Arizona Cardinals hoping to have fuller offensive arsenal after mini bye
The Arizona Cardinals have nine days to rest, recover and work in a new weapon until their Week 8 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 30.
The Cardinals bested the New Orleans Saints 42-34 on Thursday Night Football, their first victory on TNF in the Kliff Kingsbury-Kyler Murray era, doing so with a several moving pieces, especially on offense.
Arizona played with a banged up offensive line and backfield with starting running back James Conner (ribs) and center Rodney Hudson (knee) out. Plus, the Cardinals worked in newly acquired receiver Robbie Anderson on a short week.
DeAndre Hopkins performed in his first game since December 2021 after returning from suspension, and Marquise Brown missed his first contest this season on injured reserve with a foot issue.
With some time to breathe before taking the field next, Kingsbury is hoping to have a more complete arsenal at his disposal in Minnesota.
“With the extended time we have for the next game, getting Robbie up to speed on some stuff, getting Hop back up to speed, getting some of those guys healthy, o-linemen healthy, James hopefully is back by next Sunday, we’ll have a more full array of weapons on offense,” Kingsbury said.
Murray said the Cardinals planned to huddle up more for Thursday’s game than going up tempo and using hand signals to avoid pre-snap penalties given the new pieces. The Cardinals started a new center in Billy Price — who filled in for the Hudson and played over Sean Harlow — and relied on left guard Cody Ford in his team debut– who stepped up after Max Garcia went down in the first quarter.
Garcia started for Justin Pugh, who was placed on injured reserve this week.
“I think it benefited some of the guys, especially since Hop hasn’t been playing with us,” Murray said. “Getting Robbie in there, Billy was new center tonight, just trying to get everybody on the same page. I thought we did well.”
Arizona was called for two false starts, one by Price.
Anderson, meanwhile, slotted in at the Y and received one target on a go-ball, which fell incomplete.
Murray said it is tough to involve a new weapon on a short week and has confidence Anderson will get going with a larger role in Week 7 and going forward.
The Cardinals traded with the Carolina Panthers for Anderson on Monday.
Anderson will get the chance to work through more of the playbook, giving Kingsbury increased options when his offense next lines up.