One-hitter quitters aren’t bad

Posted by Darren Urban on September 21, 2011 – 3:15 pm

The Cardinals have not won time of possession in their two games yet, for a multitude of reasons. The defense has allowed some lengthy drives, and the offense has sputtered more often than they would have liked. But there is another factor, and it’s the quick-strike score. Of the Cards’ six offensive touchdowns thus far (a seventh TD came via Patrick Peterson punt return), five have come on six plays of possession or fewer.

Against Carolina, it only took six plays on the opening drive before Beanie Wells’ rushing touchdown, and later, Early Doucet’s 70-yard catch-and-run made a 90-yard drive simple in just five plays. But it’s been the true lightning strikes that have impacted the stats. A short field in Washington allowed Jeff King to score a 21-yard touchdown on only the second play of a 37-yard drive. King’s 48-yard TD against Carolina was the first play of a possession.

And of course, so too was the 73-yard TD bomb from quarterback Kevin Kolb to Larry Fitzgerald in Washington.

“If we were 2-0 (possession time) wouldn’t be a problem and we were one point away,” Kolb said. “I think striking quick is a good thing. But I’ve said before, when we go on those seven, eight, 10-play drives, that’s when you know you own somebody. We get in the end zone however it takes. If it is a one-hitter quitter, or 10 plays and executing in the red zone, that’s what we’ll do.”

Coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged the quick possessions wear down a defense, which was a problem last season. Of course, last season, the quick possessions were almost always about punts and not touchdowns, and that changes the dynamic too.

“I’m not ever going to complain about having a two-play, 60-yard scoring drive, like we’ve had, or a one-play, 73-yard scoring drive,” Whisenhunt said. “Would we like to have more plays? Obviously we would. … That’s what we are trying to do. But I don’t want to get so panicky because, like I said, out yards-per-play is pretty high.”

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21 Responses to “One-hitter quitters aren’t bad”

  1. By MIKE G on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Nice article on the quick strike. I think the offenses job is to put the ball in the end zone. We all want 10 play 6 minute drives but with all the throwing and blitzing that there is you are going to see these long plays. That is one thing that has definitely changed in the game in the last 20 years or so is the # of blitzes that the D coordinator calls. I think the 85 Bears impacted the game today with all their blitzing. I am not a big fan of an abundance # of blitz calls in a game. I believe one factor we are seeing a lot of points and yardage is that D-coordinators are calling too many BAD blitzes—The blitzer better get there or else!!!!—Potential Long Play!!! Who on the Cardinals would you consider there best blitzer??? I think its Adrian Wilson–not even close!!!

  2. By Darren Urban on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Best blitzer

    That’s a good question. I’m not sure.

  3. By brad oneill on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    even if they score in one play anything over 4 plays for the defense is on the defense. but yea our guys looked tired in washington. Schofield needs to be in the game more. he may not have porters skils yet but at least we dont see him jogging during a play.

  4. By AZCoyotes on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    I’m starting Wells this week.

  5. By MIKE G on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Darren–Do you think Whiz has a shot to be the longest tenured coach in the history of the Cardinals???? I know the Bidwells like him!!!
    I can see him here for 10 years+++

  6. By Darren Urban on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Whisenhunt tenure

    One year at a time.

  7. By NJAZCardsFan on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Darren- Can you polish up your crystal ball…… Do you see DRC coming back to Az as a FA in 2012. Especially since he isn’t doing that well with the Eagles so far.

  8. By Darren Urban on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    NJAz —

    RE: DRC return

    He is under contract through 2012, so we are talking 2013. Long, long time and lots of football to be played between now and then.

  9. By Born n Bred on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Nice “Feeding Beanie” article. I would like to know who you think should be a more featured option Beanie/running (lilsweetnessfuture) or Fitz/pass in this offense.

    I only ask cause when Coach Whiz tells me he wont probly wont hear as much if the Cards do a “New England” on someone. The thing about the patriots is their DNA is what we used to have with Warner. This is a different offense with Kolb and hes not Warner or Brady. Hes Kevin Kolb, he can do some shotgun, thrives under center with play action roll outs, shots down field on long crosses or flys, with an established run game.

  10. By Darren Urban on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Born —

    RE: Beanie or Fitz

    I don’t see why you can’t have both.

    But Fitz is your best player. I want chances to get him the ball.

  11. By georgiebird on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    The Cardinals have usually had the personnel to be a quick strike offense. Very seldom have the Cards been a ball possession offense. While having some great offensive linemen over the years, only a few like Conrad Dobler were primarily run blockers.
    It is truly amazing how the Cardinals identity hasn’t changed much over the years:
    1) quick strike offense
    2) soft defense
    3) poor results
    I can’t tell you how many times this ball possession question has come up in the past. At times, the Cardinals have tried ball control to protect the lousy defense. And they have done well until a critical part of the game then- fumble, or penalty, or some other mess-up and the possession plan goes up in smoke.
    If the Cardinals had good defenses along the way, a possession offense would have evolved. But being behind often and lacking the discipline to carry out a long offensive drive have resulted in the big play offense being a Cardinal tradition.

  12. By BIG RED on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    For how many years did Dansby sign with the Dolphins, Darren.

  13. By Darren Urban on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Big Red —

    RE: Dansby

    I believe it was for five years,

  14. By Mr. Know It All on Sep 21, 2011 | Reply

    Come on Wolf Cards Underground not the same without you.

  15. By Chuck 1 on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    “Coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged the quick possessions wear down a defense, which was a problem last season.”

    That’s a bogus argument.

    If the Cards’ defense caused three-and-outs, the defense wouldn’t be “worn out”. Instead they allow the opposition to march down the field.

  16. By joe67 on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    A lot like the Coryell years. No defense. Good Offense. Back then the Cards had one of the best and most potent offenses’ in the league, but everytime they got the ball they had to go 80-85 somethimes 90 yards. Hard to consistenly maintain those kind of long drives, so they had to rely on the bomb. (Hart to Gray, wow it was sweet) You can win some games but it also costs some games and hard to go far in the playoffs.
    I still think this D will come around, and if the O-line starts playing better we can sustain some long drives and give the D some rest. Gee, kind of a team concept.
    I think Sunday, tho it is really early in the year, is pretty close to a “must win”.

  17. By pipapiko on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    Cards are going to end up 3-13 for the season!

  18. By BostonJohn on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply


    How do you feel about the home field advantage, if any the Cards have. I travel to many games and live on the East coast and suffer through Patriot games as a non Pats fan, anyway, I think the stadium is missing the energy level that Gillette has. Certainly it is team orientated (consistent winning) but the music played at that stadium gets the crowd pumped and loud. I think UoPHx is missing that. How does it compare to other stadiums you visit? Secondly, I think the Cards can do a better job of building the brand, simple example are Yearbooks, YearBooks and things like that are everywhere in New England and New York for those teams, in AZ, its like trying to find water in the desert. Just my 2 cents…

    Thanks as always for the great updates…and as far as 3-13…not a chance

  19. By Darren Urban on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    BostonJohn —

    RE: Home-field

    It’s all about the team and how much they win. I have been to Seattle many times — when the Seahawks have a poor team and the Cardinals have a good team, that’s not a horrific place to play. It’s just a stadium. Same with UoP. I was down on the field for the last six minutes of the NFC Championship. Loudest place I have ever been in, easily. It’s been really loud in there before. It’s about the team.

    As for “building the brand” I understand what you are saying, but Arizona isn’t Boston or New York. The fan base is different, it is looking for different things. That’s just reality.

  20. By clssylssy on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    Say what you may but home field definitely is an advantage. I have been to Cards games when it was so loud you could see the opposition visibly shaken and having difficulty concentrating-the results an Arizona win either because we held them at the goal line, blocked a field goal or had a defensive/special teams score such as when Monty Beisel recovered an on side kick and ran it back for a game winning TD. I cut my teeth at Arrowhead before moving to Phoenix and there have been times the game was stopped because calls couldn’t be heard on the field. The crowd would get going, stomping and yelling and you could feel the stadium shake. The Arizona Cardinals are in their infancy as far as having an established fan base but that “extra man” can be critical. The Skins, Pats, Pack,Chiefs, are all old and established franchises with fans who are loud and proud. The Cards are a young team loaded with talent that just is getting started in comparison, and our fans seem to expect instant and sustained success; they’re use to fast food or pour from the box and add water. It takes a while to ” Build the Brand”, TRUE FANS WILL SUPPORT THE TEAM! LET’S GO CARDS & BRING HOME A WIN FROM SEATTLE!

  21. By Heather on Sep 27, 2011 | Reply

    One question. Why in the world does Whisenhunt always waste a first down attempting a run up the middle? I’m a female…I know what he ‘s going to do. I’m sure every other team in the NFL does as well.

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