The running game for the first unit was solid averaging almost four yards per carry.
The offensive line looked solid as well with Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton with plenty of time to throw for the most part. We even saw what Jonathan Cooper is made of as he pulled from the left guard spot to lead Rashard Mendenhall for a gain of 11.
So you’re thinking, if the running game was decent and the offensive line looked good, that sounds like it would mean a vast improvement for the Cardinals from a year ago!
But that was not the case.
The first team Cardinals offense as a whole took a step back after their second preseason game against the Cowboys Saturday afternoon. Carson Palmer was not on the same page with his receivers. He was 7-15 for 66 yards and some of those incompletions were obvious miscommunications with his receivers.
“It’s not anything we were physically beat on,” Palmer said after the game. “It was silly, sloppy things. I put that on my shoulders. It’s unacceptable to have nine points off of all the opportunities that we had.”
Drew Stanton then came in with the second team in the second quarter and moved the ball pretty well but in two trips to the red zone the Cardinals came up with 0 points. One of the trips resulted in a bad overthrow of Stepfan Taylor which lead to an interception. He was 10-19 for 152 yards and the interception.
For the entire game which included Ryan Lindley at quarterback as well, the Cardinals went 0-5 in the red zone and were 4-5 in field goal attempts.
“To have 51 plays and nine points and miss a chip shot field goal, which is unacceptable also, someone is accountable,” head coach Bruce Arians said after the game. “It’s all about accountability so we will get it fixed.”
For the Cardinals offense to be successful, yes the run game will need to be solid like they were saturday, but what will make them contenders on that side of the ball will be their game through the air. Arians likes to throw deep, the best playmakers on that side of the ball are on the outside with Fitzgerald, Floyd, Roberts and yes even Patrick Peterson.
So yes the Cardinals did take a step back on offense after game two of the preseason. But conversely, the defense continues to take giant leaps forward. They have now held opponents to seven points through two preseason games and did not allow a single point for the first seven quarters. After the game Arians noted that the veterans should find some sort of punishment or fine for the third team defense that gave up the first points of the preseason. But noted that they my not have enough hair for that.
Cardinals take on the San Diego Chargers in preseason game number three next weekend where Arians said that the starters will play into the third quarter.