What a difference a year makes, stat version

Posted by Darren Urban on December 31, 2013 – 10:53 am

Bruce Arians called it a beginning, and his players all talked about the optimism they have going forward into 2014 after a 10-6 record in 2013. The tangible proof in the improvement, however, goes beyond the five-victory rise from 2012. Many of the other numbers on both offense and defense also underscore the Cards’ change this season.

Offensively, there was nowhere to go but up after the disaster of 2012. That started with the play of quarterback Carson Palmer, especially after the unit started to grasp Arians’ scheme. Palmer threw too many interceptions — with 22, the Cardinals actually threw one more than the QB group did in 2012 — but all the other numbers were much better, including the overall rank (the Cards were 12th in the NFL, after being dead last in ’12) and points scored (the Cardinals increased their per game average by more than eight points a game.)

Year 1st downs Points Yds Yds rushing Yds Passing Sacks allowed Comp pct TD INT NFL rank
2013 329 379 5542 422-1540 4291 41 63.2 24 22 12
2012 246 250 4209 352-1204 3383 58 55.4 11 21 32

We all know the Cardinals’ defense was pretty good in 2012, finishing 12th in the league. Then Todd Bowles came in as defensive coordinator, there was much hand wringing, and then the Cards ended up a fantastic unit. They ended up sixth in the NFL, best against the run (after finishing 28th last year) and were the main reason the Cardinals became a factor in the NFC West and the NFC overall. Now we see how many interviews Bowles gets to be a head coach and whether the Cardinals can keep their DC for at least another season.

Year Points allowed Rush yds per game Rush D NFL rank Yds per game TDs allowed Sacks INT INT TDs NFL rank
2013 324 84.4 1 317.4 35 47 20 4 6
2012 357 137.0 28 337.8 40 38 22 2 12

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Posted in Blog | 30 Comments »

30 Responses to “What a difference a year makes, stat version”

  1. By wather on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    41 sacks will probably be cut in half next year.

  2. By SteveG on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Nice that the stats and my eyeballs agree on what we all saw….Franchise in good hands and making HUGE progress…(Just wish we still in the NFC East..remember when that was a good division anyone?).


    GO CARDS!!

  3. By Ethan on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply


  4. By brian r on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    i hope we can keep bowles. this poor defense needs to stay in tact, and needs to build a foundation like dick is doing with the steelers.

  5. By Dr. G. on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Uncle BA brought the right formula – get it done ‘cuz there is someone behind you that really wants to give your job a try! Too many players are comfortable in this league. The choice is yours.

    If 2014 brings half the INT’s and half the QB sacks, this Offense will be scary. And a few less short passes will be good. No one thinks Palmer is the long-term solution, but I now have to give him “props” for his determined durability and his neutral emotional approach – when things go awry, it is not obvious that he points blame to anyone – (OK, very rarely)… McCarran would be a good protege.

    Thank you Darren, for keeping the info flowing…. Happy New Year to All!

  6. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    GREAT chart, love it.

    Five 2014 predicaments, bloom off the rose? Dunno, but:

    1.Larry Fitzgerald’s contract and unwillingness to moderate his pay will be a problem; want him back but at $8M to $10M not $18M;
    2. Big Decision on DWash $10M Bonus especially with another suspension possible, if not likely, probably brought back, hope so;
    3. Los will want to break the bank again, but may not get that BIG contract elsewhere again… too close to call;
    4. Todd Bowles is awfully softly spoken publicly and a BA privately, probably gets hired as HC (he’d be my first choice, but I know nada);
    5. When will Tyran, T’aamu and Coop be ready?

    Bonus Pick! Sure hope DD is back, backbone of D in many ways.

    Like the stock market that Wall of Worry continues! Happy New Year.

  7. By Amir on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Rushing TDs:
    2012: 10
    2013: 12

  8. By Amir on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    I have absolutely no doubt the TD-Int ratio will be significantly improved next year. In fact, I can go out on a limb here predicting that Palmer will throw close to 30 TD and not more than 12-13 ints next year.

    I expect the number of sacks allowed will be drastically improved with Cooper back and hopefully a better LT in FA or high draft pick. Improvement on the line will allow more playmakers out running the routes instead of staying back to help OL.

  9. By Dynosoar on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Steve G,

    according to coverage on NFL network, the NFC East is still the best division.

  10. By Dynosoar on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Coach Arians stated he has been putting together his dream staff fover his entire career and he’s wanted Coach Bowles as his DC for a long time. He also stated he wanted DC Bowles to become HC Bowles sooner rather than later.

    I have to believe a man who’s planned his coaching staff throughout his career has an equally good replacement for Todd Bowles in mind for when he becomes a head coach and he probably has a replacement in mind if it happens this year.

    Do I want Bowles back, YES!

    I also have faith Arians has a plan and a backup plan and a backup to the backup plan and the penciled draft of another backup plan to the others and they will all work out just as well. Whizenhunt is an engineer, Arians is prepared. Many have lamented Coach Whizenhunt for being unprepared for Warner’s departure, I don’t think that’ll ever be a complaint about Coach “next man up.” He’s prepared.

    If we improved over the season with a “next man up” mantra for our players, why can’t we improve over the offseason with the same mantra applying to coaches. We can and we will.

    Bowles is due a shot at head coach. Our Cardinals will do just fine with him as another team would with him as there HC. I’m good either way.

  11. By Dynosoar on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Dr. G.,

    I’m with you. Palmer didn’t miss any playing time that I can recall. I liked that Kolb fought a rattlesnake with his boot (that was awesome). I like that Palmer can be hit by a linebacker and stand back up. Then throw the ball.

    Our O-Line has improved and will improve again this offseason. The Cradinals are going to be scary good next year. I’m dreaming of the noise level home field advantage will generate for next years Super Bowl. Can we take the decibel/rich-tor scale record from Seattle’s twelfth man?

    Looking forward to next season. Enjoying this one. KC – Carolina Super Bowl will be fun to watch.

  12. By Dr. G. on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Amir/Dyno – 30 TD’s That would be a herculean effort. He did do it once.

    Here’s a good Palmer formula to make the dance: 25 TD’s… 14 INT’s… 16Sacks…

    He needs work in the off-season to get rid of the ball when the O-Line cracks. And the O-Line should be improved, so these are “reasonable” goals. One sack/game and less than 1 INT/Game are reasonable goals for Palmer’s history. Our RB’s need to do most of the scoring at the goal line.

    Arians’ Red Zone scoring, 3rd downs and turnovers will work with these numbers. If we want to be among the Elite teams, the turnovers are just intolerable – 1 in a game will be the difference in losing/winning long term.

    And of course, a similar effort from our defense is to be expected…. Be well..


  13. By Cactus Jeff on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Ok I can’t take it anymore,
    Darren you have to remember with the lead up to this season i kept commenting on how CC and DD have to be in a 4-3. Then they start with a 3-4…Ahhh I screamed. Then both OLBs go down with injury, forces Bowles to play a 4-3 with Shaughnessy and Abraham. Now we are saying he is defensve coach of the year, if so, then I am the Lebron James of Commentors for your blog.

    Let’s show side by side rankings of defense in 2013 before and after Abrams and Shaughnessy start.

  14. By clssylssy on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Finished #7 in the Power Rankings, flip flopping with the Saints…NOT TO SHABBY
    for a team not making the playoffs!

  15. By Cactus Jeff on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    By the way,
    Great season Cards, thanks for the great reporting Darren.

  16. By iain on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Dear Darren,

    Do you think that defensive line coach Buckner will still be our defensive line coach next year? After helping improve the cardinals run defense from rank 28 to number 1 do you think he may get a promotion within the cardinals organisation? Also do coaches and coordinators sign multi-year contracts or are they normally signed to one year contracts? I hope you and your family have a great new year!

  17. By Darren Urban on Jan 1, 2014 | Reply

    iain —

    RE: Buckner/coaches

    Coaches usually sign multi-year contracts. And I’m not sure how you promote him if everyone stays put.

  18. By red bird of death! on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    I love the stats would like to see how we were against the pass, cut down those sacks and interceptions and maybe we win at least 10 games next year …..oh wait we did that this year.

  19. By georgiebird on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Speaking of numbers-Seattle and KC had the best non-divisional record in the NFL at 9-1. The Cards were tied with three other teams for second place (non- divisional) at 6-2. (hope my math is correct)
    Seems like the improvement will have to come within the division turning a 2-4 into a 4-2. The goal for 4-2 would be to sweep the Rams and get home victories against the 49ers and Seahawks.
    And then we can hope for the lucky Panthers to come back to earth and Luke Kuechly to get flagged for holding on every play.

  20. By georgiebird on Dec 31, 2013 | Reply

    Sorry, our non-divisional was 8-2 along with Pats, Bengals and Denver.

  21. By johnnybluenose on Jan 1, 2014 | Reply

    does Bowles even want to be a head coach? not everyone does. but, if he goes to Cleveland I wonder what happens to ray Horton?

  22. By shannon robinson on Jan 1, 2014 | Reply

    Carson Palmer is still my MVP. 4,000 yards and 24 TD’s feels like coming out of the Paseo Del Muerto with a full canteen, “Here, you want some?” I’m old enough to have sat in the stands at RFK Stadium with my Dad and watch HOF QB Sonny Jurgensen throw touchdowns to Charley Taylor and Bobby Mitchell (who broke the color barrier for Redskins) and the great TE Jerry Smith (first openly gay player in NFL). My Dad would watch the receivers and say “He’s open” and I’d have the binnocs on Sonny and announce “ball’s in the air”. Sometimes we’d switch and he’d watch Sonny – amazing how many times great QB’s launch way before their target is open – mostly it was simultaneous. Carson does that – he has the right stuff. Give him time and the rewards will come. As BA says now they have tape of themselves playing their own offense – what a difference that makes, when you can learn from your own mistakes and not try to avoid somebodyelse’s. There’s nothing like a defense that can hold another team consistantly under 90 yards a game – everything remaining follows, it’s so hard to do that it makes you better at the rest. Todd Bowles should be a HC and his success makes everyone in our organization better. Thanks for the end of the year stats – icing on the cake for great reporting, a very hard job with us fanatics out there.

  23. By rimrunner on Jan 1, 2014 | Reply

    first of all i would like to thank todd bowles for stopping the whinning about ray horton. I can live with carson palmers interceptions because he was able to give the receivers a chance to make big plays and in the first half of the season the receivers were letting him down on 50/50 balls and there is no doubt in my mine they will be cut in half next year. The best part about carson even if he started out a game playing bad he would eventually give us a chance. I knew the cardinals were going to be just fine when i seen palmer wasnt afraid to get on his receivers even if that receiver was named fitz, holding them accountable. Making be believe he was getting the offense faster than the receivers. Next year watch out.

  24. By Dre on Jan 1, 2014 | Reply

    Lets get Los back and someone show pp21 how to cover he gets burned to many times I think he just getting by with speed needs to be more fundamental. I’m not being a hater I’m my eyes don’t lie

  25. By Scott H on Jan 1, 2014 | Reply

    Carson Palmer as MVP? Just one man’s opinion but I say absolutely not. He was pretty shaky over the first half of the season, played better in the second half. But at no point did Palmer put this team on his back and carry them. C’mon, he throws 4 INT’s in Seattle and the team still wins? Well, call me old-fashioned, but that sounds like a team winning in spite of its QB. Really, he had a few good games. That’s pretty much it. More often than not, he was solid enough in games where our defense was really what was getting it done. That hardly describes an MVP.

    Actually, I don’t know if this team really had ONE individual MVP. And that’s OK. There were so many players that were just really solid and consistent over the course of the year, ya know? Some guys had some standout games but I struggle to identify ONE player who stood above the rest. Again, that’s OK. I like this group just the way it is, with the big plays coming from EVERYWHERE.

  26. By BirdsSTC on Jan 2, 2014 | Reply

    Dansby or Campbell for MVP, take your pick.

  27. By Scott H on Jan 2, 2014 | Reply

    Birds STC –
    I’m OK with either of those guys. Honestly, with a gun to my head, I’d probably give it to Fitz. Why not? Maybe not his best year stat-wise but look at everything else – the leadership, playing through the injuries ( hamstring early on, then a concussion late in the season ), never missing a game, and STILL having a pretty damn good season! Yes, he is benefitting from the emergence of Michael Floyd but Michael Floyd is benefitting just as much from having defenses still needing to respect Fitz on every play…Ho blocks his tail off on EVERY play for whoever has the ball and don’t forget about the hits he laid on Seattle’s DB’s during the first game against them this year. They were friggin’ SWEET!!!

  28. By Dr. G. on Jan 3, 2014 | Reply

    MVP – Calais Campbell – one and done… All opponents fear him…period.

    At 1000+ all purpose yards, Ellington may be the only other qualifier.

    Forum/Blog MVP – #79 Brad Sowell…. He stopped the fans from turning into screaming vigilantes… just a sophomore and playing out of position. I am curious to see if Keim runs hard at an OT (probable) and move him back to guard. He could still back up at OT….

  29. By Dr. G. on Jan 3, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Darren – I read the explanation of these reserve/future contracts, but can you elaborate a little on whether this is just for camp attendees or are these men really solid prospects so they won’t get away. Do they get significant money now? Happy to see Keim after it already….. Thanks for all you have done this past year…

    Jan 3 – Cardinals –
    Re-signed C Philip Blake, WR Dan Buckner, LB Kenny Demens, C Tom Draheim, TE Darren Fells, RB Robert Hughes, S Orhian Johnson, DT Anthony McCloud, and LB Kenny Rowe, WR Mike Thomas to reserve/future contracts

  30. By Darren Urban on Jan 3, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Futures

    They will have the same kind of contracts that undrafted rookies might get, or a street free agent. There will not be significant money involved unless they made the 53-man roster in September.

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