GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals spend a considerable amount of practice time working on their offense in the red zone. But you couldn't tell that by their performance in the first two preseason games.
They are 1-for-9 scoring touchdowns after penetrating opponents' 20-yard line. They were 1-for-4 against the Packers in week one and 0-for-5 against the Cowboys last week.
Most troubling is that four of those attempts against the Cowboys came in the first half with either the first- or second-team offense in the game.
"Just like last week, we play extremely well all over the field until we get inside the 20," coach Bruce Arians said. "Then we have a ton of mental errors. It baffles me. With all three groups, we had mental errors in the red zone and ended up with field goals."
It's all the little things the Cardinals are getting wrong -- running a route short of the first down marker, failing to make the proper route adjustment, a poor pass, a dropped ball and a missed block.
Arians has kept his cool for the most part, saying preseason is a time for working through such issues. But he's concerned.
The Cowboys committed five turnovers in the first half, and the Cardinals ran 49 plays. Somehow they only came out of it with nine points.
"We want to be able to have a point for every minute we have in time of possession," said receiver Larry Fitzgerald. "Obviously, we fell way short of that goal.
"At the receiver position, we haven't done a good enough job of being crisp. And that falls on the players."
Arians would agree with that. He's hard on his receivers. In each of the last two games, he's lamented "dropped" passes in the end zone, even though both would have been amazing catches.
"I call it the grimy area. You've got to make grimy catches," Arians said. "This the NFL. When you get both hands on the ball, you've got to catch it."