Arizona Cardinals: 5 Ways the Cardinals Can Improve Their Offense
The decision to start John Skelton at quarterback by the Arizona Cardinals will bring some much-needed stability to the offense, but it should not be expected to revitalize the unit that was hardly awe-inspiring in the preseason.
While the situation at quarterback is far from ideal, the Cardinals have a number of weapons on offense that have the ability to produce.
The Cardinals had a solid conclusion to the 2011-12 season, winning five out of their last six games. Skelton was the starter in four of those wins.
If the Cardinals hope to build off that late-season success this year, they will need to make some improvements on offense.
Here are five ways the Arizona Cardinals can improve their offense and light up the scoreboard more often this season.
Run, Run, Run
Ryan Williams finds the end zone against the Oakland Raiders.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Cardinals may have one of the most potent one-two backfield pairings in the league—if they can stay healthy.
Beanie Wells has been a beast when he suits up, but he is rarely 100 percent. The Ohio State product had a career year last year, rushing for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Ryan Williams was drafted in 2011 because of Wells' injury history, but he missed the entire 2011-12 campaign due to a torn patellar tendon that he suffered in the preseason. However, the young back has huge potential and is set to be a big contributor to the offense this season.
Wells will run over defenders; Williams will run past them.
The speedy LaRod Stephens-Howling will accompany the two-headed attack in the backfield. He is an effective pass-catching back with elite breakaway speed.
The Cardinals do not have to rely on John Skelton to win games.
Each running back brings something special, and the combination of the three will give defenses fits. The ratio of run to pass plays should be no less than 60-40.
Get Michael Floyd Some Targets
Michael Floyd celebrates a preseason touchdown.
In one play, Michael Floyd showed Cardinals fans why the team drafted him in the first round of the draft this year. Floyd went up over double coverage and came down with arguably the best touchdown grab of the preseason.
Floyd is talented, and he warranted being a first-round pick.
He may not be ready to take over the No. 2 wide receiver role just yet, but he is second to only Larry Fitzgerald on the Cardinals in his ability to make game-changing plays.
If Floyd develops into the talent he should be, he will draw coverage away from the other receivers and open up the offense.
He may not put up Pro Bowl stats, but his role in the offense cannot be understated.
Add a Wrinkle to the Playbook
Jason Miller/Getty Images
Now, this may be a long shot, but it is something that could pay off in a big way.
You might say the last thing the Cardinals need is another quarterback on the depth chart, and you are probably right. However, the recently cut Seneca Wallace could add a new, interesting wrinkle to the Cardinals playbook.
Wallace ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, and has proven to be a capable passer throughout his career.
With two solid running backs and a speedy guy taking the snaps, the Cardinals could have a lethal Wildcat unit.
And if teams start stacking the box on Wallace and the Wildcat, he can heave a long bomb to Larry Fitzgerald.
Beef Up the Offensive Line
Al Bello/Getty Images
When Levi Brown went down to injury in the preseason, the offensive line became the focus of much skepticism.
No matter who was going to win the quarterback competition, would the line be able to offer protection?
Kevin Kolb struggled with pressure in his face, while John Skelton stood tall. This was possibly one reason why Skelton was chosen as the starter.
With teams cutting down rosters to 53 players, there are some options available for the Cardinals in free agency that could significantly improve their offensive line.
Dan Koppen is a veteran center who played with the New England Patriots. He knows what it takes to be a champion, having been around one of the NFL's winningest franchises of the past decade.
Former Cardinal Reggie Wells is another option. Injuries have taken their toll on Wells' career, but he still has some juice left after being let loose by the Green Bay Packers in their finally round of cuts.
These last-minute pickups could be essential to the team having success on the offensive side of the ball during the 2012-13 season.
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
John Skelton is the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.
Fans, players and the coaching staff should not even mention Kevin Kolb. Confidence is a tremendous part of playing quarterback in the NFL. If a quarterback is comfortable under center and feels the support of his team, he can dominate.
If Skelton has a bad game, and Kolb's name is immediatley thrown around, the offense will be destined to fail.
The coaching staff has chosen Skelton, and the team and fanbase need to back him. If they do, they should see solid production out of the third-year quarterback.
Of course, if Skelton struggles mightily for an extended period of time, Kolb should get a shot. But until then, the team should support Skelton 100 percent.
How do you feel about the Cardinals offense and what do you think the Cardinals could do to improve it? Let us know in the comments below.