I don’t need to re-hash what happened against the Rams. You are aware. It was ugly. So looking ahead, I’ll give you three Cardinals that need to bounce back Sunday against the Bears.
The offensive line
That’s right. The entire starting five. This is why it’s ever tough to take stock in what you see during the preseason. The starters looked much improved in a couple quarters worth of action. Now that it’s the real deal, each one of the starters have played poorly. Here is Aaron Donald against the Cardinals last week:
some aaron donald vs. the cardinals. if you don't know who he is he's the DT in the backfield. him & suh are a cheat code pic.twitter.com/a1L3d0Iayp— KP (@KP_Show) September 20, 2018
Things will be equally as difficult against the Bears. Chicago has the most sacks of any defense in the league. They are stout across the front line. Against Seattle the Bears had eight QB hits and 6 sacks. If Arizona wants to cross mid-field, the entire starting line will need to be better.
I know the offensive line is bad. There are ways to at least scheme out of it. That hasn’t happened enough from offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. One of the most common misconceptions about play-action is that you need a successful run game for it to work. That’s not the case. McCoy sure seems to think so. He’s used it on an NFL low 6% of the time. The NFL average is right around 20%. Running it on early downs could go a long way in both getting Sam Bradford some confidence giving him some easy throws as well as being able to loosen up the defense. The team is averaging 4.7 more yards per play when it runs play-action. That’s the fifth biggest differential in the NFL.
The offense is lacking creativity and isn’t putting it’s best players in a position to succeed. You don’t need to run 100 different types of plays to be successful. Look at the Rams, for example. Sean McVay and company run the same handful of plays but use several different motions and formations. That’s creativity.
If Arizona is smart Patrick Peterson will follow Allen Robinson into the bathroom. If Peterson continues to play on the left side, like he has 70% of the time this year, Taylor will have a big target on his back. Against the Rams Taylor gave up some big chunk plays. He couldn’t run with Brandin Cooks, and he couldn’t stay with Cooper Kupp. He has to be better. Taylor was never a star, but he’s played much better than what he showed last week. The Bears second and third options are the shiftier type. Taylor will need to be prepared for both the deep shots, and ready to tackle underneath. If he’s not able to, he won’t be starting for much longer.