Tackle Eric Winston leads the way for running back Andre Ellington last week against Houston.
The offense has been better for the Cardinals – or, at least, more consistent.
Yet Larry Fitzgerald shakes his head at such a notion, and it has nothing to do with the wide receiver's personal hopes for more catches. It's simple, really. Fitzgerald wants the Cards to score more.
"I still feel like … we haven't scored in the 30s one time this season," Fitzgerald said. "As an offense you want to be in the 30s. You score 30-plus points a game, you are going to be winning a lot of football games. That's the benchmark we all are anxious to get past."
Fitzgerald is right, of course, that 30 points usually means a win. But the Cards rarely reach such heights. Since the beginning
of 2011, the Cardinals have scored 30 points in a game just once, and the 38 scored at home against Detroit last season (a 38-10 win) was bolstered by two defensive touchdowns and two touchdown drives of five yards or less set up by turnovers.
"Normally 30 minutes of possession time is average and, production time is more important than possession time, but if we have it 30 minutes we want 30 points," said coach Bruce Arians, who said a mental error in the red zone against the Texans cost the Cards a touchdown that would have put them over the top.
The Cardinals have scored as many points as minutes of possession once this season, against Atlanta (27 points, 25:41 possession time).
Scoring more is one of the reasons Arians is trying to nail down more of his beloved "chunk" plays, and why the Cards have to improve third-down conversions. The team has hovered around 31 percent all season, and Fitzgerald knows the Cardinals have to extend drives more often to score more points.
"(The offense) is coming," offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. "We have to get better on third downs and … continue to get better in the red zone. That's what we have been working on."
FLOYD READY TO GO
While wide receiver Michael Floyd is technically listed as questionable with his shoulder injury, Arians said Floyd "looks pretty solid" and would not be limited. Floyd is one of four players listed as questionable for the Cardinals, along with linebacker John Abraham (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (hamstring) and linebacker Dontay Moch, who returned to practice for the first time after being sick all week.
For the Jaguars, wide receivers Stephen Burton (concussion) and Stephen Williams (Achilles) are both out. Offensive lineman Will Rackley (head) was downgraded to DNP Friday and is doubtful, while linebacker Paul Posluszny (concussion) is questionable despite not practicing all week
JAGUARS TRYING TO RESPECT THE WINS
They aren't going to go winless after their victory against the Titans last week, but Jacksonville continues to struggle. That said, first-year coach Gus Bradley remains optimistic his team is going in the right direction.
"We stayed with our principles and what we believed in," Bradley said. "We didn't make any drastic changes. (The win) was a great illustration to our team to have conviction and if you stay true to it, good things can happen."
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew said the franchise's troubles the past couple of seasons have simply driven home to him how difficult winning in the NFL can be. Jacksonville was 8-8 when he was a rookie and 11-5 in his second season. They were 8-8 as recently as 2010. But since the start of the 2011 season, the Jaguars are 8-33.
"I try to use it as a teaching tool to help younger players, and obviously myself to keep me sane," Jones-Drew said. "When I first got to the league I just thought you won (at least) eight games, because that's what we did.
"I really didn't have that respect for wins. … Where we are now and last year, it just teaches you that you have to learn to win."