Arians tired of Cardinals’ red zone mistakes
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Just because Arizona has won its first two preseason games doesn’t mean new coach Bruce Arians is pleased with the Cardinals’ offensive prowess.
The team began the final week of its training camp in the air-conditioned comfort of University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday. Red zone woes were a featured topic. Through two preseason games, Arizona has one touchdown in nine trips inside the opponent’s 20.
Arians blamed “little things that are very easily correctable.”
“And I’m tired of seeing them,” he said.
That’s understandable. Arians is an offensive-minded coach whose team has scored a total of 29 points in two preseason games.
“I’m disappointed in the red zone because we talk about production time, not possession time,” he said. “Possession time doesn’t do anything to me. You can hold it for 35 minutes, if you score 15 points you probably got beat. It’s production time, what you do with the ball when you’ve got it.”
Arians said he wants his offense to score a point a minute.
“It’s a very lofty goal,” he said. “We hit it probably three or four times last year (in Indianapolis) with a bunch of rookies, and have hit it a number of times in Pittsburgh. If you’re close, you’re playing pretty good football.”
In Saturday’s 12-7 victory over Dallas, the Cowboys had five turnovers in the first half but Arizona — with starters in for most of that time — managed just nine points.
Center Lyle Sendlein said the offensive line had a significant role in the lack of success.
“We’re nowhere near where we want to be,” he said. “We’re still learning a lot on our techniques. I think that’s one of the main reasons we’re stalling in the red zone. Technique kind of goes out the door. That’s just something we’ve got to work on during the week.”
Carson Palmer underthrew Rashard Mendenhall in a fourth-and-2 situation deep in Dallas territory.
Arians said Palmer’s performance was “average for him.”
Palmer completed 7 of 15 passes for 66 yards.
“He’ll probably say he was terrible,” Arians said. “He knows he can play better.”
Arians wants to use starting right guard Daryn Colledge some at center in Saturday’s game against San Diego. Colledge has played tackle but never center in a game. He missed two weeks of camp with what the team said was a nerve issue in his right leg. It turns out he had a hairline fracture. Colledge returned to practice last week and played against the Cowboys.
“It’s healed to the point where I’m not worried about anybody taking any shots,” he said. “That’s why we waited. That’s why we didn’t tell anybody it was broken. It’s one of those things where you don’t want to be in a situation where somebody’s going to take a shot on it and try to get you out of the game or something like that.”
Most of the players who missed the Cowboys game with injuries were back at practice on Monday, at least on a limited basis. Exceptions were tight end Jeff King and running back Ryan Williams, both out with knee problems.
Arians seemed to be growing increasingly impatient with Williams, who has not practiced since early in camp. Arians said that while King could play against San Diego, Williams probably won’t.
Williams has played in just five games in his two NFL seasons after being drafted by Arizona in the second round out of Virginia Tech. Now he faces the very real possibility of not making the regular-season roster.
“He needs to start playing,” the coach said. “You can’t evaluate him unless you play.”
Is his problem mental or physical?
“I can’t answer that,” Arians said. “He’s the only one who can answer that.”
Williams wasn’t in the locker room when reporters had access.
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