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Friday Mar 24th, 2017  

 Closer look at Cardinals\' offense
posted 8 years ago

The Cardinals used three or more wide receivers on nearly 70 percent of offensive plays against the Bills despite leading the game most of the way. They gave significant snaps to running back J.J. Arrington after putting him on the inactive list previously. I expect Arrington to remain part of the offense after breaking down the Cardinals' production when he was in the game. I liked the Cardinals' approach to offense against Buffalo. They threw 42 passes without completing one longer than 18 yards. They averaged only 7.6 yards per completed pass -- Kurt Warner has averaged more per attempt throughout his career -- but the Cardinals also allowed no sacks. The tradeoff makes sense as long as Warner continues to make the right decisions and the team continues to convert short-yardage rushing situations. Putting extra receivers on the field forces a quarterback to make more complicated decisions. Defenses react by putting more defensive backs on the field. The more defensive backs on the field, the more options a defense has in coverage. The more options in coverage, the more important a quarterback's decision making becomes. The 49ers learned this the hard way when J.T. O'Sullivan threw into coverage with four receivers on the field during a critical second-and-2 play against the Patriots. Rodney Harrison picked off the pass for New England, a pivotal play in the game. Warner has the experience to avoid those types of basic errors. He also has the receivers to make it work against most teams. Even without Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals can produce favorable matchups by putting three and four receivers on the field together.

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