Game Overview ::
By Hilow >>
- Colt McCoy cleared the concussion protocol on Wednesday and is in line to regain his starting duties against the Falcons.
- James Conner missed Wednesday’s practice with an illness.
- Greg Dortch’s receiving lines in games Rondale Moore missed and Dortch played more than 70% of the offensive snaps: 7/63, 4/55/1, 9/80, 9/103, 10/98 (Rondale Moore is on injured reserve).
- James Conner snap rates and opportunities over the previous six Arizona games: 96% and 24, 77% and 19 (blowout loss to the 49ers), 97% and 28, 95% and 22, 91% and 21, and 97% and 23.
- Tyler Allgeier saw the most running back opportunities of his short career last week with 23. There is hidden upside in the variance associated with late-season personnel decisions on teams out of playoff contention.
- Drake London continues to see an insane share of the pass game work in Atlanta, commanding a robust 37.5% team target market share over Desmond Ridder’s first two NFL starts.
How arizona Will Try To Win ::
The Cardinals have a 63.1% overall pass rate and 39.25 pass attempts per average in the four games in which Colt McCoy started this season, compared to 62.24% and 39.8 season averages, respectively. Now compare those values to the 62.5% pass rate and 45 pass attempts in Trace McSorley’s start last week (four pass attempts in overtime). That tells me that #fakesharp Kingsbury has largely not changed his offense through three separate quarterbacks this season, running the same horizontally spread baseline regardless of who is under center. Expect the same up-tempo, one-dimensional base Kingsbury offense with a highly inefficient quarterback now at the helm. The most notable aspects of that realization involve the slot wide receiver and the running back, each of whom can be relied upon to see significant volume in this offense. Those two players are Greg Dortch and James Conner, who as you will see in a minute, are set up well against a weak defense (30th in total DVOA, 30th in DVOA against the pass, and 23rd in DVOA against the run).
James Conner has been the epitome of a workhorse back over the previous six contests, averaging 22.83 running back opportunities per game on an average of 92.2% of the offensive snaps during that span. He has also scored in every single one of those contests, with seven total touchdowns across those six games. Conner missed practice on Wednesday with an illness, which is clearly worth monitoring, but I think it’s safe to expect another massive workload for Conner in a beatable matchup, should he be well enough to play. The pure rushing matchup yields a well above average 4.59 net-adjusted line yards metric against an Atlanta defense that ranks 31st in adjusted line yards allowed on defense. Add in the floor of three to five targets with ceiling for much, much more, and we’re left with one of the safer cost-considered backs on the slate. Rookie Keaontay Ingram should continue to serve as a borderline emergency back outside of Conner not being ready for a full workload.
The Cardinals operate primarily from 11-personnel but increased their 12-personnel rates slightly last week. This is more likely to be due to disciplinary action rather than a changing offensive dynamic after it was revealed that Marquise Brown was held to his lowest snap rate of the season after being late to a team meeting. The team also showed us that they are about done with the Robbie Anderson and A.J. Green experiments, as last week they both saw their lowest snap rate of the season (in healthy games). That shifted Greg Dortch into the slot role while Hopkins and Hollywood handled the perimeter – something I would expect to continue into Week 17 with the Cardinals eliminated from playoff contention (as in, it doesn’t make much sense to continue to feed grizzled veterans offensive snaps heading into the offseason). Rookie tight end Trey McBride should operate as the primary pass-catching tight end, with Maxx Williams and Stephen Anderson reserved for modest, primary blocking, roles. The Falcons cede a deep 8.4 defensive aDOT and generate pressure at the lowest rate in the league this season, providing a path for volume to flow where it’s most natural for the Cardinals.
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