The Arizona Cardinals‘ 2018 season has gone so poorly that as of now, they own the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft come spring.
But the Cardinals have a rookie head coach, a rookie quarterback and as of a few weeks into the season, a rookie offensive coordinator. They’ve lost a lot of talent on defense too. So should the Cardinals’ terrible season be that surprising?
The difficult circumstances may not spare the coach, apparently.
‘Seems a foregone conclusion’
Kent Somers, who spent 13 years as Cardinals beat reporter for the Arizona Republic/AZCentral.com before being promoted to columnist earlier this year, wrote on Monday that it “seems a foregone conclusion” Steve Wilks will be one-and-done:
Wilks held the usual day-after news conference following the 40-14 loss to the Falcons on Sunday and said the usual things.
Most likely, he is as tired of saying them as we are of hearing them.
This is little consolation to him, but Wilks probably will have to do this only one more time, next Monday. It seems a foregone conclusion the day-after news conference on Dec. 31 will be about his firing.
Somers further wrote that Wilks has “failed miserably” as a head coach, “most notably in failing to properly utilize talent and make adjustments on game day.”
Wilks was hired on Jan. 22, hired after one season as Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator when Bruce Arians retired after five seasons guiding the Cardinals.
‘I take full responsibility’
Arizona has won just three games this year, and is the lowest-scoring team in the NFL at 13.7 points per game (Buffalo is second-worst, but at 15.4 PPG); they’ve scored more than 20 points in three of 14 games.
On Sunday, the Cardinals were blown out in Atlanta. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen had three turnovers, two interceptions (one a pick-six) and a lost fumble, and was pulled in the fourth quarter with a passer rating of 38.4. Falcons running back Tevin Coleman had by far his best game of the season, 145 yards on just 11 carries.
Wilks stood in front of the media and took all of the blame for his team’s performance.
“I want to start out by saying I take full responsibility for what you saw out there tonight,” he said. “It was unacceptable. Not even close.
“We had a great drive, went down and scored, went up 7-0. Then we had unfortunate turnovers that really turned the tables for us. That’s not really Josh [fault]. It happens at times. Tipped balls and things like that happen. We’ve got to find a way to overcome it. Defensively, we didn’t do a great job of stopping the run. That’s one of the things we emphasized and talked about. They’ve struggled pretty much the last couple of weeks running the football. We knew what they were going to do in the passing game.
“We’ve got to do a much better job and like I said, it all starts with me.”
Could GM Steve Keim go too?
Somers seems less sure that general manager Steve Keim will go out the door too, saying he has a hunch team president Michael Bidwill will give Keim more time to right the team.
Keim’s entire career has been spent with Arizona, and he has been the general manager since 2013. He was suspended for five weeks in the summer after pleading guilty to extreme DUI, which didn’t much impact his ability to draft and sign players, since it began just before training camp opened.
Keim signed a four-year contract extension earlier this year, which may also be a factor, and Somers writes that his body of work bears consideration, noting that Keim traded for quarterback Carson Palmer, who also retired earlier this year, and pass-rusher Chandler Jones, who led the league in sacks last year with 17 and has 12 this season, and the GM has had some hits in recent drafts.
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