Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018
Rosen remains confident, Wilks realistic as Cardinals’ broken offense takes center stage
TEMPE – A win against the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago seemed to give the Arizona Cardinals a ray of hope.
It was rookie quarterback Josh Rosen’s first win as a starter and gave coach Steve Wilks his first win as an NFL head coach.
But a 27-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday has questions about the production of the offense and the job security of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy swirling.
“We’ve got to do everything we can right now to get this offense going in the right direction,” Wilks said Monday.
The loss dropped the team to 1-5 and exposed a plethora of offensive issues. Arizona’s offense ranks dead last in total yardage with 1,323 yards through six games.
The lack of output has led to questions about McCoy’s job security.
“I would say all our jobs are in jeopardy, including mine, if we don’t win,” Wilks said.
Even with all the noise on the outside about the coaching staff, Rosen remains confident in his unit and realizes the issues they need to address.
“Third down obviously is the glaring issue,” Rosen said. “But I think that’s just cause of a microcosm of the greater issue. I don’t think it’s one big elephant in the room. I think it’s a lot of little mistakes by a bunch of different people.”
The Cardinals have converted just 21.9 percent of their third down attempts this season, which also ranks last in the NFL.
Another question mark has been the use of running back David Johnson. Johnson is averaging just 3.2 yards per attempt, good for 44th place out of 47 qualified running backs.
“We need to do a much better job up front as far as blocking, executing our assignments,” Wilks said. “We need to move him around a little bit more, try to find ways to get him out in space.”
The Cardinals average just 64 yards on the ground per game, another category in which they rank dead last in the league.
Combine Johnson’s struggles with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s 215 yards on the season, good for 87th in the NFL, and it is clear the offense lacks production.
To pile onto that, Fitzgerald has yet to catch a touchdown. Through six games last year, Fitzgerald had caught three touchdowns. He also had 250 more receiving yards than he does at this point in the season (465).
Rosen said that the lack of numbers for Johnson and Fitzgerald is symbolic of the lack of performance by the team.
“I think if we just execute a couple things here and there David would have plenty of touches and Larry would have plenty of touches,” Rosen said.
Even with a stagnant offense, Rosen said he sees his team as one that is talented but simply not playing to its full potential.
“The positive of this whole situation is the fact that that we are a really good football team not playing very well,” Rosen said, “as opposed to a not very good football team playing to its absolute potential. So I think, hopefully, we’re at our floor and there’s only up to go from here.”
The Cardinals will look to right the ship as they take on the Denver Broncos on Thursday at University of Phoenix Stadium, the first game on a short week of Rosen’s young career.
“Everything is just a little more crammed together,” he said. “You got to get on top of recovery and make sure your body’s right. Luckily, I’m young and resilient.”
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