clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ROTB Roundtable: Offensive Factors, Injuries, and Week 4

After posting a 1-2 record over three weeks, the Cardinals have many questions to answer.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

Luckily for them, the ROTB Writing Staff took their shot at answering three of them.

Don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below!

1) What do you think played the biggest role in the offense's stagnation against the Saints defense?

Alex Mann: I think it was a mix of play-calling and what appeared to be an off day for Palmer. Arians went away from the run entirely it felt, and that cost us in the passing game. However, Palmer did seem to struggle even before the pressure got in his face. There were a few plays where he looked like he and his receivers were not on the same page.

Jesse Reynolds: Most fans are going to blame the line solely for offenses woes and rightly so; the line played very poorly but I believe the blame lies equally with three entities: the line, the coaching staff and Carson Palmer. Many of us have asked why the heck the Cardinals stopped running the ball after the first drive. We weren't getting great yards but there was no need to go pass happy as the Cardinals did on Sunday after the first drive. With the way the line played in pass protection the Cardinals should have run the ball much, much more. The coaching staff failed to adjust and consistently put the offense in third and long. I believe Palmer was another reason why the offense struggled because he played terrible under pressure. According to PFF he wasn't under as much pressure as it seemed and often rushed throws or was just off. As a QB in Arian's system you are expected to stand in the pocket as long as possible and he did not do so on several occasions, often climbing the pocket before the pressure even got there. He is going to have to learn how to thrive under pressure because with the Cardinals line and because of the system he is in he will be constantly under pressure.

Khodder: The biggest reason in my mind for the stagnation of the offense was the choice of Bruce Arians to abandon the running game. We saw what we were capable of doing on the ground on the first drive when we ran it 6 times passed it 5 times on the way to a touchdown. For some unknown reason Arians decided the running game was expendable, we did not need it and put the game on Palmer. This allowed the Saints defenders to key in on the passing game, pin their ears back and rush the passer without the fear of a running play. This put both of our tackles in bad spots and we saw the pressure the Saints were able to create as a result of this. Balance is huge in the NFL and you cannot just abandon the running game, especially when you have it working reasonably well as Arizona did on Sunday vs the Saints. Massive, Massive error from the coaching staff.

Jess Root: I'll give credit to the Saints' defense in large part. They did it to a third team in three weeks. Now, after that, why did they stop doing what brought them success in their first drive? That seems to be the issue.

2) How much do you think the recent injuries will impact the team? What do you think of the new signings?

Alex Mann: I mentioned a few times that you can survive with mediocre backers. However... I do think some of the guys we brought in can perform and be excellent replacements. Shaugnessy and Moch are slated to start, and we have seen Shaugnessy make some good plays in Preseason and make some solid plays in the snaps he's gotten during the regular season.

Jesse Reynolds: The defense took a huge hit when it comes to run defense. Neither Sam Acho or Alexander Lorenzo were offering much in the pass rush department and so it's not like the team took a big hit there. Acho is a solid run defender and a savvy player who will be missed as a consistent presence. Lorenzo wasn't offering much on defense but was a huge part of the teams special teams play. He will be missed there. I know some disagree but moving to a 4-3, even in the early season, is probably the best move for the team because Moch and whoever else the Cardinals bring in do not inspire. The best 11 should play.

Khodder: Neither Alexander nor Acho (despite his sack on Sunday) were giving the team a quality pass rush and Okafor had not seen many snaps on defense, so the pass rush will be relatively unchanged if not better with Abraham likely getting more snaps as an outside pass rusher. Where this will hurt us is defending the run, Alexander is a good run defender and Acho was much improved this year. Putting a guy like Abraham, Shaughnessy or Moch in those spots is going to lessen this team's ability to defend the run. That is where we are going to see the biggest drop in performance.

We may also see different alignments on defense, a lot more 4 down linemen and more nickel packages to limit the number of LB's we have to put on the field at any given time.

The new players are bodies really, nothing special at all. Guys who are bottom of the roster guys at best.

Jess Root: Of course losing two defensive starters will have a big impact. But as mentioned, it won't be for the pass rush. The stellar rush defense will take a hit.

3) Any predictions for Sunday's game against the Buccaneers?

Alex Mann: I think Moch has a monster game, and he becomes a diamond in the rough at OLB, that the Cardinals have needed for so long.

Jesse Reynolds: Before the injury report I was thinking the Cardinals would beat the Bucs by at least two scores, however as of right now I think the game is much closer. Personally I think Mike Glennon isn't going to do any better than the recently benched Josh Freeman and I think will struggle mightily against even a depleted Cardinals team. The Bucs will try to run the ball on the Cardinals and should have decent success with Dan Williams, Sam Acho and Rashad Johnson out. I do not expect the Cardinals offense to play well against an underrated Buc's defense. I see the Cardinals winnings a low scoring game on the back of Feely field goals.

Khodder: Arians continues to ignore the running game, the Cardinals throw the football vertically, the Buccaneers throw the ball sparingly as Doug Martin carries the load, the Buccaneers continue to look for iso and jump ball situations on offense. Mike Williams makes Jerraud Powers suffer. The Cards come out on top.

Jess Root: I predict a 16-13 game. I want to say it will be the Cardinals that come away with a win, but I'm not super comfortable in saying that because of how much they struggle on the road.