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Cardinals, Joshua Dobbs Know They Need Offensive Jump

Explosive plays needed as unit settles in with veteran QB

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs can't escape a sack during Sunday's game in Washington.
Quarterback Joshua Dobbs can't escape a sack during Sunday's game in Washington.

Joshua Dobbs re-watched the video of Sunday's loss in Washington once, twice, a third time. Such is the burden of a cross-country flight home, the emotions of a loss burning inside the quarterback through it all.

The new week brought a chance to watch again with an objective eye, to see what needs to improve – the Cardinals need a whole lot more than three field goals and 210 yards – from the quarterback and whomever else is on the field with him.

"From where we were last Wednesday to this Wednesday, it's like night and day, understanding each other and understanding the flow and rhythm of the offense," Dobbs said, heading into his second start when the Cardinals have their home opener Sunday against the Giants.

Dobbs had six practices to be ready for his first start. The Cardinals, starting with coach Jonathan Gannon and Dobbs, made clear that shouldn't matter – and in the end, for all the struggles of the offense Week 1, had Dobbs not fumbled twice a victory was possible.

But the team also understands it can't have a passing game generating 132 yards and no offensive touchdowns.

"When (Dobbs) first got here, I wouldn't say it felt discombobulated but anytime you have a new quarterback in the first day, the cadence isn't as sound as it needs to be, the decision-making and the chemistry isn't quite there," wide receiver Michael Wilson said. "So if you watch the tape from last week, it does feel like night and day as a whole.

"I definitely would consider it growing pains. We have a lot of guys in our room that operate on a high level and will be their own biggest critics."

The Cardinals only had eight plays that covered at least 10 yards, and two were running plays. There was a 31-yard pass to Rondale Moore, who leaked out on a wheel route uncovered. There was one 15-yard pass to Wilson. That was it.

"We had some shots up" in the gameplan, Dobbs said, but the Commanders defended against many of them, and the heavy third-quarter rain didn't help.

Gannon, with the defensive bent that he has, talked about how as a defensive coach he would take a 10-yard pass completion as a victory on plays where the opponent was looking for a 40- or 50-yard bomb.

Learning long ago from long-time offensive mind Norv Turner, Gannon said he understands the offense's need for chunks of yardage.

"You've got to be able to get explosives on offense so you don't have to sustain drives for 12, 13, 14 plays," Gannon said. "It's hard to be perfect for that long to score points."

Just because the Giants were hammered, 40-0, by the Cowboys in the opener, their defense isn't necessarily inviting, having allowed only 265 yards against Dallas.

"The goal on offense is to get the ball in our playmakers hands," Dobbs said.

Both Gannon and offensive coordinator Drew Petzing have said repeatedly talked about the entire offense – not just Dobbs – needing to improve this week. There has been no public conversation about even a possibility rookie Clayton Tune could get time at quarterback anytime soon.

But against the Giants, Dobbs and the offense will be under the microscope as the Cardinals try and even their record.

"It is disappointing in the first game to not be able to score (a touchdown) but at the same time, when you are in a game, yes you have expectations, but in the middle of a game, the only thing that matters is a win," tackle Paris Johnson Jr. said. "There were a lot of times where we had control of the game."


The Cardinals made a change on the practice squad on Wednesday, moving safety Jovante Moffatt to PS/Injured Reserve and signing linebacker Tyreek Maddox-Williams to the practice squad.