Cardinals' offense struggling in red zone
Beane Wells (Getty)
Beane Wells (Getty)

Posted Oct 4, 2011


The Cardinals' offense is struggling to score in the red zone, particularly early in games and right tackle Brandon Keith left last week's game in the second quarter because of a right knee injury.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

LINEUP WATCH: Right tackle Brandon Keith left last week's game in the second quarter because of a right knee injury. He was replaced by Jeremy Bridges. The injury didn't seem serious as Keith spent the rest of the game standing on the sideline with his helmet on, apparently ready to return. Coaches could make a change at that spot, however. Keith has struggled through the first month. He's more athletic than Bridges, but Bridges is a savvy veteran with a nasty streak. This offensive line could use that attribute.

TRENDING: The Cardinals are struggling to score in the red zone early in games. They failed at it in the home opener against the Panthers, and they were dismal again against the Giants. They had the ball inside the Giants 20 three times yet came away with only six points. Part of the problem is short-yardage offense. The Cardinals haven't had success throwing on second down, and they've failed too often on third and short.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

--WR Larry Fitzgerald passed Roy Green for the franchise lead in receiving yards. Fitzgerald caught eight passes for 102 yards against the Giants.

--QB Kevin Kolb apparently suffered a bruised left hand against the Giants. He didn't receive treatment, however, and played the entire game. He downplayed the injury after the game.

--RB Beanie Wells returned to action after missing a game with a hamstring strain. He gained 138 yards on 27 carries and scored three touchdowns. It was an NFL high in yardage. He is the first Cardinals running back to score three touchdowns since Marcel Shipp in 2006.

--P Dave Zastudil doesn't have much job security. He averaged 45 yards a kick but had efforts of 33 yards and 40 in the second half. His 40 yarder was low and allowed an 18-yard return, giving the Giants the ball in Cardinals territory.

--RB Chester Taylor is well down the depth chart. LaRod Stephens-Howling and Alfonso Smith played ahead of him against the Giants. Taylor was active but did not play.



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