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Cardinals Counting On Playoff-Level Passing Game

Notes: Fitz texts Kirk; Watt meets Goldberg family

Wide receiver Christian Kirk makes a catch with tight coverage to gain 43 yards against the Seahawks last weekend.
Wide receiver Christian Kirk makes a catch with tight coverage to gain 43 yards against the Seahawks last weekend.

The Cardinals' once explosive passing offense has struggled recently.

But Christian Kirk said the unit is where it should be heading into Monday's Wild Card matchup with Rams.

"I think it comes down to execution and for us – as offensive players – not pressing," the wideout said. "We pride ourselves on being able to take advantage of those deep shots and explosive plays. But sometimes defenses schematically want to take that away and make us go 10-12 plays down the field and hope we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot.

"We have to adjust to that. We're evaluating ourselves and making sure we're in the right spots, especially for (quarterback) Kyler (Murray), so he can go through his progressions and get the ball to where it needs to go."

The Cardinals scored 30 points for the 10th time this season against the Seahawks, but the passing offense had just 229 yards. One reason is Murray and his pass catchers – Zach Ertz, A.J. Green, Antonio Wesley, Kirk – have not always appeared on the same page.

The hope is that the unit will be bolstered from the return of Rondale Moore this week, although this will be the first time the Cards have faced the Rams without DeAndre Hopkins.

When the Cardinals went undefeated through Week 7, Murray completed 73 percent of his passes and a passer rating of 115. Murray's completion percentage (64.4) and passer rating (85.5) faded when the Cardinals went 1-4 to close out the regular season. Passing yardage (268) and points scored (20.6) dropped.

Kirk said Hopkins' absence changes the way defenses play them in the red zone, where the offense has struggled to convert. But the wideout believes the team can find ways to be more effective.

"Teams take a different approach," Kirk said. "It starts with making sure we allow Kyler to scramble and extend plays – so he can hit guys on the run in the end zone. We'll be prepared for all the looks we think the Rams will give us and just try to be better in that area."


Like many on the Cardinals' roster, Kirk is preparing for his first career playoff game Monday against the Rams. With a special moment on the horizon, the wideout said he received a text from Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald.

"We usually text back and forth every week," Kirk said. "He just said it's a new season and a new opportunity. Everyone forgets what you did during the regular season and what went right and what went wrong.

"Everyone is worried about what you're doing in the playoffs. You can create a legacy for yourself. I'm just excited to get out there and play on a big stage."


J.J. Watt had a chance to meet Marshall Goldberg's granddaughters Sunday in the Cardinals' regular-season finale.

Goldberg played eight seasons with the Cardinals while spending time in a Navy unit. He returned in 1946 and was a first-time All-Pro the following year when he helped Chicago capture the NFL league championship. His jersey No. 99 has been long retired by the club.

"That was a very cool experience," Watt said of Sunday's meeting. "To speak and have a direct conversation personally with them. We talked about his legacy, and they told me what it means to see his number out there (on the field). That was special."


The Cardinals re-signed defensive lineman Zach Kerr to the practice squad Wednesday, and announced the release of practice squad defensive end Matt DIckerson.

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