Rosen takes the snap. Play-fakes to DJ.

A beautiful rainbow
pass right into Kirk’s arms. Touchdown.“Huh ,”
I thought after watching the Cardinals’ first play from scrimmage yesterday.
“Maybe I was wrong about Mike McCoy.”Maybe this was going to be the game where
we unleashed Josh Rosen, the game where we finally got the most out of our
talented weaponry, the game where we broke out of one of the worst offensive
slumps to start a season in NFL history. Maybe this would be the game Mike McCoy
proved all the doubters wrong.The next 55 and a half minutes would emphatically
show just how wrong that momentary thought was.Now, I don’t want to take
anything away from the players on the field yesterday. It may not have been the
prettiest of games, but divisional road victories are hard to come by, and these
guys more than earned it.Rosen and David Johnson did just enough on offense—to
say nothing of Kirk and his first NFL touchdown—but the guys on defense were
absolute warriors out there. They gave up a ton of yards—that’ll happen when
you’re on the field for 40 minutes and 92 plays—but they came up with huge play
after huge play to put the team in position to win.Chandler Jones had one of his
best games as a Cardinal, Haason Reddick looked like a man reborn, Josh Bynes
was stuffing the stat sheet, Budda Baker and Antoine Bethea were flying all over
the field, and Patrick Peterson was his usual self—and he nearly scored a TD.
Just an impressive, impressive effort. (Even if, yes, we struggled to stop the
run once again.)Not many people have been talking about the Redbirds’ defense
this season, but they should be. They’re a very good unit and will continue to
get better.But I’m not here to talk about the defense. I wish I were. I wish I
were here to dole out plaudits for a well-earned win, to congratulate Steve
Wilks on his first win as a head coach, even to say I told you so. But I’m
not.Instead, I’m here to talk about our offense and how Mike McCoy is crippling
it in every facet—playcalling, tendencies Black
Gabe Holmes Jersey
, statistics, you name it.For starters, his
playcalling is utterly unimaginative. Even the opening touchdown was just a
standard deep shot off a play-fake. Bruce Arians used to call a half-dozen just
like it every game. This is the NFL of Sean McVay, Matt Nagy, Deshaun Watson,
Patrick Mahomes II. Going horizontal is almost as important as going vertical.
Offense in the NFL in 2018 requires creativity, ingenuity, inventiveness—not the
prehistoric pabulum McCoy is having us run. Even the 49ers got in on the action
yesterday, running a nice shovel pass play to Matt Breida for their first
touchdown (after two clever throws to their fullback). We don’t run anything
that makes a defense think twice. (And it’s not like Rosen isn’t capable.)And
his tendencies are maddening. Throw incomplete on first down? Run it into the
pile on second down! (We did that at least five times yesterday). Short run on
first down? Throw a pass they know is coming on second down! Then it doesn’t
matter what you call on third down, because, again, they know what’s coming on
third and seven or eight. There’s a reason we’re only 12/52 (26%) on third down
this season.And the rest of the numbers are just as ugly. I thought we’d be
better in Rosen’s second start, but after his first pass to Kirk yesterday, he
was 9/24 for only 95 yards. DJ scored twice, but he only gained 73 yards on his
20 touches (3.7 YPT). Larry Fitzgerald—one of the best WRs to ever lace up—is on
pace for 54 receptions for 563 yards and 0 touchdowns. That’s worse than the
John Skelton years. Think he’s coming back for another season like that?
(Although he is dealing with a balky hamstring, which isn’t helping matters.) As
a team, we’re averaging 211 yards per game (dead last), including 146 through
the air (31st) and 65 on the ground (32nd—with a healthy DJ!) Youth
David Johnson Jersey
, and 13 points per game (31st, ahead of only
Buffalo).In comparison, Arians was able to put together a passable offense last
season with spare parts. With Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert handing off to the
likes of Kerwynn Williams and Elijhaa Penny most of the season, we were putting
up 314 yards (22nd) and 18 points (25th) per game. That’s over 100 yards and 5
points better than what we’re putting up this season with superior talent. It
sounds crazy but every Cardinals fan would take those Gabbert/Kerwynn numbers
right now—and we’d probably have another win or two if we had been reaching
those lofty heights.Simply put, Mike McCoy runs an antiquated, predictable
offense, doesn’t know how to use his best players (it’s like he’s never watched
film of DJ from 2016), and has the team putting up some of the worst numbers in
NFL history through five games. It’s embarrassing and, more importantly, is
stunting the growth of our hopeful franchise QB. We need an offensive
coordinator who can install a modern scheme for Rosen, not one who still thinks
it’s 2010 (which might as well be 1910 the way the NFL is evolving).McCoy needs
to be fired.Now, it probably won’t happen anytime soon, not after our first win
on the season. But what if we fail to score a touchdown on the road (again) next
week in Minnesota? What if we lose at home to the Case Keenum-led Broncos
because we can’t crack 20 points in Week 7? Would that be enough to fire him
heading into the bye, Keim and Wilks?I hope it doesn’t come to that, but it
shouldn’t have to. The abysmal numbers and putrid on-field performance should
speak for themselves. Let’s just hope Keim and Wilks see them for the writing on
the wall they are and do what needs to be done. Fire McCoy and give Byron
Leftwich, Kevin Garvey, or whoever a shot—they almost certainly can’t be any
worse than McCoy.And do it sooner rather than later. Rosen’s development—and the
future of our franchise—could depend on it. By his own admission, Steve Wilks
may be a “one and done” head coach in Arizona.With each week Larry
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, the odds appear to be stacking up against
Wilks. This week’s news that star Patrick Peterson feels that things in Arizona
are “rapidly deteriorating” and that the Pro Bowl CB “desperately wants to be
traded” is yet another setback for the Cardinals’ rookie head coach. When team
captains want to jump ship after 7 games—-that’s trouble with a capital
T.But—-the Cardinals have 9 more games to play, albeit versus an increasingly
difficult schedule. Wilks’ Cardinals are 0-4 at home and have been outscored in
the newly renamed stadium 47-105...eliciting boos form Cardinals’ fans and loud,
exuberant cheers from large colorful sections of Redskins, Bears’, Seahawks’ and
Broncos’ interlopers.This week the Cardinals have home game #5 versus the
49ers—-the one team the Cardinals have beaten. Currently, the Vegas oddsmakers
have this as a “pick ‘em” game.While Steve Wilks has been sitting on a bed of
hot charcoals—-owner and team president Michael Bidwill has remained ominously
quiet. In a recent interview, the Cardinals’ controversial GM, Steve Keim, said
that he is still in Wilks’ corner, although some “serious conversations” have to
the take place regarding scheme and use of personnel.Thus—-is Steve Wilks
already a lame duck? Or—-can he manage to hang on?Here is an analysis of what it
would like take for Wilks to succeed:If newly promoted OC Bryon Leftwich
demonstrates competency as a play caller, Wilks’ chances of sticking will rise
considerably, perhaps even astronomically. Leftwich is receiving praise from a
number of the Cardinals’ offensive players who are saying that the former
Jaguars’ and Steelers’ QB and BruceArians’ disciple has been a ubiquitous
presence in the locker room and on the practice field ever since he arrived in
2016. Leftwich has built a strong rapport with the players through daily
conversations and coaching points. Just as a good QB must reach out to all the
offensive players, Leftwich has been doing the same as a coach. The strongest
argument for making a change at the HC position is to put Josh Rosen in the most
creative and capable hands. Therefore, if Byron Leftwich—-who seems to have
already developed agood chemistry with Josh Rosen—-can show that he is an OC to
depend on, then switching head coaches is no longer as imminent a decision as it
was when Mike McCoy was struggling.2. Steve Wilks and his DC Al Holcomb have to
show some flexibility in addressing the weaknesses of the defense. Wilks keeps
claiming week after week that the defense is not stopping the run because too
many players are not holding up their gaps or using the proper techniques to do
so. To be saying this repeatedly for 7 weeks does not speak well for Wilks and
his coaches who preach trust, accountability and commitment. When so many of the
students are failing the test—-maybe the teacher should consider whether the
test is too difficult. The fact that Wilks is trying to defend the run out of a
hybrid 4-2-5 defense is proof enough that the test is too difficult. Just look
at the numbers up front—-5 offensive linemen + a TE vs. 4 defensive linemen.
Easy math says that’s 6 versus 4. This just in—-a good double team block can
ruin gap integrity in an instant. Free guardsand tackles who can immediately get
to their 2nd level blocks on the ILBers can ruin gap integrity in an instant.
The clear answer is to plug in a 5th defensive lineman. Wilks has been loath to
do that. The 4 man defensive line also prevents the Cardinals’ defense from
setting hard edges. It’s no wonder that opposing QBs, even Kirk Cousins, are
walking into the end zone off a simple read option. There is no clear edge and
no clear contain. The Cardinals’ perimeter is easy to exploit—-you name it—-on
bounce out runs Authentic
Patrick Peterson Jersey
, screens, swing passes, reverses, RPOs,
etc.. And Wilks’ zone coverages are too soft—-which gives good QBs easy pitch
and catches down the field—-which gets them in a rhythm and builds their
confidence. Defense is Steve Wilks’ forte—-but if he can’t offer some answers to
the Cardinals’ defensive vulnerabilities, then does he really deserve to be a
head coach?Whatever is going on at halftime—-in all three phases—-has to change.
The Cardinals have been getting absolutely dominated in the 3rd quarters. There
were many good reasons why BA always used to say, that the outcomes of games
often hinged on “the first five minutes of the 2nd half.”When BA had Todd Bowles
as DC—-those Cardinals’ teams put on 3rd quarter adjustment clinics.3. The
special teams seem to be getting worse and worse each week. Part of it is Jeff
Rodgers’ questionable use of personnel. Everyone in Arizona except Steve Keim,
Steve Wilks and Jeff Rodgers knows that Brandon Williams does not pose any
significant threat as a kickoff returner. Meanwhile one of the most dynamic and
explosive college kickoff returners in 2016, T.J. Logan, is languishing on the
inactive list. On kick coverages, Williams leads the unit in penalties—-and
right behind him are Patrick Peterson and Jamar Taylor. Flags are flying left
and right—-which does not speak well to the way these units are being coached.
The Cardinals currently find themselves getting into a field position rut—-the
struggling offense so often pinned back in their own territory, made many times
worse by special teams’ penalties. Ultimately, the success of the special teams
and the coaches’ use of personnel is on Coach Wilks. The Cardinals’ fans are
sick and tired of sloppy, error-prone and demoralizing special teams play.Does
Steve Wilks stand a chance? Can Byron Leftwich show enough play-calling skill to
save the day? Can Al Holcomb make necessary adjustments when his defense is
getting picked apart? Can Jeff Rodgers put the special back into the Cardinals’
special teams after a few weeks of Amos Jones-like efforts?What do you think? It
would be great to hear your thoughts before I throw in my two cents.
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