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Cardinals in Desperate Search for the Long Ball

Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) and head coach Kliff Kingsbury exchange words during a time out against the New Orleans Saints in the first half at State Farm Stadium. Nfl New Orleans Saints At Arizona Cardinals
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We are now eight weeks through the 2022 NFL season, and the Arizona Cardinals have failed to execute the long ball in their offensive scheme.

The longest play on offense by Kyler Murray so far this year has been 38 yards. This is currently ranked 43rd in the league. Meaning, backup quarterbacks, wide receivers, and even a couple of running backs executed longer passes than Kyler Murray. 

Here are a few players who have surpassed the Cardinals’ longest pass of the year:

  • Taysom Hill (TE for the New Orleans Saints)
  • Taylor Heinicke (Has played two games this season)
  • Trey Lance (Has played two games this season)
  • Brett Rypien (Has played one game this season)
  • Sam Ehlinger (Has played one game this season)
  • Jacob Eason (Has 5 passing attempts this season)

And it is not as if the Cardinals have struggled to pass the ball. Arizona is 13th in the league for passing yards per game, averaging 230 yards. This is down from last year, but it is still in the top half of the NFL.

With wide receiver weapons including the speedy Rondale Moore and arguably one of the best in the game, DeAndre Hopkins, there is not much excuse for the poor deep threat.

Lack of creativity

After all, Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury is typically known for his “air raid” style of offense. Pro Football Focus even ranked Kliff Kingsbury’s creativity as the second-most unique in the NFL, only behind Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers.

This creative 49er offense was put on full display last weekend as they showed off their new threat in Christian McCaffery.

McCaffery completed a touchdown pass for 34 yards. This is longer than any touchdown pass from Kyler Murray this season.

Slow and steady

Without the deep ball, Kyler Murray is averaging only 6.1 yards per attempt, which is 33rd in the NFL.

By being forced to create slow and steady drives, Arizona has found themselves kicking the field goal or going for it on 4th down one too many times. This very well could be the difference between a 3-5 record and a 5-3 record.

As the halfway point of the 2022 season approaches, Kliff Kingsbury needs to change something in his game plan. Fans miss the electric plays, and the Cardinals are in dire need of that spark.

Considering the “air raid” style of offense is what makes Kliff Kingsbury so unique, if he is failing to implement it, why does Arizona still have him around?

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