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Pre-Season Debut of the K-Raid

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-Rookie Minicamp Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Turn the K-Raid Loose:

Right now, all that Kliff Kingsbury is revealing about his offense is that it is going to be catered to the strengths of the players.

The big question is---how much of the K-Raid will and should Kingsbury unveil during the pre-season?

First of all, could there actually be a vanilla version of an offense that has more exotic flavors than Baskin Robbins and Ben and Jerry’s combined?

In a word---no.

Ironically, it works more to Kingsbury’s and the Cardinals’ advantage to show as much of it as he can.

For the following reasons:

1. The more the Cardinals try to execute the plays versus live competition, the more fluent the offense is apt to be at the start the season.

2. The more that Kingsbury shows, the more overwhelming it will be for the Cardinals’ first few opponents in trying to prepare their defenses for this multi-faceted, fast-paced, multplei-formation and heavily motioned attack.

3. Off of each formation, Kingsbury has multiple play options and counters. Thus, opponents can’t be 100% certain of what they are going to get with each formation. Therefore, going into game one and knowing that the Lions have been watching the pre-season games, Kingsbury will already have the advantage of knowing how to run counter plays to what the Lions might have been expecting.

4. In a way--veiling the offense is a moot point because Kingsbury already knows that with having dual-threat QB Kyler Murray taking the snaps in a spread with RB David Johnson in the backfield and a quartet of talented receivers motioning all over the place and stretching the field vertically and horizontally, the vast majority of the time the defense is going to be playing zones. Lots and lots of zones. The question is---how many men under and how many men deep? For the offensive line and RB the question is---if there’s a blitz, where is it coming from and who picks it up?

Basketball analogy:

if you were a basketball coach and you had a week to prepare to defend one of the most elaborate motion offenses, like the old Princeton weave, high post and back door attack and all of the various nuances of it---the task is so overwhelming that the best thing you could think of would be to scrap the thought of playing man-to-man in favor of playing a 2-2-1 press (when you want to up or slow the tempo) back into a 2-3 zone. So for a week you get your players honed in on their press and zone slides and responsibilities. In zones---your help is already built in---you are not leaving the back doors potentially wide open.

Versus the Cardinals their opponents will not want to leave the front doors open for Kyler Murray or David Johnson to run through. In zones they will try to have every area of the field accounted for. When Kingsbury uses his elaborate motions---no problem---no defender needs to chase. Misdirections? Hey---the key is to stay at home and expect the unexpected. Worried about deep pass home runs? Run 2 or 3 deep zones.


Kingsbury can dedicate the pre-season to getting the players in sync with the new offense---attacking zones in particular. Playing a veiled version of the K-Raid, is not going to aid and abet that cause. The attitude needs to be---do what we do well---and no one can stop us.

In fact, the more that the Cardinals do well and become confident in, the more overwhelming it will be for defensive coordinators to prepare for.