I will admit that I seem to be obsessing about the offensive formations that the Arizona Cardinals are using. This is because it is something that I previously paid attention to. When Todd Heap and Jeff King were signed, it sort of hit me that the offense would change a little bit. This wasn't to say that the team was suddenly going to become a team that runs the ball 65 percent of the time. Instead, I figured that the use of the tight end would increase, even if the number of pass plays stayed the same.
Looking back at the preseason game between Arizona and the Oakland Raiders, we can see this is true so far.
The offense ran 62 plays, but only 57 that counted because of penalties. Of those 57 plays, 42 of them had at least one tight end in the formation. That is almost 74 percent of the plays. Of the 42 plays with a tight end, 17 were with two and one that had three (as it was a goalline play).
Even with the increased appearance of the tight ends in the Cardinals offense, the passing game still ruled. Only 18 of the 42 plays with a tight end were to run the football. There was another one that became a running play when Kevin Kolb scrambled for 15 yards and a first down.
If you recall, in 2010, the most commonly used formation was four wide and one in the backfield. That formation was used only seven times. One of those times had tight end Robert Housler was lined up wide. And three of those cases were in the final drive, when the team was using a two-minute drill.
What are the long-term ramifications of what we saw with the offense? I have no idea. Plus, it is only one preseason game.
But I think this signals the end of the gratuitous spread formations the Cardinals ran in 2010. Not completely, but rather make them something you bring in as opposed to bringing it and relying constantly in it.
After one preseason game, are you ready to say it with me? What do you think this will tell us about our season?