ARIZONA CARDINALS

PFF: Cardinals’ overall offense in 2023 among worst in NFL despite league-best rushing attack

Jun 15, 2024, 7:56 PM | Updated: Jun 17, 2024, 7:19 am

Running back James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game at St...

Running back James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on November 26, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Although the Arizona Cardinals’ 2023 offense was among the worst in the NFL overall, its rushing attack graded out as the best in all the land, according to Pro Football Focus.

PFF separated each of the 32 offenses into clusters grouped most generally by how they attacked defenses as well as how successful they were in doing so.

The first cluster featured pass-heavy teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs or Green Bay Packers, while the second cluster had more explosive offenses both through the air and on the ground like the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins.

The third cluster included teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles who leaned on 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) and converted on 4th downs.

The Cardinals were joined by other teams like the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers in cluster four, the least successful of the four clusters. Here’s what PFF said about Arizona’s grouping:

They earned the lowest average offensive grade of the four clusters (68.5), relied on the run more than other teams and generated the lowest average EPA per play figure (-0.12). They were also the least successful teams at fourth-down conversions (49.9%) on average.

Running back James Conner’s first-career 1,000-yard season helped the Cardinals earn a league-best 92.4 grade on their rushing attack, but the team struggled enough through the air to rank 21st in overall offensive grade (72.3) and 20th in expected points added per play (-0.07).

The team’s rushing attack could be even better in 2024 thanks to some of the additions it made in the draft — specifically running back Trey Benson, offensive lineman Isaiah Adams and tight end Tip Reiman, all taken in Round 3 — as well as an air attack that should be improved with the additions of wide receivers Marvin Harrison Jr. and Zay Jones, among others.

Between the improvements and a healthier Kyler Murray, Arizona could find its way into a new cluster for 2024.

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