Arizona Cardinals And 1st Down Playcalling Under Ken Whisenhunt

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 04: Runningback Beanie Wells #26 of the Arizona Cardinals leaps over cornerback Mike Jenkins #21 of the Dallas Cowboys as he rushes the football during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As "head coach" of the site, I want everyone to know my email is public and I welcome questions/comments/etc. However, I don't get a whole of messages from the community. Monday was an exception and I was asked a great question. It comes from a reader named Michael. He asked:

I was debating with another Cardinal fan about whether or not Coach Whisenhunt calls run plays too much on first downs.

Do you happen to know this stat, or a link that addresses this?

So in particular, I'm looking to know the percentages for run versus pass on first downs for the Cardinals under Coach Whisenhunt. Thanks!

I actually found that information.

Here is the breakdown of run/pass play calls since 2007.

In 2007: 224 rushing plays (3.28 average yards per rush), 232 passing plays (6.79 average yards per passing play) (49.1 percent rushing)

In 2008: 192 rushing plays (3.71 average yards per rush), 260 passing plays (7.49 average yards per passing play) (42.4 percent rushing)

In 2009: 219 rushing plays (4.28 average yards per rush), 248 passing plays (7.25 average yards per passing play) (46.9 percent rushing)

In 2010: 188 rushing plays (4.76 average yards per rush), 210 passing plays (5.42 average yards per passing play) (47.2 percent rushing)

In 2011: 213 rushing plays (4.17 average yards per rush), 225 passing plays (6.44 average yards per passing play) (48.6 percent rushing)

What you may find interesting is that the seasons when the team ran the ball the most and the least on first down coincide with Todd Haley's time here. It also shows that (at least of first down) Mike Miller did not call more pass plays than Ken Whisenhunt or Todd Haley. 2011 had the second highest rate of running plays on first down.

What do these stats tell you...and, more importantly, who wins the argument between Michael and his buddy?

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