Bruce Arians said he has been stressing the need to start faster as a team. It sounds simple and obvious. In truth, it has been anything but. Arians said it was the whole team that needed a reminder, although the defense — save the most recent outing against Seattle — has been just fine early. The offense is a different story.
“We’ve had very good Friday practices, crisp walkthroughs,” Arians said. “It’s that time from 11 Saturday morning to kickoff. Whatever (the players) are doing, change it. Try something new, and see if we can’t come out of the gates a little faster.”
Not that Arians needs empirical evidence, but in the four games since New Orleans — when the Cardinals took the opening kickoff and drove down for a touchdown on the first possession — the first quarter offense has been lacking. The Cardinals have had 13 total possessions in those four games and have scored just seven points — the 75-yard catch-and-run by Larry Fitzgerald in San Francisco. In those 13 possessions, the Cards have totaled only 10 first downs.
Quarterback Carson Palmer said the unit needs to do a better job of knowing and understanding the plays coming up at the start, because it’s planned out ahead of time.
“We script pretty well the beginning of games and just not having any mental errors on those 15, 20, 30 plays and just executing those plays (is important),” Palmer said. “Not having one little mental error here or one little blunder there, being efficient on those first plays of the game.”
Trying to find what they had in New Orleans (at least to open the game) is crucial, if for no other reason than to stave off snowballing problems of playing from behind. It leaves the defense with little or no room for error. While giving up touchdowns to the Seahawks on the first two drives of the game isn’t going to work either, it has been rare of late that the defense gets a chance to actually play with a lead early in games.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer
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