Monday, August 25, 2014
Better to have offensive issues now
By Josh Weinfuss
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was going to overthrow receiver Michael Floyd in the end zone and have a miscommunication with Larry Fitzgerald lead to an interception returned for a touchdown, Sunday night in front of a national TV audience was the time for it.
That's what preseason is about, working out the kinks, figuring out what went wrong and why it happened. Arizona will spend the next few days breaking down the film of their 19-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium, figuring out where its offense went.
"We had a number of things that were just off, from overthrows to missed opportunities," Palmer said. "Some funky things that happened on some routes, some drops. We didn't take advantage of some of the looks we had.
"We're just a little bit off and that's not what we wanted to do. That's not what we expected at all."
Terence Newman returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown against the Cardinals.
The first-team offense's sluggish start was unexpected considering how efficient the Cardinals have looked during the first two preseason games. Arizona had scored on its two opening drives this year, but the Cards' first drive Sunday stalled at the Bengals' 37 after three straight incomplete passes, including two straight to Floyd.
The first bounced off his hands. And on the second, a miscommunication by Cincinnati's defense led to Floyd running nearly the exact same route wide open, but Palmer overthrew him.
"Every single series isn't going to go how you want it to go," Floyd said. "You got to get to the sideline and talk about it and move to the next play."
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was concerned with missing a wide-open touchdown, especially one that would've given Arizona a 7-0 lead on its opening drive.
"It's hard for a quarterback to believe they blew a coverage and that there's not somebody coming," Arians said. "So you just throw it on out there and we picked up the blitz perfectly.
"They broke the coverage and Mike was wide open and we throw an easy touchdown, which gets us off to a totally different ballgame, 7-0."
On Arizona's next series, Palmer looked to Fitzgerald on an inside route, but Fitzgerald never broke stride and didn't make his cut. It was too late by time he looked to his left and saw Bengals cornerback Terence Newman intercepting Palmer and returning it 54 yards for a touchdown.
Fitzgerald was supposed to cut in front of Newman, Arians said.
"Those things you learn from and move on, but they shouldn't happen this time in camp," Arians said.
From there, the Cardinals' first-team offense looked more like its early 2013 version than the revamped edition unveiled throughout training camp. Arizona converted just 3-of-13 third downs and ran for 82 yards. The offense mustered just three points in the first half on a Jay Feely field goal early in the second quarter. And Palmer, who finished 7-for-19 for 92 yards, nearly threw two more picks but they were dropped by the Bengals' defense.
Sunday wasn't an anomaly, but it wasn't a reason for Arians to be overly concerned. If the Cardinals had been making those mistakes and looking sluggish on offense for the past three weeks, then Arians would've been ready to worry with two weeks until the season opener.
But there were some parts of Sunday's first half that Palmer was glad happened. He wants them to be addressed in the next couple of days, fixed and put behind them so they can continue being the efficient offense that was on display against Houston and Minnesota.
"This offense has the potential of being a truly prolific offense with the dynamic weapons that we have at our disposal," Fitzgerald said. "Every single week, we have to be taking a step in the right direction and I don't know if we did that today, more of a lateral step.
"We left some plays on the field and obviously we need to get that corrected before, so to speak, the real bullets start flying."