What other grade can you give the Arizona Cardinals' offensive unit but a F? A big fat F at that.
The 2012 season was a disaster on the offensive side of the ball. How so? Let's take a look at the facts. They speak for themselves:
*Arizona averaged a scant 15.6 points per game, the second worst mark in the NFL. Only the hapless Kansas City Chiefs (13.2 PPG) were worse.
*The Red Birds ranked dead last in the league in yards from scrimmage, averaging 263 yards per contest.
*The Cardinals had the worst rushing attack in the NFL and one of their worst in team history, averaging just 75.3 yards a game on the ground.
Not only that but the Cardinals had some of the worst quarterback play in franchise history. When Brian Hoyer tossed a touchdown pass to Michael Floyd in the season finale against San Francisco, it was Arizona's first TD pass in seven games. Incredible.
Kevin Kolb actually played pretty well at quarterback – when he played. Kolb went down in Week Six against Buffalo with chest and rib injuries and was lost for the season. Up to that point, Kolb had thrown eight touchdown passes with three interceptions, owned a 86.1 QB rating and averaged 195 yards in the air, easily the best marks of any Arizona signal-caller in 2012.
John Skelton and rookie Ryan Lindley were brutal while Hoyer showed some promise in his start against the 49ers but that was a very small sample. No doubt that finding a solid quarterback is new General Manager Steve Keim's top priority in 2013. They sure miss Kurt Warner.
Arizona's offensive line was one of the worst in the league and it caused huge problems in running the ball consistently and protecting the quarterback. They allowed 58 sacks, the most in the NFL. Losing tackle Levi Brown (torn triceps) in the preseason certainly hurt while the Cards were forced to play two rookie tackles – Bobby Massie and Nate Potter – for a majority of the season with mixed results. Both performed better in the second half. Look for the Cardinals to focus on offensive line as well in the upcoming draft (may Luke Joeckel be available at pick number seven?).
Beanie Wells has probably played his last game in Arizona. Wells scored five touchdowns but missed seven games with various injuries and can't ever seem to stay healthy. Ryan Williams suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in Week Five while LaRod Stephens-Howling enjoyed two 100-yard rushing efforts but still finished with just 356 rushing yards. That led the team. Yikes.
Poor Larry Fitzgerald. Due to Arizona's quarterback play, the former All-Pro wide receiver had his worst overall season of his stellar career. Fitzgerald had a career-low four touchdown receptions and only 798 receiving yards, the second fewest in his nine seasons with the Red Birds. It's a shame to see one of his prime years wasted like this.
On a positive note, Andre Roberts enjoyed the best season of his career with 64 catches for 759 yards and five touchdowns. Rookie Michael Floyd came on strong at the end of the season with 14 receptions in his last two games, including a 166-yard, one TD effort in the season finale against San Francisco. He is a true talent. Despite slumping near the end of the 2012 campaign, tight end Rob Housler showed potential with 45 catches for 417 yards. He failed to reach the end zone though.
So did most of the Cardinals in 2012.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Beanie Wells, Brian Hoyer, Football, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, NFL, Rob Housler, Ryan Williams