Cardinals experience growing pains with new play-call process

Oct 31, 2022, 7:49 PM
Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler...
Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) sacks Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) to end the Cardinals' comeback hopes late in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. Minnesota beat Arizona, 34-26. (John Autey / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images)
(John Autey / MediaNews Group / St. Paul Pioneer Press via Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals have struggled over the past two games to consistently line up and snap the ball before the play clock expired.

This happened multiple times Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, as Arizona called two timeouts on offense during the second half with the game clock already stopped. Arizona ran out of time on its final possession and lost 34-26 on the road.

The Cardinals offense has slowed its pace and huddled more frequently to account for new faces, which has led to growing pains, as head coach Kliff Kingsbury put it.

“As you’ve seen last couple weeks with huddling … it’s had our moments, trying to get the play called, getting it in, getting to the line and not being pressed for time,” Kingsbury told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke Monday.

“That’s something we got to work at. If we want to be able to do that and kind of calm everybody down from those new pieces, we’ve got to be more efficient and expedite the process. And hopefully we can get better at that this week.”

The Cardinals worked with three backup offensive linemen Sunday. Wide receiver Robbie Anderson, guard Cody Ford and center Billy Price also played in their first games as Cardinals over the last two weeks.

Kingsbury saw huddling as a way to ease them into the offense without relying on hand signals, especially in a raucous environment like Minnesota.

The Cardinals have been one of the NFL’s most up-tempo offenses under Kingsbury and with quarterback Kyler Murray since 2019.

“I’m not accustomed to huddling, and neither is (Murray) really, so I think both of us are still working through that,” Kingsbury told reporters Monday. “But like I said, we have to streamline the process, and it has to get to the line quicker and not be pressed for time to get the ball snapped.”

The operation didn’t go perfectly aside from the wasted timeouts, with stumbles highlighted by a third quarter fumbled snap. Price snapped the ball while Murray was not looking on a third down in the red zone coming off a timeout, which led to a field goal.

Kingsbury believes his team can improve its process during practice so long as each player buys in. He said it needs to be made an incessant priority.


Another adjustment the Cardinals made Sunday was having Murray wear a wristband play sheet on his left arm to be more efficient with play calling.

“It was new, I think it helped him with a few concepts and we’ll continue to try to fine-tune that whole process and see how we can expedite it,” Kingsbury said.

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