TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals coaches spent part of the bye week examining what went wrong in the first eight games, which they split -- 4-4.
One of the biggest challenges on offense will be improving on third down. The Cardinals converted 31.6 percent of the time, second worst in the NFL.
Only Jacksonville (29.5) was worse.
The main culprit was the inefficiency of the passing game. The reasons for that, coach Bruce Arians said, are varied.
And coaches weren't surprised by anything they found during their film study.
"A conglomeration of mistakes," Arians said, "overthrows, bad balls, dropped passes, guys running wrong routes, not knowing each other quite well enough under some coverages, sacks, pressure."
If that sounds like a lot to fix, it is.
"It would've been a lot easier had I been able to put my finger on one or two things and just say, 'OK, this is what it is to fix. But knowing that it's a problem is one thing, and then emphasizing every practice when there is third down reps."
Arians thinks significant improvement is possible, because the Cardinals have been fairly successful on first and second downs.
Even a modest rise conversion rate would be important. The Cardinals are averaging about 61 offensive plays a game and have had trouble getting the ball to their most potent weapons, like receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
"I don't really care who gets the ball," Arians said, "as long as we're gaining yards and scoring points. I leave all of that up to you guys. The best guys will be out there in the best positions we think possible for them to succeed. Hopefully, we can continue to grow."
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