Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray had rough starts in their first real contest running the air-raid system.
Coming in, both have the world watching for many reasons. Watching particularly the attachment at the hip of these two men, and how this new offense will fair in a league that has been around for 100 years based on physicality.
The NFL doesn’t take kindly to these new so call gimmick offenses very well, usually after a few weeks or half a season defensive coordinators figure them out and they become one-dementional and out the league quick.
Steve Spurrier and Chip Kelly and a few others have brought in similar systems and at best had early success, but unable to sustain themselves long term.
So now the same fate alums over this form of the air-raid system, and why should we think that this one will be any different from any of the others.
In my many years of observing NFL football I have yet to see a high flying air dominate attack offense finish the job in winning a world championship. The systems wow everyone throughout the regular season, and fail to be able to turn up to another level to compete for the a title because it lacks the ability to adapt to a more physical environment.
The Don air Coryell system, Run and shoot, K-gun, and any other air attacks have all fallen short of the ultimate goal, and their air it out attacks being grounded by a tough physical defensive team.
Kingsbury’s air-raid has been said to not be the same as the others that have tried in the NFL throughout the years, it is one that is more balanced and has the running attack element that will help it sustain in the league.
On Sunday that was not the case for three quarters, as the cardinals struggled to get any type of rhythm early in the game.
Kliff and Kyler are joined at the hip and the offense goes as they both go as one, through the early struggles they looked lost and confused and also jacked up really high with anxiety.
They looked hurried and it felt like they wanted the success to come before the hard work has been completed, instant gratification if you will. Coach Kingsbury called sophisticated plays at times it didn’t call for them, and his quarterback following his lead rushed and very erratic.
The air-raid system is a rhythm based offense and it needs to have things set-up by its rhythm to make the attack deadly. In other words methodically moving the chains with short quick throws and quick runs using the RPO while operating in a no-huddle formation.
This attack will eventually lull a defense asleep and then the air attack of bombs and explosions can commence.
When both Coach and quarterback are in unison the results looks like the fourth quarter we saw on Sunday, coming back from an 18 point deficit to end that game eventually in a tie in overtime.
How long will this system last is the question, and should it fail can the two K’s have successful careers without each other.
This seems like the perfect combination of coach and quarterback, and maybe the previous failing systems were missing that perfect match element. The element that provides a dual threat quarterback with speed and a cannon for an arm, mixed with a young bright mind of innovative play calling in a balanced attack.
We will eventually see how long this thing can last, we only saw it against a mediocre defense at best against the Detroit Lions, the schedule is brutal with greater defensive teams starting in next weeks match-up to the always physical Baltimore Ravens.
Take this game and the others against tough defenses as an early picture of how this offense will fair in a playoff game, because if it looks rocky and shaky and inept because of the physicality of the defense, then this air-raid will get shot down just like all the others and the NFL wins again.