, fans did not see any success in the Redzone today. The Cardinals had to settle for three field goals. They almost had success with a four verticle wide play call that had Murray pass to Larry Fitzgerald. Larry had the ball but was unable to tap the second foot in bounds.
Larry Fitzgerald ended the game with 2 receptions for only 8 yards. The offensive play calling lost the Cardinals the game. Kliff Kingsbury did not seem to be able to use his best weapons in the game. Why has Larry Fitzgerald been absent in the passing game the past few weeks after starting the season with two over 100-yard games? Fitzgerald has some of, if not, the best hands in the league. He would be a huge asset if they ran routes that let him go deep, but Kingsbury has instead decided to use him as a blocker or to dump off screen passes that go for minimal yards. Using Fitzgerald more in the Redzone and allowing him to do quick slants across the middle could also result in better production. There seems to be a fixation on throwing out to the sides and avoiding the middle of the field. There is no clear reason as to why the play-calling has that preference, but it has not worked well for the Cardinals so far.
Kliff Kingsbury started off the game with a very smart trick play, but was unable to capitalize off a Patrick Peterson interception, he was unable scheme the offense to produce in the Redzone, and he made a bad call to go for it on 4th down at the Arizona 30. Hopefully, this game can be taken as a learning curve, it can be used to iron out the last remaining kinks. The Arizona Cardinals do not look bad when they are in rhythm. They have the ability and talent to be a very good team. This game was just an example of expected first-year difficulties.