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Cardinals look to implement no-huddle offense

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals are ready to take the next step in the evolution of their offense: Going no-huddle.

"I think we know our offense well enough now if we want to go uptempo, we can," coach Bruce Arians said.

But there's work to do before Arizona is moving seamlessly from one play to another without the traditional huddle. The Cardinals went no-huddle 17 times in 2014; eight of those instances were in two-minute situations. That represents 1.7 percent of the Cardinals' total snaps last season. It obvisouly wasn't a priority. Wide receiver John Brown said the Cardinals worked on their no-huddle plays at least once a week last season.

Breaking that habit of regrouping after every play will take time.

Arizona has started during OTAs, where it spent a period Monday on its no-huddle offense. It requires precision, a sharp memory and savvy quickness. Most of all, it requires an intimate knowledge of the scheme.

The Cardinals used the no-huddle last season as a mechanism to attempt a comeback. They were trailing in all 17 instances Arians called for it. This season, skipping the huddle will be a way for Arizona to gain an advantage from the onset.

"Hopefully, we can just come out beginning of the game going two-minute and wear defenses out," Brown said.

Last season, the Cardinals averaged 28.8 seconds of possession per play, 13th highest in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In real time, however, the Cardinals took 40.5 seconds per play, fourth most in the NFL. By comparison, the Philadelphia Eagles, who ran a no-huddle offense, took 22.7 seconds of possession per play and 31.5 seconds of real time per play.

"You can change the pace of the game," Arians said. "Obviously get them in a substitution pattern where they're stuck with whatever's on the field.

"There's advantages to it and disadvantages to it."

Brown, who was the target of five no-huddle passes last season, said the first of three keys to a successful two-minute offense was being in shape to keep the plays moving fast. The other two keys, Brown said, were executing the right plays and eliminating mistakes.

Monday was the first practice of OTAs that Arizona worked on its no-huddle offense against the defense. Many more reps are expected -- and needed -- for the Cardinals to make the no-huddle a regular part of the offense, receiver Jaron Brown said.

For him, the toughest part of implementing a no-huddle offense will be learning the protections well enough to transition into them on the fly.

"That," Jaron Brown said, "just comes with time and repetition."

Of their 17 no-huddle plays last season, 16 were passes. Drew Stanton was sacked in Week 12 against Seattle. Combined, Stanton, Carson Palmer and Ryan Lindley went 8 for 16 for 82 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown on no-huddle plays.

Of John Brown's five targets, he caught one for 24 yards. Larry Fitzgerald caught three of his four targets for 28 yards, Jaron Brown caught all three of his for 27 yards, Michael Floyd didn't catch either of his two targets, John Carlson didn't catch his only attempt and Stepfan Taylor caught his only target for a 3-yard touchdown against Atlanta.

Even though Palmer hasn't worked in 11-on-11 drills against a live defense, Arians has seen his quarterback get comfortable with the no-huddle plays, Arians said.

"The way we want to run it, we can play real fast and I like the tempo of it," Arians said. "It's going real well for the whole time we've been out here."