On Monday, the Arizona Cardinals announced they have parted ways with first-year head coach Steve Wilks. Wilks became the franchise’s 41st head coach after being hired in January. Despite having a rookie quarterback, an inexperienced offensive line and holes up and down the roster, the expectations for the Cardinals were unusually high. The team got off to an 0-3 start and only scored 20 points combined in those contests. Rumors during the tail-end of the season stated that Wilks would be fired at season’s end. Plenty of Cardinals players including Patrick Peterson supported Wilks return to the team next season, however, Arizona’s front office thought it was best to move on.
Source: #AZCardinals have fired coach Steve Wilks. Expected, but now official after his meeting with President Michael Bidwill. One and done.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 31, 2018
The Steve Wilks Era Comes to an End After One Season
Ian Rapoport reported that the Cardinals decided to officially part ways with Wilks on Monday morning. Wilks was hired on January 22nd to take over for Bruce Arians, who had retired in the off-season after being the leader of the team the past five seasons. The Cardinals finished 8-8 in 2017 and shifted towards a rebuild after the retirement of quarterback Carson Palmer and the loss of leading tacklers Karlos Dansby and Tyrann Mathieu in the off-season.
Wilks inherited a team that returned no quarterback from the previous season, no wide receiver outside of Larry Fitzgerald that had more than 30 receptions and had a completely different starting linebacker corps. The offensive line became plagued with injuries before the season began as two starters were placed on injured reserve before Week One and a total of six offensive linemen were placed on the reserve throughout the season.
Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was fired in Week Seven after the team’s 1-6 start and quarterback coach Byron Leftwich took over playcalling duties for the remainder of the season. The Cardinals finished dead last in points scored, total yards, passing yards, rushing yards and the average time of possession. Defensively, Arizona allowed the most rushing yards per game, created the third-fewest turnovers and were 27th in points allowed.
Wilks previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers in 2017 and had spent the past six seasons as a member of Ron Rivera‘s coaching staff. Prior to Carolina, Wilks was a defensive backs coach for the Washington Redskins (2005), Chicago Bears (2006-08) and the San Diego Chargers (2009-2011).
Embed from Getty Images