The 34-24 Arizona Cardinals loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday resonated Monday with coach Bruce Arians.
Offensive woes still linger even after the first two preseason games. The Cardinals scored a combined 13 points and gave up 50 within the first two weeks. Discipline also remains a concern with 14 penalties for a total loss of 111 yards in the first two weeks.
Week three was no different. It was a mixed bag.
“We had two really nice drives. The no-huddle was the best we’ve ever done it, especially with Carson (Palmer) at the helm,” Arians told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “We were pretty much no-huddle the whole first quarter. Other than the tip on the screen pass, we could’ve executed that play better because that was a 30-yard gain. The screen runner could have ran it better and Carson could have had a better alley to throw it in but the guy made a nice play. We’ve had two tipped passes for interceptions the last two weeks. They made good plays, but we can’t throw it through people either.”
Four of the six costly turnovers were made by quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Matt Barkley. Barkley recorded two touchdowns on 12 for 18 passing while Palmer had 64 yards and two interceptions.
Drew Stanton, after a few early hiccups, got going after Palmer took a seat.
“Drew was a victim of guys screwing up around him. I thought he was in really good command. He only threw one bad ball really,” Arians said. “Matt had some really, really bright moments and some really, really bad moments. He has to get rid of the bad moments. His two interceptions were just bad balls. He had a nice scramble for a touchdown. He did really good things you’d just like to see those other things go away. His biggest problem is he’s usually high and hot.”
Overall, Arians likes what he sees from the offensive line that is only missing backup do-it-all lineman Earl Watford. Rookie offensive linemen Evan Boehm from Missouri and Cole Toner from Harvard have been the bright spot for the Cardinals preseason.
“When we get Earl back we’re going to be fine,” Arians said. “Those two rookies have done a really good job. They got a lot of time. They had about 100 plays the last two games and they are doing a lot with it. Antoine McClain needs to pick it up. We’ve had high hopes for him and he’s just not quite getting it done. I like the depth and the number of offensive linemen that we have.”
The Cardinals are sitting at 0-3 in the preseason and are looking forward to the next match-up at home with a visit from the 2-1 Denver Broncos. The model for success during Week 4 of the preseason isn’t predicated on possession time but production time.
“I don’t believe in possession time, I believe in production time. We want a point for every minute of possession; we hit that about eight times last year. I’ve gone through years in Pittsburgh where we didn’t hit it at all,” Arians said.