TEMPE, Ariz. — No matter whether or not Steve Wilks can lead the Arizona Cardinals to a win of their season finale at Seattle, which might forestall tying the workforce’s worst document for the second time since 1959, the group can have a call to make on Sunday night time or Monday morning.
Ought to it fireplace Wilks?
In accordance to sources for ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Cardinals are planning to half methods with him.
There are greater than sufficient causes to assist the case to transfer on from Wilks after one disastrous season, however there are additionally loads of causes to hold him.
One main issue within the Cardinals’ choice might be quarterback Josh Rosen; Arizona traded up 5 spots to draft him 10th total this yr. There isn’t any extra useful participant on the roster than Rosen, and his progress might be important to the workforce’s enchancment and lengthy-time period success. Any transfer Arizona makes can have to be made with Rosen on the forefront of its considering.
With that in thoughts, let’s take a look at the case for and against firing the Cardinals’ first-yr coach:
When: April 25-27
The place: Nashville, Tennessee
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Hearth him: This one is simple. The Cardinals are anticipated to end Three-13, which might tie their worst document since 1959.
Their offense is ranked final in yards per sport and factors per sport.
Wilks let the offense proceed down a path of no return. He allowed former offensive coordinator Mike McCoy to be a part of his workers, a call that value the Cardinals dearly within the first seven video games earlier than Wilks fired McCoy and promoted Byron Leftwich.
Firing Wilks might be a sign that the Cardinals aren’t happy with the progress Rosen has made below Wilks’ steering. Rosen has not thrown for greater than 252 yards in a sport, has as soon as accomplished greater than 65 p.c of his passes and has been sacked 39 occasions. Whereas he hasn’t proven noticeable indicators of development, Rosen additionally hasn’t regressed. He has mainly simply tried to keep wholesome behind a patchwork offensive line that has pressured him to run for his security usually.
The protection, of which Wilks is meant to be a grasp, is ranked within the backside half in yards allowed per sport and within the backside third of factors allowed per sport. The run protection has given up greater than 100 yards in 13 of 15 video games and greater than 200 prior to now two. At one level, defensive gamers overtly complained that their teammates weren’t doing what they have been coached to do in video games.
Wilks was accountable for his workers, so when the season went south, points with the assistants fell on Wilks. Within the “buck stops right here” nature of the NFL, there’s finally one individual upon whom the outcomes relaxation: the top coach. If the Cardinals really feel like the longer term cannot be rotated shortly, then Wilks’ time in Arizona will finish after one season.
Maintain him: Whereas this season was a catastrophe practically from the beginning, lots went improper that Wilks cannot be faulted for. Certain, if a repeat of 2018 occurs in 2019, the Cardinals ought to fireplace him midseason.
However there are a number of the explanation why he ought to get an opportunity to begin contemporary subsequent yr.
First, basic supervisor Steve Keim was suspended for 5 weeks after being charged with excessive DUI, and his suspension got here throughout coaching camp. Coaching camp is without doubt one of the most important occasions for a coach, particularly a primary-yr head coach, to have his GM. That meant the 2 weren’t ready to have day by day discussions in regards to the roster, which meant they weren’t essentially ready to kind the roster to Wilks’ tendencies. That wasn’t Wilks’ fault. It takes a couple of offseason for a brand new head coach, particularly one who’s transitioning a protection from a Three-four to a four-Three, to construct the roster he needs. And there isn’t any higher time to do it than in coaching camp.
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McCoy’s playcalling was predictable and boring, two of the primary causes for the dearth of offensive success within the Cardinals’ first seven video games. The Cardinals fired McCoy after a 45-10 Week 7 blowout loss to the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night time Soccer. McCoy, whom the Cardinals interviewed for the top-teaching place in 2013, may not have been Wilks’ No. 1 selection to be his offensive coordinator. After shrinking a good portion of the playbook following McCoy’s departure, the Cardinals’ offense discovered a short rebirth with Leftwich, who has been teaching and mentoring Rosen since he was drafted in April. It might be intriguing to see what sort of offensive scheme and how a lot progress Leftwich could make with Rosen and a whole offseason to work at it. Bear in mind, Leftwich comes from the Bruce Arians’ college of playcalling.
Giving Rosen stability with a training workers might be essential for his speedy success. Conserving him with Leftwich for one other season will give Rosen an opportunity to spend the offseason studying Leftwich’s system and working with a single voice. Having Leftwich proceed to coach him via the ups and downs of an NFL protection, as opposed to having a brand new coach are available and have to begin from scratch, might be the distinction between Rosen making that anticipated enchancment between his rookie season and Yr 2, and not.
It is also price mentioning that the Cardinals suffered numerous accidents this season, together with to 4 of their 5 projected beginning offensive linemen. The fifth, proper sort out Andre Smith, was launched in Week 12. Heading into the ultimate week of the season, a number of Cardinals are on injured reserve, together with broad receiver Christian Kirk, defensive linemen Robert Nkemdiche and Olsen Pierre and beginning linebacker Josh Bynes. Not having the correct depth is not essentially on Wilks. That is a entrance-workplace challenge, which falls on Keim. Heading into the common season, the Cardinals had noticeable depth points on each the offensive line and at broad receiver.
After which there’s this: It can value workforce president Michael Bidwill a major amount of cash to clear home and rehire a brand new coach and a brand new workers. Since coaches’ contracts are assured, paying out their salaries for their two-, three- or 4-yr contracts might value upward of $20 million — possibly as a lot as $30 million. Bidwill can have to pay for one other new workers, which might be one other $20 million to $30 million. That is some huge cash for a workforce to pay.