Self-inflicted mistakes are ‘killing’ Arizona Cardinals – Arizona Cardinals Blog
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals enter the most critical moment of their season Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, but face some very familiar issues.
For the third straight season, the Cardinals are plagued by self-inflicted errors. They are still looking to fix some of the more basic aspects of football, like getting play calls and just snapping the ball in time.
For the past two years, those mistakes have torpedoed promising seasons in the final weeks. This season, however, they’ve bitten the Cardinals early and often, leading to a 3-5 start with three straight NFC West games against the Seahawks (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox), Los Angeles Rams and then San Francisco. 49ers on “Monday Night Football” in Mexico City.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury discussed the situation and the opportunity with his players this week. To prevent the season from derailing by December, the Cardinals must find solutions quickly.
“It’s time to fix it”, right tackle Kelvin Beach said. “We have an opportunity right in front of us, well, we have division games coming up. These games mean a lot more.
“We had the opportunity to win at home and try to string a few together. You can’t have a week that looks good, a week that looks bad. The NFL is about consistency, and we just haven’t been consistent consistently.
The first eight games of this season have been a carryover from the first three under Kingsbury.
Arizona is tied for 30th in total offensive penalties and offensive penalties accepted, according to ESPN Stats & Information. But it’s the kind of sanctions that are increasingly frustrating some cardinals. They are tied for sixth in the league with 11 false starts and 10 offensive holding penalties.
In his four seasons, the Cardinals led the NFL in false starts and offensive holding penalties and are fourth in offensive pass interference.
Since 2019, when Kingsbury was hired, the Cardinals have been the second-most penalized team in the league, both overall (behind the Las Vegas Raiders) and on offense (behind the Buffalo Bills). They also lead the league in penalties accepted and offensive penalties accepted.
Why the same mistakes keep happening is the “million dollar question,” Beachum said.
“We have to find a way to fix this,” he said. “We have to find a way to get the game in. We have to find a way to call the game. We have to find a way to know what the cadence is. We have to find a way to know the adjustments once we’ve put them on the sidelines, and we’re just not dealing with all of those things, the basic things in football right now at college level, as one will say of my former coaches.
The Cardinals have struggled at times with the basic concept of moving play from the sideline to the field. Kingsbury calls the game into Murray’s headset, which is built into his helmet. Murray then relays the play to the team.
However, the Cardinals have burned a lot of timeouts this season late in the game clock, either because of confusion, call relay issues or the misaligned offense.
In an attempt to rectify relay issues, particularly with three new offensive linemen, a new receiver and a new running back in the mix, the Cardinals began to huddle more in their Thursday night game against the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago.
“I think everyone enjoyed being on the same page, breaking the huddle with confidence, understanding what we’re trying to do,” quarterback Kyler Murray said.
The consolidation helped slow the process, Beachum added, but “there were growing pains,” Kingsbury said.
“We have to be better with some of these new pieces and try to calm people down because it was late in the game clock when we got up there, so that’s something we kept working on. “, says Kingsbury.
Arizona is working on snuggling up “a lot” in practice, he said, but an atmosphere of play, especially on the road like Sunday in Minnesota, creates challenges the Cardinals can’t replicate at home. ‘coaching.
Self-inflicted errors have led the Cardinals to trail in games 91% of the time this season.
“It’s amazing to even still have a chance to be there,” Kingsbury said, referring to the division, in which only two games separate first and last. “It’s the last in the league and we haven’t been able to execute like we had to and like I’ve always said when you play so much from behind you don’t even get into your Game plan.
“You can’t really see what kind of team you have, I don’t think. So we have to be able to stay in those ball games.
How can they fix these self-inflicted errors? Cardinals take it one day at a time, Kingsbury said.
They started on Wednesday, going back to basics. The focus is on the little things, Kingsbury added, as well as the things Arizona can control.
Murray doesn’t blame his teammates for making mistakes at full speed in games.
“You don’t make these mistakes during the week,” he said. “So you go into the game and then the mental errors are there, that’s where it’s crucial – the false starts or like lining up in the wrong place or stuff like that.
“That’s kind of the reason why we’ve struggled this season to get these things to happen in-game. It’s unusual for us to make these mistakes and it kind of kills us.