Found September 25, 2013 on Sports Report Arizona:
  In football, like many other sports, a good balance usually results in a positive outcome.  Taking a look at recent Super Bowl champions show how important balance is to success.  The Baltimore Ravens used Ray Rice on the ground to bludgeon opponents while quarterback Joe Flacco sliced them through the air.  The New York Giants in 2011 used the same blueprint with Eli Manning and Ahmad Bradshaw.  Finding a balance isn’t about having an even amount of yardage in the running and passing game, but rather being able to utilize both aspects of the offense effectively and above all efficiently.  This is where the current Arizona Cardinals have found it difficult.  Whether it’s a lack of personnel, coaching, or a combination of both, the Cardinals will continue to fail as a team until the offense can find a balance between attacking by air and attacking on the ground. When head coach Bruce Arians was hired, excitement reverberated throughout the valley.  Arians was fresh off a remarkable season in charge of the Indianapolis Colts in place of Chuck Pagano who was battling cancer.  Arians led the Colts to a surprising wild card berth with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and a primarily new look offense.  The offense finished tenth in the league last season in total yards on offense.  The belief was that Arians would jump start a stagnant Cardinals offense which finished 28th in passing yards, dead last in rushing yards, and dead last in overall offense. Three games into the 2013 season and Cardinals fans are still waiting to see the offensive results.  Currently the unit ranks 19th in passing yards, 23rd in rushing yards, and 23rd in overall yards.  It is thus far a below average offense which is not much better than last season.  Now at this point some may be wondering how a balanced attack would benefit the team if the numbers show the offense having struggles in both aspects.  That is correct, a balanced but ineffective attack would do nothing to help the team win.  However, we do not have any semblance of a balance with Arians’ offense this season. When you take into consideration the number of attempts in the passing game versus the running game this season the numbers stand out quite drastically.  Through three games, quarterback Carson Palmer and the offense have thrown the ball 115 times, good for 15th most in the league.  By contrast, the offense has handed the ball off to the ground game just 67 times, or 9th least in the NFL.  When adding in the amount of sacks to the total passing attempts, we see a 5.85 yards per play average.  The running game is producing a 3.9 yards per play average.  Not very efficient in terms of gaining yards in the passing game versus the running game. Now one might say that the discrepancy can easily be traced to the fact that Arizona has needed to play from behind through most of the three games and have needed to throw the football.  That would be partially correct, but against the Rams (week 1) and Lions (week 2), the Cardinals held leads and were in position to use the ground game.  In both, Arians and the offense chose to air the ball out rather than establish the run game.  Against the Saints this past week, the ground game was practically abandoned once the Cardinals fell behind by a score or two in the first half.  It is that type of panic and neglect of balance which ends up hurting the offense and by extension the defense, who finds themselves with a faster turnaround to get back on the field. The ground game would serve three purposes, it would prevent too much of the pressure to move the offense being placed on the shoulders of Palmer.  While still a talented passer, Palmer has completed just 57% of his passes, connecting for 3 touchdowns but 4 interceptions.  The interceptions have primarily come on throws forced into tight spots, usually double coverage.  Palmer has looked his best operating with a good mix of run and pass.  This in part to the second benefit of the ground game, making the pass protection more effective.  The pass protection has been slightly improved over 2012, although going from horrendous to ugly isn’t quite the look many were hoping to see.  Against the Rams and Saints, Palmer was sacked a total of 8 times.  He’s fumbled twice on those sacks, the most important of those a lost fumble in the 4th quarter against the Rams in which the Cardinals led.  The running game would keep defenses from keying on the quarterback and create better passing situations via play action and shorter down and distance combinations. The final key translates to the Arizona defense.  They are a unit who has seen the field nearly a whole two quarters more than the offense.  At the end of the Saints game when the defense needed a few stops to keep the game close, they looked tired and were unable to shed blocks and make tackles.  That type of wear is due to an overextended amount of time on the field.  An effective ground game will provide enough rest for the defense to be able to make those critical stops late in the game which would allow the offense more of a chance to play balanced longer into the ball game. In the end this offense isn’t suffering from a lack of talent at the quarterback position or of a lack of offensive talent, it is suffering from trying to be something it is not.  This team is not a 40 passes, 400 passing yards, and 30 plus points a game team.  This is a team who should be using a balanced attack and capitalizing on an opportunistic defense.  Until the coaching staff takes that stance, this team will continue to struggle when it matters most.

Carson Palmer Is Not The Answer In Arizona

When the Arizona Cardinals traded for quarterback Carson Palmer this off-season it looked like the Cardinals had finally found their first real quarterback since Kurt Warner. However, after three games Palmer has shown what Bengals and Raiders fans have known all along, Palmer is no longer an elite quarterback. Both of Palmer’s previous franchises have improved once Palmer left...

The Arizona Cardinals lose another defender for the year

Today the Arizona Cardinals took another hit on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Alex Okafor, a rookie fourth-round draft pick who was expected to become a starter this week, has instead been lost for the season. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told Alex Marvez and Bill Polian on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Okafor has suffered […]

Arizona submits bid for 2016 college football championship

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona sports and community leaders have submitted a bid to bring the 2016 College Football Championship Game to University of Phoenix Stadium. Under terms set by the new College Football Playoff, communities compete for the national title game in a process similar to the Super Bowl or the NCAA Men's Final Four. Arizona's Host Committee includes representatives...

Cardinals adapt Rashad Johnson foam hand with missing fingertip

The Arizona Cardinals are working on a prototype foam hand for safety Rashad Johnson after he lost the tip of his finger during a play in Sunday's game against the Saints. Johnson tweeted a gnarly photo of his severed middle digit Sunday, while the team posted a less gruesome photo of the foam "Victory" fingers Tuesday with a Miley Cyrus-sized bite taken out...

Cardinals unveil prototype for severed foam finger in honor of Rashad Johnson

One of the more compelling — and easily the nastiest and disturbing — injury report to emerge from last weekend’s slate of NFL games was how Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson suffered the most bizarre of injuries when the tip of his middle finger was severed during a special teams play. After initially responding to […]The post Cardinals unveil prototype for severed...

Cardinals rookie OLB Okafor out for season

The Arizona Cardinals' injury woes at outside linebacker just got worse, with rookie Alex Okafor out for the season with a torn bicep. Okafor confirmed reports of the injury via Twitter. Arizona lost its starting outside linebackers Sam Acho (broken leg) and Lorenzo Alexander (foot injury) in Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints. They were placed on season-ending injury...

Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald practices fully

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been hampered by a hamstring injury early in the season, but he was able to return to practice in full capacity yesterday, according to Darren Urban of Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) practiced fully. #AZvsTB— Darren Urban (@Cardschatter) September 25, 2013 The hamstring injury forced Fitzgerald out of...

Arizona's Bowles still confident after injuries

Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is expressing confidence in his new influx of players and promises his scheme will be adjusted accordingly this weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cardinals lost starting linebackers Lorenzo Alexander, Sam Acho and top backup Alex Okafor to season-ending injuries this week. Replacing them in the lineup will be Matt...

Arizona Cardinals Working on Rashad Johnson Inspired Foam Half-Finger

Challenge and adversity is nothing new to the Arizona Cardinals. Heck, they had John Skelton has a QB for awhile and I don't think they've ever had a running game! When it comes to adversity you can do one of two things--curl up in a ball and cry as you dream about being in Happy Gilmore's happy place (minus Shooter McGavin) or make the most of it. Heck, you can even...

Arizona Cardinals: 2013 Week 4 NFL Power Rankings (#21)

Last week: 23 (+2) The offense is significantly improved this season, but the defense is now the problem and it’s not going to get better as they’ve lost 3 of their top-4 rush linebackers for the season with injury in the past week. Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander, and Alex Okafor, a 4th round rookie in line for a bigger role, are all out and they are left with John Abraham, who...

Rashad Johnson tweets picture of missing finger tip

Sunday, Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson lost the tip of his middle finger (down to the first knuckle) during Arizona’s game with the New Orleans Saints. And because of the magic of Twitter we all get to see the pretty nasty looking injury after Rashad tweeted a picture of it out last night. Who’s hungry? #thefinger […]

Rashad Johnson’s severed finger looks as horrible as you thought it would

On Monday, I posted two tweets about Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson losing the tip of one of his fingers. And if those tweets along weren’t disturbing enough, Johnson went ahead and upped the ante by tweeting pictures of his severed finger. Hope you’ve digested that breakfast you had this morning.   Related posts: Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson lost the top...

Cardinals Lose Fourth-Round Pick OLB Alex Okafor For The Season

Cardinals HC fourth-round pick OLB Alex Okafor suffered a torn biceps and will miss the remainder of the season, per Alex Marvez. Arizona has already placed LBs Lorenzo Alexander and Sam Acho on season-ending injured reserve, so losing another linebacker isn’t going to help their defense moving forward. The Cardinals added LB Vic So’oto and ILB Kenny Demens to their active...

Carson Palmer says Bucs were calling his agent 'a lot' in offseason

On Wednesday morning Greg Schiano shoved his chips in on rookie quarterback Mike Glennon giving him the starting nod over Josh Freeman in Week 3 against the Cardinals (and basically forever). This had been coming for a while. That was made even more clear when Carson Palmer speaking on a conference call in advance of Buccaneers-Cards said that Tampa was calling his agent "a...
Cardinals News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.