Brad Wilbricht goes inside the critical numbers from the Cardinals 24-10 loss against the Tennessee Titans.
3: During first half action against the Titans, the Cardinals managed only 3 yards rushing on seven carries. The offensive line continues to disappoint, leaving Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells little room to operate. Speaking of Wells, his absence from the first-team offense has been surprising. Most of his time has come in the second half while Hightower has been the primary runner behind the starters. Arizona struggled on the ground in recent seasons but made great strides a year ago. Furthermore, the loss of Kurt Warner was supposed to accelerate the transition to a more balanced attack. As of now, the transition has been a disaster with the running game yielding limited results.
28: QB Matt Leinart's early exit from Monday's game was another surprise as he clearly needs to refine his game. Leinart completed 4 of 6 passes for 28 yards and failed to lead the Cardinals' offense to a first down on three drives. Thoughts that Leinart would pick up where Warner left off have gone by the wayside and have sparked major concerns under center. While backup Derek Anderson has been far from flawless, the offense seems to operate more effectively with him at the helm. If Leinart has another non-impactful stint Saturday in Chicago and is unable to complete passes downfield, a breakout performance by Anderson could catapult him to the top of the depth chart.
100.8: Tennessee QB Vince Young isn't known for his throwing abilities, but had no problem navigating through Arizona's secondary Monday night. Young's performance marks the second time a starting quarterback had their way with the Cardinals as Matt Schaub compiled a perfect QB rating of 158.3 a week ago. Young's 9 of 13 passing for 128 yards checked out with a QB rating of 100.8 and it could have been higher. Young took several shots down the field, nearly racking up even more completions and yardage. Arizona's secondary is starting to come together but needs a better performance in the final two preseason games.
22-12: The struggles on both sides of the ball are all too apparent in this number as the Titans held a 22-12 advantage in first downs. Tennessee was able to sustain drives, moving the ball both on the ground and through the air. On the flip side, the Cardinals struggled to find cohesiveness on offense. For the second straight week, Arizona's best offensive output came in the fourth quarter with mainly reserves in the game. While the Cardinals were unable to secure first downs, the Titans were much more efficient, converting at nearly a 50 percent clip. Inconsistent play across the board has been a major obstacle thus far, something that must be addressed prior to the regular season.
3-15: The Arizona offense was anemic on third down, converting just 20 percent of the time. It started with Leinart at quarterback and continued as the game went on. Anderson and Hall both managed to make plays to move the chains, but they usually came up short on third downs. As of now, the running game has been ineffective often leaving the Cardinals in third and long situations. That coupled with challenges moving the ball through the vertical passing game will be a recipe for disaster. The offense must to a better job of putting itself in more manageable third down yardages and focus on executing to keep drives alive.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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