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Arizona Cardinals’ head coach looking for quicker start vs. Atlanta

The Arizona Cardinals have struggled at the beginning of football games in 2013.

Sure, they marched on an 80-yard touchdown drive on their first possession in a road loss to New Orleans, but for the most part, the Cardinals have taken awhile to “warm up.”

Arizona has been outscored 30-14 in the first quarter of games this season, a trend that head coach Bruce Arians wants to reverse this week against the Atlanta Falcons.

“One thing, stressing to the team, is we need to start faster at home,” Arians said Wednesday. “Defensively, offensively, the entire team — to get off to a better start in the first quarter.”

To Arians’ point, it has been even worse at home. In three games at University of Phoenix Stadium this season, the Cardinals have mustered just three first-quarter points, prompting the coach to do a little investigating.

“I asked each guy, because we’ve had very good Friday practices and crisp walk-throughs,” he said. “It’s that time from 11:00 a.m. Saturday to kickoff…whatever you’re doing, change it. Try something new and see if we can’t come out of the gate a little faster.”

Atlanta, despite a 2-4 record, have dominated opponents in the first quarter of games, outscoring them 41-3.

“They’re a good, fast football team — their offense usually gets off to a good start, because Matty (Ryan) is so sharp,” Arians said. “And even with the weapons they (haven’t) had, they still get off to good starts.”

The Falcons have been hampered by injuries to skill players so far in 2013. Running back Steven Jackson has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury, Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones is out for the year with a foot injury and fellow wideout Roddy White has been hampered by hamstring and ankle injuries.