Cardinals Changes Fruitful in Third Quarter

Edgerrin James (Getty)

The Cardinals' offense has done a nice job of re-grouping and adjusting at halftime, and that's one reason why the team scored 154 points in the third quarter of the regular season, most in the league. There are probably a few factors at work. One is the Cardinals have deferred taking the ball until the second half six times this year.

Those moves paid off because the team scored 68 points in the third quarters of those games. A big reason is the team has derived extra possessions in the second half from coach Ken Whisenhunt's decision to defer.

It also helps that the Cardinals have a veteran quarterback, Kurt Warner, who is capable of making salient suggestions and quick adjustments. With halftimes lasting only 12 minutes, there isn't much time to make sweeping changes.

Many of the adjustments the Cardinals make come well before halftime. They have been defensed in various ways this season, from teams concentrating on taking away the run, concentrating on the pass or calling a variety of blitzes.

Warner has seen it all in his 11 NFL seasons, and he feels comfortable enough in this offense to tweak game plans on the fly.

Most of the offensive players are well-versed in this system, since all but one started for most of last season. That makes it easier to shift beyond a narrower game plan.

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