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Offensive and defensive formations for Arizona Cardinals in Week 7

Just some information after some charting.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

I took a look back at Sunday's game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders so I could share the formations the team used on offense and defense. I haven't done it for a while, but that has been an issue of time.

But let's look at how they lined up offensively and defensively:


Arizona ran 69 plays on Sunday.

Quarterback Carson Palmer line up in shotgun on 33 of those plays. Nine of the 33 snaps from the shotgun were with an empty backfield. They ran the ball eight times from the shotgun.

The formation Arizona used the most was "11" personnel, with three receivers, one back and one tight end. They were in this grouping for 33 plays. They ran the ball 16 times with this personnel group and had pass plays for the other 17.

Second in usage was "12" personnel, with one back, two tight ends and two receivers. This was the grouping the offense used 20 times. They ran the ball most of the time. 13 of the 20 plays were run plays.

They went with "10" personnel (no tight end, one back, four receivers) on five occasions, all pass plays.

They actually had two pass plays with four receivers and one tight end. Jaron Brown came in for Andre Ellington.

There were three plays with "13" personnel -- one back, three tight ends and one receiver. All three were run plays.

For four running plays, they lined up with "21" -- two backs, one tight end and two receivers.

One play was "22" -- two backs, one wideout and two tight ends. It was a running play

One was a pass play with two backs, three receivers and no tight ends.

By my count, they used play action only three times the entire game.

The three touchdowns?

Stepfan Taylor's touchdown run was in "12" personnel.

The touchdown pass to Michael Floyd was from the shotgun in "10" personnel. Stepfan Taylor was the running back in the game.

The touchdown pass to Taylor was also from the shotgun with one back, one tight end and three receivers.


Defensive formations work differently because they are based on what players the opposing offense has.

Oakland only had 48 offensive plays. On 21 of those plays, Arizona ran their base 3-4 set. Tony Jefferson is in the game and Kevin Minter, too.

For 26 plays, they were in their dime set. Jefferson and Minter are replaced by Tyrann Mathieu and Deone Bucannon, and one of the front seven are replaced by Jerraud Powers, who is the slot cornerback.

What is interesting about the dime sets is how the Cardinals had two dime formations. Up until Calais Campbell's injury, it was 2-3-6, or rather, the nose tackle would come out. There would be two linemen, two OLBs and Larry Foote. That was the case for 11 of the 26 dime sets.

But over the last couple of games, Todd Bowles has added a wrinkle. They instead keep three down linemen and go with one OLB and Foote. This 3-2-6 set was used 15 times.

I believe this change is because of Calais Campbell. He is so good against both the run and pass, you can keep two edge rushers and still do well against the run.

When he is not in the game, you essentially need two players to make up for his loss.

The most interesting thing in these sub packages was how Tommy Kelly would sometimes play in the middle at nose tackle with Dan Williams, the starting nose tackle, would slide over to defensive end. It looked like the three-man line in dime sets was meant to still be able to defend the run while matching up with more receivers.

The one play not accounted for yet was one goalline set. Arizona uses five defensive linemen, two linebackers and two DBs. This week, it was Patrick Peterson and Deone Bucannon in the defensive backfield. Previously, it was Rashad Johnson and Bucannon. Perhaps it was because of the receiver that was lined up.