If there was one thing that fans of the Arizona Cardinals have grown accustomed to over the past season and a half, it's a high flying, potent offense. Last season only three teams (Saints, Broncos and Texans) had more yards per game and only two teams (Saints and Chargers) scored more points than Kurt Warner and company. This season figured to be no different with ten starters returning and a high profile first round pick at running back. While it's certainly too early to make any conclusive statements about how the offense will perform in the regular season, their preseason performance through two games has been anything but encouraging. Is it time to be concerned though?
First the facts:
Week 1: @ Pittsburgh - The entire starting eleven played two drives (minus Kurt Warner for the final three plays of the second), each drive consisting of ten plays. The first drive ended with a punt and the second drive ended on downs after getting inside the Steelers' ten yard line. The two drives totaled 82 yards worth of offense (42 yards and 40 yards respectively) and registered three first downs on each drive. Each drive consisted of three running plays and seven passing plays and they converted three of five third down opportunities.
Week 2: vs. San Diego - The entire starting eleven played four drives with the results (in order) of field goal, punt interception, punt. The first two drives were simple three and outs that consisted of four incomplete passes, a five yard dump off pass and an eight yard run. Luckily for the offense the first drive started at the Charger's seven yard line so their five yards in three plays still resulted in three points. The third and fourth drives combined for 17 plays and a total of 98 yards. On the third drive they managed three first downs, went two for two on third down conversions and was perfectly balanced with five running plays and five passes. The five runs accounted for 29 yards and the five passes consisted of two completed passes (for 38 yards), two imcompletions and one interception. The fourth drive started promising with two first downs in the four plays but an offensive holding, a run for no gain and a fumbled snap left the offense facing a third and 21.
For the mathematically challenged, through two games the Cardinals starting offense has run 44 plays resulting in 193 yards (4.4 yards per play) and a grand total of three points (although to be honest. They've turned the ball over once, fumbled a snap and allowed two sacks. So the question remains, is this just a case of dusting the cobwebs off of a Ferrari or do the Cardinals have a reason to be concerned?
- Kurt Warner: So far ole Grey Beard's preseason line looks like this....
- 12 of 23 for 133 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception and a sparking QB rating of 51.5
Larry Fitzgerald: So far Larry Fitzgerald's preseason work has consisted of one catch for eight yards.
Ken Whisenhunt: While many believe that the whole "losing Todd Haley will greatly effect the offense" story has been overblown, you've got to wonder if he's still a bit rusty with the play calling duties.
We'll restate one more time that it's way too early in the process to make any definitive conclusions about the Cardinals offense but considering how important Warner and company are to the success of this team, it's worth mentioning at this point. Are you concerned yet? What is the biggest factor in their struggles so far?