The devil (and first downs) is in the details

Posted by Darren Urban on September 17, 2013 – 9:26 am

The third down conversions were a problem Sunday, and could have cost the Cardinals. And Bruce Arians was asked if it was possible the offense as a whole was thinking too much when it came to third downs.

“No,” Arians said quickly. “We’re not thinking enough.”

If you want to get high up on the list of things Arians wants, it’s success in two-minute situations, red zone and third downs. Those are the moments that decide football games. Going 1-for-11 on third downs usually doesn’t translate well (and it was a precipitous dropoff from the previous week, for whatever reason.) It’s correctable, Arians thinks. There just has to be more focus.

“Our attention to detail on offense is very lacking,” Arians said. “We just had a long meeting (Monday) about (how) there are no little things. A lot of coaches talk about the little things. There are no little things. Everything is a big thing, and if your head is on the wrong side, and your guy makes the tackle and we gain five yards, you shouldn’t be happy because we should’ve gotten 20.

“That’s a little thing — that’s a big thing. That attention to detail has to increase for us to be as good as we want to be on offense.”

All that said, Arians knows his team moved the ball. Media relations maven Mark Dalton pointed out that, after two games, the Cardinals have gone three-and-out on only two of 24 possessions this season, an 8.3 percentage topped only by the high-octane Eagles thus far (one in 25 drives.) The NFL average is 23.4 percent of possessions. So Arians has tangible proof for his offense.

“We were shooting ourselves in the foot,” Arians said. “A couple routes, a couple reads. We should’ve been at least 50 percent again this week like we were last week.”

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13 Responses to “The devil (and first downs) is in the details”

  1. By Dynosoar on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    I’ve noticed over the years that elite quarterbacks throw for first downs and touchdowns on third down. They also have over 60% completion rating.

    This may be the quarterback, the play calling or a combination of both and yes, elite quarterbacks also miss third down conversions. I know this.

    1-11, wow, that hurt. Then again as Darren pointed out, if we’re getting first down conversions on first and second down, we’re moving the ball and we don’t need third down conversions as often.

    Looking forward to seeing our boys get a win in New Orleans and Tampa. It’s doable, I don’t know if it’ll happen, but our team is definitely capable to win both games.

    Loved seeing the 49ers lose. They didn’t look as dominate in either of their games so far and that is wonderful to see (well, wonderful for fans of other teams.) I understand Pete Carroll being happy, but it almost looked , I don’t know, he certainly was happy.

    Go Cardinals!

  2. By red bird of death! on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    I hope our defense destroys the aints and quiets that dome, we need to be ruthless in this one.They have no idea about what’s about to go down there expect a major whupping Breesy.GO CARDS!

  3. By EDijkstra on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    On the TD pass to Ellington, it looked to me like Carson’s pump fake might have been significant in freeing Ellington up. Any thoughts on this? Has anyone mentioned it? Thanks.

  4. By Darren Urban on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    EDiijkstra —

    RE: Pump fake

    I would agree with your assessment.

  5. By erik on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    That pump fake even faked out the cameraman!

  6. By Darren on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    Palmer was in the outskirts of elite status a few years ago. I don’t think anyone is putting him there today…however, (with a little more time) he may be good enough to get to close to that same level. I was hoping the Cardinals would have gotten him; when he first wanted out of Cincy, but we went after Anderson.

  7. By Corgon on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    EDiijkstra –

    RE: Pump fake

    I think the same pump fake could resulted exactly the same TD after P2’s completion….Ellington was there.

    By the way I liked P2’s O plays the first time. Diversions, deep threats…and that throw was sweet!

  8. By johnnybluenose on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    after week 2 i know this much for sure….we are a lot better than the pittsburgh steelers.

  9. By Andy Kw on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    I am so glad that NT David Carter received another NFL job. He has incorporated himself in the NFL community and has done a superb job when Dan Williams was injured. I am not happy to see him as a Cowboy but I am glad to see him in NFL

  10. By Andre on Sep 17, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren, do you think Arians can learn a thing or two from Ken Whizenhunt’s red zone game. Even though the cards where absolutely horrendous in the previous years, our red zone offense has been pretty good. We’ve also had better management in two minute drills during those years as well, which supplied some great games. Do coaches learn from each other like this or do they normally do things there own way? Do you see Arians looking into that?

  11. By Darren Urban on Sep 18, 2013 | Reply

    Andre —

    RE: Coaches learning

    I think coaches are always looking at other concepts to try and build on their own. That said, Arians has been coaching for a long, long time. Plus he coached with Whiz in Pittsburgh. I’d think if there were elements of Whiz’s process he wanted, he would have already taken them.

  12. By ored on Sep 18, 2013 | Reply

    we’re only better when we beat them,but happy the way we’re going,these next two games will go far in determining our character,we’ll need lots going against a revived NO team with their coach back and in their building,then further east for another road game,would be awesome if we won both.

  13. By Kevin S on Sep 19, 2013 | Reply

    We’re not going to keep up 8.3% but it’s good to be on the other end of the 3-and-out spectrum. We had to be near the league worst the past couple years.

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