The Cardinals know their Achilles' heel on offense last season was a high sack count.
Quarterback Kyler Murray was sacked 48 times as a rookie, which was tied with Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan for the most in the NFL. It was particularly concerning because coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense is predicated on quicker passes compared to a standard aerial attack.
Coach and quarterback both readily acknowledge the number needs to come down in 2020, and Murray's goal is to get sacked 24 times. Last year, the Rams' Jared Goff took 22 sacks, the fewest among quarterbacks who started all 16 games.
"I think just being smarter with the ball," Murray said. "Obviously, understanding what the defense is doing helps tremendously. Understanding what the offensive line is doing now helps tremendously, and just seeing the defense as a whole. Having that maturity and growing in the offseason, watching film and stuff like that has helped me tremendously as well. So, I think we can cut that number down in half. That's definitely the goal, obviously, is to limit the sacks and move around when I have to."
Murray showed growth late in the year, as he was only sacked twice in the final three games. Kingsbury said his hope is to "substantially" lower the sack number this season to keep the offense out of precarious situations.
"That's been one of our big points of improvement that we've harped upon and talked about," Kingsbury said. "The big one is his first- and second-down sacks. Third down, you're trying to make a play, things happen. We get that. Trying to hold onto the ball a little bit, I'm good with that. Don't take a substantial loss.
"But the first and second downs that really put you behind the chains, we've got to eliminate those. I just think it will allow us to play downhill more. It will allow us to play with better tempo if we're not moving backwards that many times a game. So that's definitely been a point we've been working on, and it's a really good challenge this first week (against the 49ers) because they have one of the best rushes you'll see."