We're 2-2 and playing like an 0-4 team. Our offense seems worst than last year despite having more weapons at our disposal. Our D looks vanilla most of the times and is not living up to it's 4th best status of last year. What's wrong you wonder? We are not running the ball. You want an identity? Get back to being a run first team.
It's no secret to people who know about this sport that the key for a succesfull passing attack is establishing the run. It's getting back to fundamental football. When teams run the ball, teams can pass the ball effectively, point blank.
There are certain exceptions to the rule, with teams like the 99' Rams, the Colts of the 2000's, and the Saints of the last couple of years, among others. Those teams have had enough talent at QB and WR to have a succesfful passing attack without being run-first teams. But it's time to realize that even with TO, Chad, Gresham, and Shipley, plus Carson at QB, we just don't fit into that category. We need to establish the run in order for us to pass effectively.
Last year, our team seemed like a serious Super Bowl contender early on in the season. We had a killer D and a killer running game. We were missing the passing attack. We were missing the weapons at WR to be a complete team. This year, we have everything we need to be that team that everyone had hoped for us to be. We're just not being able to understand that just because we added those weapons at WR and TE, we don't need to shift to passing first and running second. Bratkowski, to be more exact, needs to go back to running the ball first in order for us to open up the passing game possibilities. We don't need to have TO and Chad catch 10 balls each in every game. We need them to be there for clutch 3rd downs, long play action passes, and red zone plays.
Another benefit of running the ball is the ability to sustain longer drives. That way our D gets more rest. I believe that's also why our D hasn't played that well this year. It's extremely important for a good D to have a good offense with long drives to give them confidence and rest.
Yet another benefit of being a run first team is easing the pressure on your QB. Carson Palmer is good but not great. He'll never be Manning, or Brady, or Montana, or just an elite quarterback in this league. Palmer has terrible mobility, he stares down receivers, has lost confidence and zip on his throws. But he can still be pretty successful with the play-action. If we run the ball succesfully he'll feel more comfortable throwing less and knowing that we don't rely solely on his passing to win games. Also, we discovered last year that we had a great O-line for running the ball, not protecting Carson Palmer. We should focus on our strenghths and plan accordingly. We are built as a run first team and I believe that's the only way we can be succesfull this year.