Should we expect the Arizona Cardinals to throw the ball down the field?

Gregory Shamus

Looking at Bruce Arians' history as a play-caller, he is not afraid to have his quarterbacks throw the ball down the field... even if it costs them their well being.

One of the things that Cardinals fans are very excited about in terms of new head coach Bruce Arians is his aggressive style of calling plays. He has shown that he can develop quarterbacks and work with veterans such as Ben Roethlisberger to make them better. He also did a great job with rookie Andrew Luck as the Colts' offensive coordinator last season.

But there is a troubling stat that Peter King mentioned in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback column in regards to Arians' style. King got together with the guys from Pro Football Focus and according to the stat gurus, Arians called for Luck to throw the ball deep (20 yards or more) on 15.9% of his throws last season. With that, Luck was also knocked to the ground 148 times, according to PFF.

In 2011, Ben Roethlisberger threw deep on 13.6% of his passes under Arians as his offensive coordinator. With Todd Haley as his coordinator, that number decreased to 10.5% and he had one of his best statistical seasons of his career in terms of the number of poor passes he threw.

Now, I am all for going for the home run deep pass, but only if it is appropriate and with a good quarterback behind a good offensive line. The Cardinals have neither of those. Kevin Kolb has proven to us that he is not the sturdiest of signal callers and it is hard to imagine him living through a season in which he is knocked down as much as Luck was in 2012.

PFF goes on to suggest that if Arians wants to stick with this style of play-calling, he made need a new quarterback (or at least a good backup for when Kolb gets hurt) to do so. They suggested both Matt Moore, currently of the Miami Dolphins, or Matt Flynn, the backup QB for the rival Seattle Seahawks. Getting Flynn may be a longshot, though, as Seattle is unlikely to trade him within the division.

So will Arians change his play-calling to fit the quarterbacks instead of trying to make the quarterbacks fit his system? He said he will do just as much, so let's hope he follows through on his promise.

We invite you to follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and like us on Facebook. Also, follow me on Twitter at @TylerNickelASU.

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