During the 2011 preseason, the Arizona Cardinals led the NFL in offense, gaining over 400 yards per game (1613 total yards in four games). Now, most will say that the preseason really means nothing, and anyone who has watched the Cardinals over the last 20 years can recall 4-0 and 3-1 preseasons that turned into four and five-win regular seasons.
But here I am not looking at the final scores. I am looking at the offensive production. Let us compare 2010 and 2011 in the preseason.
During the 2011 preseason, Arizona led the NFL in offensive yardage. They outgained their opponents by almost 200 yards. They averaged over six yards per offensive play. We have not seen any issues with moving the ball overall.
Last season, the preseason offensive numbers were not so good. They produced only 1157 total yards, which was, per game, 114 yards less than the production during the 2011 preseason. They were outgained by their preseason opponents by almost 200 yards. We knew by watching Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson that the offense looked sluggish and that getting first downs was an issue.
Guess what? Those offensive struggles continued. The offense was terrible in 2010, and we can look back at the preseason and say that we saw it coming.
This year's preseason offense does not give us any indications that moving the ball will be an issue.
What does this mean?
If anything else, it should mean that we should be a little excited for this team. If the offense could have produced anything a year ago, the team would have returned to the playoffs. If the trend is to continue, the offensive success from this preseason should carry over. That would mean at the very minimum that Arizona will be decent.
There are questions on the defensive side of the ball, but one thing I am looking forward to is the return of an offense that does what it is supposed to do -- score points.
And watching your team score points is always an exciting thing.