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Arizona Cardinals look to get offense back on track in Tampa

New Orleans Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) breaks up a pass intended for Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

If nothing else, the Arizona Cardinals were supposed to at least be improved on the offensive side of the ball.

Last season, the team topped the 20-point mark just once over its final 12 games. Through the first two games of this season, it appeared the changes the team made at head coach and quarterback were paying off, as the Cardinals had scored 24 and 25 points, respectively.

However, the Cardinals mustered just seven points in a Week 3 loss to the Saints.

"I know that we're capable of putting a lot better performance offensively," receiver Larry Fitzgerald said Thursday. "Our defense kept us in the game well into the third quarter.

"And we didn't carry our water."

No, they didn't, and many of the team's issues Sunday were similar to those it faced last season. Shaky play along the offensive line afforded the quarterback little time to make his reads, which then led to mistakes and missed opportunities.

"You've got to do a better job of protecting the quarterback," offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. "Because you know, when he's protected, the ball gets delivered."

That quarterback, Carson Palmer, has completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 762 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Sunday's effort in New Orleans was by far his worst of the young season, but his struggles have been attributed largely to the line's inability to keep him upright.

Goodwin believes if that can change, the offense can get back on track.

But as Fitzgerald sees it, there are plenty of reasons why the offense has not quite fired on all cylinders.

"It's blown assignments to missed blocks to occasional dropped passes," he said. "It's a lot of guys making mistakes, but it's encouraging that there's things we can clean up. It's not something that you want to be discouraged about because I know we can improve on it.

"We're going to improve on it -- we have to."

The Arizona Cardinals Broadcast Department contributed to this report

About the Author

School: University of Arizona

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Fall 2008, right before Cardinals Super Bowl run

Favorite sports memory: Being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series with my dad

Favorite all-time athlete: Larry Centers

Favorite sports movies: The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Jerry Maguire

Most crushing sports moment: Grew up in Arizona and went to UA from 2002-06. In short, there are too many to name just one.


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