Boehm a surprise cutdown casualty - Mon. Sept. 2 -- OC/OG Evan Boehm was released along wirh OT William Holden, DE Vontarrius Dora and S AJ Howard to make room for a few "bottom of the 53" roster moves yesterday. Cards added two OL's (Blaine Clausell and Jeremy Vujnovich) and 2 DL's (Zach Moore and Garrison Smith) to round out their roster. As early as this spring, Boehm was considered a possible starter. Quite possibly, the Cards may retrieve Boehm and Holden back for their Practice Squad. We confess to not knowing a heckuva lot about the four Cardinal newcomers/we'll have to just watch (and mutter).
Note - Cards filled 7 of their 10 Practice Squad slots (Penny, House, James, Kanoff, Tasini, Tolliver, Vollert).
"Turk" visits 35 Cardinals - Sun. Sept. 2 - Yesterday was the day of reckoning for a flock of aspiring Cardinal prospects hoping to be part of the Final 53 or at the very least, the Practice Squad.
For 35 of them, it was "Coach wants to see you - & bring your "playbook."
There were few if any big surprises. At QB, Cards kept veteran Glennon and dropped rookie, Kanoff. They opted to keep pure FB Coleman while jettisoning big RB Penny and Darius Victor (who had his 5-minutes of fame with impressive runs on the final 3 plays of the Denver game). Among the bevy of WR wannabees, a lone UDFA prospect, (Trent Sherfield) survived the cut beating out (Butler, Willis and Tolliver). The TE position was trimmed to 2 players (Seals-Jones and Holmes)/make that three with Gresham expected to be activated. No surprises on the OL. \Cap Capi is gone (unless he can make it to the Practice Squad). Effort Player du jour is LB and Special Teamer Dennis (The Barbarian) Gardeck. Bottom of the Defensive Backs roster is loaded with young potential playmakers (Deatrick Nichols, Zeke Turner, AJ Howard).
Check out our Position Roster, Depth Chart and Player Evaluation Tracker
This is just "wild-analysis" on my part, but I see this roster representing a conservative, somewhat rigid "infastructure" with bigger and heftier players filling rigorously-defined roster spots and expected to "do their jobs" - a significant departure from BA's "Damn the Torpedos"/"Risk-it" approach to stocking each position.
My hope is that the Cards will perform each week within the Wilks system like a well-oiled machine. My fear is that, without a continuous stream of successes from week to week, performance will be lackluster and less than spirited. (But that's why they play the game - we'll see).
Nut-Cutting Time - Aug. 24, 2018 - Cards set up their preseason schedule so that they could get long looks at the up & coming guys on their entire roster before "Graduation Day" (Preseason Game #3) vs. the Cowboys:
This is the first year in a long while where we don't have a full idea of what the Cardinals will be like under a new coaching staff, new offensive and defensive philosophies, new QB's and new personnel. Most NFL teams tend to hide their regular season motives during the preseason and typically don't show much thigh until the third preseason game (this year the Cards play "Jerry's Kids"). This is what we'll be looking for:
Here's to the health of our starting and backup QB. Will Josh Rosen show continued improvement (especially in crunch time situations)?
And here's to the continued health of RB David Johnson. Will Chase Edmunds continue to show continued improvement? Will this be a coming out party for electrifying rookie return dude, TJ Logan?
Who'll separate from our talented pack of aspiring WR's? (Are the writers serious when they compare Christian Kirk to OJB)?
How well are Seals-Jones and Holmes stepping up to be factors at TE?
Which backup O-linemen are stepping up? Will Boehm fill the bill at backup center? Are we solid enough at starting and #2 RT
Do our new backup DT's (Tupou and N Williams) have game? WIll the Deech finally be ready to go?
Want to take a closer look at Haason Reddick (Is he really a sideline-to-sideline force)? Which new guys on the front seven will (a) be solid in run-defense and (b) adept at getting to the QB?
At CB: Taylor or Benwikere?
Save me a seat for Sunday night.
Cards Lose Starting Center - Aug. 7 - The Cardinals open the practice week leading up to their first preseeason game with the Chargers minus what OC Mike McCoy described as "the heartbeat of the offensive line."
Starting center AQ Shipley "felt something pop" in his knee - further tests revealed A.Q. will be out for the entire season with a torn ACL He'll be replaced by rookie center, Mason Cole.
Bottom line (at least for now) is that we'll lose a team leader - long on leadership and a bit challenged physically - who'll be replaced by a bright, physically gifted rookie in Cole. Behind Cole on the Cardinal depth chart are Daniel Munyer and Evan Boehm. Munyer had been third-team center. Boehm had been drafted as a center but had been slotted in as 2nd team guard. Cards will also explore the open market for additional depth at center.
We won't know the impact of Shipley's loss until we see how well the revamped O-line executes in "live" action vs. the Chargers and ensuing preseason games.
For Cole, it certainly figures to a trial by fire, but hey! Welcome to the NFL, rookie.
Odds & Ends - Aug. 7 - Fan reaction to the Red & White practice, Saturday, appeared to be a great, big, yawning "Meh!" (Let's put it this way - After the annual training camp scrimmage, fans are usually treated to a healthy dose of overhype. Didn't happen this past Saturday). General impression:
National media attention will continue to be on the Rosen - Bradford QB battle. (This would be a major mistake - Entire Card roster- top to bottom - is much better than that).
Rookie RB Chase Edmonds (Fordham) looks like the real deal backing up David Johnson
TE and WR situation remains very unsettled.
OL looked talented and deep before Shipley went down.
On the DL, all eyes will be on Nkemdiche.
Golden's recovery sked remains uncertain - till then, we need another pass rushing DE opposite C Jones.
Starting LB crew (Reddick - Bynes - Buccannon) seems fine, but depth behind the starting 3 is iffy
Secondary looks like it will be OK, but remaining question concerns #2 CB opposite Peterson.
Because of the various unknowns, the Charger game, Sat night, should be all the more interesting.
Late Signings Reported - July 26 - Opening Camp a wee bit thin at Inside LB and Safety, the Cards were reported to have signed ex-Steeler LB arthur Moats and ex-Raider safety Tre Boston. (Caution - Neither signing has been confirmed yet on the official Cardinal website/Moats' signing was reported by 247Sports. Boston's deal was first reported by Adam Schefter). Moats logically slots in behind Josh Bynes at MLB on the defensive depth chart. Cards - said to utilize Budda Baker in a slot-hybrid CB/S ala Honey Badger - supposedly wanted experienced depth as a co-safety along side Antoine Bethea. Update - Cards also signed 4 year veteran DE Jacquies Smith (who racked up 13.5 sacks in two seasons with the Bucs) and released Praise Martin Oquike to Waived-Injured.
Camp Opens - Many Questions to be Answered
July 24, 2018 - For several years in a row, Cardinal fans, looking forward to the opening of training camp, have been blessed with a fairly good idea of what they had at each spot on the roster. This could be narrowed down to a half-dozen position battles within the context of offensive and defensive systems that were solidly in place.
This year is different:
The Cardinals have a new coaching staff.
New offensive and defensive systems are being installed.
Front-office leadership and credibility took a hit when GM Steve Keim was cited for DUI - we don't know how the players, coaches and management staff will deal with what at the very least must be a pretty challenging problem.
There's been a top-to-bottom turnover at QB.
Missing from the squad are the Honey Badger and other game-changers.
The team is thin at WR (Fitz is near-eligible for AARP) and even thinner at TE.
Things have changed within the NFC-West division: Seattle's down, SF is positioning themselves for a solid run up the ladder and the Rams look like the team to beat.
With this in mind, some early prognosticating:
The Cards will have to get lucky on the injury front - depth is thin, & there are few if any positions where they can absorb even a single key injury.
At QB the Cards turned lemons into lemon-aide at QB; turning a "3-owl" ("Who-Who-Who") depth chart into "Bradford, Rosen, Glennon."
What used to be a 5+-deep WR corp now consists of FItz, JJ Nelson, Kirk and a bunch of guys named "Pleased to meetcha."
O-line depth looks to be more solid, but it wasn't as if it was Pro Bowl across the front-5 in the first place. These guys will have to prove they deserve respect from teammates and competitors.
David Johnson took away one story-line from the I-Pads of most writers, when he decided reporting for Training Camp early was more important to him than contract posturing. That we need DJ to stay healthy is an understatement. Depth behind him features a couple of smallish speedsters (Logan and Penny) and a banger (Penny).
Over on the other side of the ball, the Cards will go to a 4-3 base defense. Chandler Jones remains the prime Cardinal pass rushing threat, and the hope is that Markus Golden (ACL) will come off PUP to man the other bookend spot.
Inside, this figures to be a make or break year for former 1st round pick Robert Nkemdiche, but you never know - (there are more examples of pheenoms who never make it than there are those who evolve into late-bloomers.
Where, inside a 3-4, Jones and Golden would have been WILL and SAM OLB's, they'll be considered DE's inside the 4-3. MIKE will be held down by the overachieving Josh Bynes and the Outside held down by former 1st rounder Reddick and probably former $-LB Deone Bucannon.
The Cardinals took a hit in the secondary when Tyrann Mathieu flew the coop. Budda Baker (with only part of a first season under his belt) seems similar to the Badger in size and playing style. Either he could be paired with Antoine Bethea (who had career numbers last year) or be spotted as a slot-safety/corner, with the hope that some other Cardinal player will emerge as another traditional safety. The ongoing question of "who'll play #2 corner opposite Patrick Peterson remains unanswered - gotta hope that a backup corner either lives up to athletic potential or develops under the supervision of former DB coach Wilks. (Note- Interesting that the Cardinals have three U of Washington safeties (Baker, Dixon and Turner on their current roster).
The Cards seem relatively set at the traditional special teams positions (Lee, Dawson and Brewer) but we know all too well what a rash of injuries can do to an apparently solid position.
Bottom-line: New situation. Plenty of "Ifs." Hard to predict anything with much certaintly. Stay tuned.
Keim and Bidwill: What were they thinking?
July 11, 2018 - I guess, when you don't have anything else to talk about (i.e. when you haven't added key personnel or signed any key players) you can always turn to politics or the police blotter. First the Cardinals gave us "Keim's DUI" and now we have Michael Bidwill's endorsement of SCOTUS candidate, Brett Kavanaugh. (Two national-level non-football stories about the Cardinals on two consecutive days - oh my!).
According to news reports, Mr Bidwill and Judge Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Prep together, and a letter of endorsment was spearheaded by four members of the 1983 class - including Michael Bidwill, “I’ve known him for more than 37 years,” said Bidwill (who attended Kavanaugh’s wedding ). “We stayed in close contact over the years – we have a pretty tight high school class..."
The letter gained national attention and garnered commnent in both news and sports media circles - chief criticsm centering on its juxtaposition to the NFL/Trump "kneel-down controversy and the feeling that the owners "wanted to have it both ways" - squelching political dissent among the players, while feeling free to express their own political opinions (including the endorsement of by Michael Bidwill).
Time for me to chime in:
Rebellion is part of my DNA. To feel strongly about something and not do or say something about it goes against my nature. But I also understand that actions have consequences, and those who disagree with you have the right - via argument or even action (however odiuus) - to push back hard.
I've been a Cardinal football fan since 1947. In doing so, I've rooted for a number of really bad Cardinal teams and even worse management leadership. Nevertheless, I remained loyal to the Cards. And now we come to a point in Cardinal history where the GM was busted for DUI and ownership feels free to make a political statement that I have problems with. What to do?
I have no problem with the process whereby Michael or anybody else has the right to make a political statement. I do have problems about (1) lack of fairness - i.e. Michael can say what he wants, but expressions of social-dissent by his players are limited or squelched altogether, (2) how Judge Kavanaugh came to be nominated - i.e. byproduct of "stolen" "Gore"vote count and "Russian vote-tampering", & stolen Supreme Court appointment and (3) the threat to the democracy that his appointment would have on expanding the absolute power of the President to essentially give him a "get out of jail pass."
I believe that, as American citizens, we each draw a line where we separate "teeth gritting" and "enough is enough" and believe that we're now at that point where we cross that bridge (but also pay the toll).
I have no problem with Michael and his classmates making the case to support their childhood friend, but only if he also puts in place a mechanism for encouraging Cardinal players to express dissent about issues they have strong opinions about. (I also have serious concerns with where Judge Kavanaugh stands on health care, womens rights, presidential authority and other issues).
Bottom line - Michael B hasn't done anything (yet) to make me stop rooting for the Cardinals, but I think he can turn a lemon into lemon-aide by opening up fair and appropriate avenues for his players to express their dissent.
Steve Keim Nabbed for DUI
July10, 2018 - I was really hoping that I'd catch a break during the "news hole" between the end of mini-camp and the start of regular training season. Instead, my blissful 6 weeks of catching a few rays on the back deck and listening to the "lost" Coltrane tapes was interrupted by news that Steve Keim was cited for DUI in Chandler, July 4th.
My first reaction was to ignore the news (After all, Cardinal fans are more interested in who's gonna play CB opposite Patrick Peterson than they are a local police blotter).
But something at the back of my overly-busy mind wouldn't let me drop it. I'm not all that sure that everything will fit into the appropriate hole in the proverbial logic jigsaw puzzle; but here goes.
First, this involves the top (non-owner) dawg in the Cardinal hierarchy, so it can't be ignored. After the incident was reported, Steve and the organization apparently said and did all the right things including the following statement:
“I truly regret my incredibly poor judgment and inexcusable actions. Everyone associated with the NFL and its teams is held to a high standard of behavior and I obviously failed to meet that. I sincerely apologize to our organization and its fans as well as to my family. I accept full responsibility for my actions and hold myself completely accountable. Moving forward, I will take the steps to ensure that I never put myself or the Cardinals in this type of situation again”).
I expect there will be an avalanche of judgment ((from "fire him" to "what's the big deal?") from Cardinal fans (aka the "peanut" gallery"). They'd be right to chime in. (This is serious stuff. For Pete's sake, Steve could have wrecked his car or even worse, maimed or killed innocent people - including himself).
That said, we don't fully understand the context within which the transgression took place. Was it a once-in-a-lifetime "bad decision" and a lesson-learned? Or was it part of a more ingrained pattern of behavior that can't be ignored and should be considered a "red flag?"? Is the Cardinal corporate-style more "live/let live?" Or is it more striaght-laced? Equally as important - Will Steve will continue to have the respect of the coaches and players (& if he's lost it, can he regain it).
Looking at things from a fan's perspective, the Cards seem to be a tight-knit football family and more likely to have a handle on the situation than would the average fan.
So rather than pass judgment, I'd rather strongly suggest (& assume) that Steve, Michael B, Coach Wilks and other members of the Cardinal family take Steve's DUI citation seriously, roll up their sleeves to put the matter in its propert perspective and do the right thing (by Steve, the team and its fans) to remedy and monitor the situation.
Unconfirmed) - Cards Said to Trade for CB#2
May. 20, 2018 - There are unconfirmed reports that the Cards are on the verge of acquiring veteran Cleveland CB Jamar Taylor for a 2020 sixth round pick.
Taylor was well-regarded prior to stints for the Browns and Dolphins, but never really lived up to expectations. He obviously is nowhere close to being a "Patrick Peterson" clone, but his presence would add a much-needed "floor" to the long list of contenders for the #2 position opposite PP21.
Prelim Verdict - It was a much needed trade that adds some stability to the secondary but doesn't automatically make us perfect at both corners.
2018 Schedule Released
Apr. 20, 2018 - Here are the top-line takeways:
We open at home vs. Redskins
Three of first four games are at home,
Maxmium number of consecutive Away games are two (it happens three times during the season)
Our Bye Week is smack dab in the middle of the season (Week #9)
We have one 10 am (AZT) game (@ Vikes) and three 11 am (AZT) games (@ KC, @ GB and @ Atlanta
Potential Snow/Cold/Ice Days: Dec. 2 @ Green Bay and Dec. 16 & Atlanta (with Nov. 11 @ KC an extreme long shot).
Final Game (could mean a playoff spot/or could be irrelevent) is Dec. 30 @ Seattle
The other teams in our division each appear five-times on non-Sunday afternoon national TV.
But other than the national tv snub, I think we came our pretty good - no lengthy road trips; we open at home; (with the exception of the GB game), we're unlikely to be clobbered by blizzards.
Mar. 19, 2018 (10:50 am ET) - Cards re-signed Bynes and signed former Giant FA guard Justin Pugh and former Bengal OL Andre Smith. For the first time in a few years, the Card WR Room will be Brownless (both Smaoky and Jaron moved on to greener pastures). Josh Mauro was released.
In general, what Steve Keim seems to have done over the past several weeks is to minimize the likelihood that the Cardswill be held hostage in the draft toward filling roster needs. The only major exception being big time voids at WR (where we're down to FItz and JJ Nelson as fixtures - see more below).
To accomplish this, Keim's strategy seems to be too move financial resources around to strengthen the OL and rebuild QB depth with money freed up by the departure of Tyrann Mathieu and the exit of both Browns (Smoky and Jaron) from the WR corps. Cards are said to be very much in contention to sign a CB with starting potential in EJ Gaines.
The moves leave us with (1) a top-level (when healthy) QB and his backup, (2) solid front-line and backup depth at all positions across the OL, (3) the loss of a playmaker in the secondary (the Badger) and (4) a WR corps consisting of Fitz, JJ Nelson and ("who?"
Mar. 15, 2018 (10:50 am ET) - Cards are expected to re-sign LB Josh Bynes. They're hosting a visit by Giant OG Justion Pugh. They're expected to sign Bengal OL Andre Smith
Cards Add/Lose Talent
Mar. 14, 2018 - Cards took a major step in addressing their absence of a QB situation by coming to terms with former Viking Sam Bradford. His most notable traits are: (1) pinpoint accuracy and (2) a history of injuries. He is expected to be joined by Bear QB Mike Glennon. Gone are: RB Adrian Peterson and DB Tyrann Mathieu. There are also uncorroborated reports that WR Smoky Brown and OLB Kareem Martin are headed elsewhere.
I'd rather not overreact or react prematurely, but I would like to share a few thoughts:
I'm not a big fan at pointing fingers at Management directly after a personnel move (because we seldom have the complete back story and would be better served to see how events pan out over time. That said - I hate for us to acquire unexpected gems, smile at our "luck" & spend a lot of time developing them only to give them up for nothing (i.e. kind of makes us a minor league player development resource for other NFL teams). Giving up talent for nada does not make sense to me - therefore, my angst at losing AP, the Badger, Smoky and K-Mart.
And as a fan, I worry that the Cardinals will be less fun to root for than when we had CC, Tyrann, AP, K-Mart and Smoky.
Fitz to Return
Feb. 19, 2018 - This is a very big deal. Although most of the tea-leaves pointed to Larry Fitzgerald's return, we could never be totally sure he'd back until he made it official. It's official - Fitz will be back for 2018.
The reason it's a big deal is that Fitz has shown little if any evidence of slowing down - all indications are that, barring injury, he will continue to produce at an elite level and stabilze a passing attack that otherwise has gaping structual hoies - from (any) QB to reliability at WR, TE or the OL.
"Leadership" is a much overapplied term that out-of-town media people label any player with decent stats and several years under their belt. You could say that about Fitz, but you'd come up way short. From the way he leads his life off the field to the way he plays the game, we are talking about a rare human being determined to get everything possible out of his life inside and outside football - a well-earned "face of the franchise." He not only makes the Cards better offensively, he makes the entire team environment and culture better (i.e. a team any FA would be interested in joining).
Coaching Staff Signed
Feb. 15, 2018, 2018 - The listing of coordinators and assistant coaches is typically little more than a footnote in most NFL rosters, but this season, the list takes on more importance for a number of reasons. First, we have a new coach who, understandably comes in with his own ways of doing things and people he can trust to implement them. And nearly as important is the new head coach's apparent belief in delegating authority and driving responsibility as far down as possible on the coaching totem pole. For these reasons, Cardinal fans would be well-advised to know who the coaching assistants (and their strengths & weaknesses) are. The Transactions release in my local newspaper lists Cardinal assistant coaches as follows:
- Head Coach: Steve Wilks
- Offensive Coordinator: Mike McCoy
- Defensive Coordinator: Al Holcombe
- ST Coordinator: Jeff Rodgers
- Quarterback Coach: Byron Leftwich
- RB Coach: Kirby Wilson
- Ass't RB Coach: Terry Allen
- WR Coach: Ken Garver
- TE Coach:Jason Michael:
- OL Coach: Ray Brown
- Assistant OL Coach: Steve Heiden
- Offensive QC Coach: Troy Rothenbuhler
- Offensive Assistant Coach: Cameron Turner
- Senior Assistant DL Coach: Don Johnson
- Assistant DL Coach: Chris Achuff
- LB Coach: Larry Foote
- DB Coach: David Merritt Sr.
- Assistant DB Coach: Charlie Harbison
- Defensive QC Coach: Alomso Escalante
- Assistant ST Coach: Randal McCray
- Ass't to Head Coach: Ben Burress
- Strength & Conditioning Coach: Buddy Morris
Welcome to the Cardinal family, gentlemen.
OC: Everything Points to McCoy
Jan. 26, 2018 - According to the official Cardinal website, there are "multiple reports" that HC Steve Wilks is closing in on hiring an offensive coordinator and that it will be former Chargers HC Mike McCoy. Both the Cardinal website and other sources have been careful to qualify their reports; preferring instead to advise that the 2 parties are "close to a deal."
McCoy was former Chargers head coach and most recently, Denver Offensive Coordinator who was let go in Nov. He was up for the Cardinal HC post five years ago, but accepted the Chargers post instead. He started out 9 & 7 in his first two years but tailed off at 4 & 12 and 5 & 11 during the next two seasons and was fired. He then hooked up with Denver as its OC but, after one successful season where he coached Peyton Manning, Denver started the next season at 3 & 11 and McCoy was let go. Some say McCoy was victim of unusual circumstances - an unsettled QB situation; (benching Trevor (who?) Simeon and starting Brock Osweiler.
According to CBS Sports: "The Cardinals seem likely to undergo an identity change on offense under McCoy, as his system differs greatly from that of retired coach Bruce Arians. (Carson Palmer has been already lost to retirement and they do not have a definitive QBOF on the roster. it would not be a surprise if they tabbed a passer for McCoy to develop in the first round of the draft."
McCoy - Early fan reaction mixed but passionate:
Extremely creative offensive mind who can balance a running game with an explosive passing offense. Smarts and creativity to pick apart defenses, create favorable match-ups
Cons: Offense can get complex. Saw him as most effective when a savvy vet runs the offense: (Rivers, Manning). Thought he might have overloaded Simien as the year went on -- although he did note the Broncos O-line situation sounded worse than the Cards, so take that fwiw
Fan B: "Incredible how this guy keeps getting jobs because he was the Peyton’s OC...."
Fan C: "He has never developed a young qb. He worked mostly with veterans qbs ( Delhomme, Manning, Rivers) Not a good sign."
Fan D: "Actually it's a sign that QBOF ain't being drafted this year, unless they luck into one..."
Fan E: "We’re going to sign Brock F’ing Osweilier. Watch."
FanF: "I don't like the hire, but I understand it."
Fan G: "It’s just unbelievable how this dude keeps getting jobs. “Let’s hire a guy who rode Manning’s coattails, sucked as a HC with a good QB, and was abysmal with bad QBs and wasted good talent at the RB and WR positions with poor scheming.”
Fan H: I'm comfortable with this choice. In fact, I even like it. ..."
Fan I: "His role is a sort of tutor of our head coach?"
Fan J: "Run game to protect the young QB. Mc Coy is not being hired as a head coach...Good times in store"
Fan K: ...Completely overlooking what he has done at his career stops.
1. Squeezed career years out of Jake Delhomme and Kyle freaking Orton
2. When he was handed Tebow, he turned the **** popsicle into the best rushing offense in the league and beat the steelers in the playoffs.
3. Adjusted Broncos offense yet again when a noodle-armed manning replaced Tebow.
... He took what he was given and made the offense put up points. Will be asked to take what we have...and turn it into an offense that is good enough to win games and put up points alongside what will undoubtedly be a very good defense. A team in transition like the Cardinals needs that specific skillset...may not be asked to develop a QB, as that will be the job of the QB coach......for what the team needs right now to "retool" and win games, he is a good fit.
Fan L: Dude makes the offenses so complicated that even Stephen Hawking doesn't understand them.
Fan M "...perfect for a QB who can read a D a la Mr Warner. This just made my day!"
Fan N "Leftwich will develop the QB but he has to play in McCoy's system. In McCoy's defense Siemen / Lynch / Osweiler were hot garbage so not all of the Denver train wreck is his fault."
Fan O "So this guy gets fired twice within a year and we hire him? What does the FO see in him?"
Fan P: "...Us Chargers fans threw a party at a forum meet up in SoCal when McCoy was fired. We wanted to throw a god damn parade when news broke that our hated divison rivals hired McCoy ...Broncos fans are lucky, they only had to experience the demise of Mike McCoy for 1 year while us Chargers fans endured it for 4+ years!!
Conclusion - Whatever the circumstance, "he's ours." Let's see what the Cardinal brass, players and McCoy have to say. (Better yet, let's see how the 2018 Cardinals actually perform onthe field).
"Most Likely" List:
Head Coach - Steve Wilks (Carolina)
Offensive Coordinator - Mike McCoy (Denver, Chargers)
Defensive Coordinator - Al Holcomb (Carolina)
QB Coach - Byron Leftwich (Cards)
RB Coach - TBD
WR Coach - Kevin Garver (Cards)
TE Coach - Steve Heiden (Cards)
OL Coach - Ray Brown (Carolina)
DL Coach - Don Johnson (Carolina?)
LB Coach - Larry Foote (Cards)
DB Coach - David Merritt (Carolina?)
ST Coordinator - TBD
Jan. 23, 2018 - Coach Wilks was introduced to the Cardinal nation at an introductory press conference. Remarks by owner Michael Bidwill occupied the first 5-minutes followed by comments by the new head coach and a Q & A session with members of the local media.
Initially, (at least to this writer) both Bidwill and Wilks seemed a bit ill at ease in front of the cameras, relying on the usual stuff owners and new head coaches are prone to put forth in an initial presser - lots of stuff about "Trust", "Commitment", "Accountability", "Physicality", "Football IQ" (& "EQ"*), "Finishing", "Culture", "Value of Teaching", "From the Guy Who Calls the Plays to the Person Who Makes the Coffee."
All important values (sometimes cliches are nothing more than stating the obvious, but nonetheless truisms), but we learned very little new about what the Cardinals would be like and how they might be the same as or different from the Bruce Arians or Jim Bettcher Cardinals.
However, things started to relax during the Q & A portion of the presser, and we got a better sense about what it would be like during a Steve Wilks era. Here are some early impressions:
"Coach Wilks, the Person"
Primary strength said to be his leadership skills...Comes across as a straight-arrow individual whose strengths include forging strong coach-player relationships...Places a high priority on "Football EQ" (i.e. Emotional Quotient"...Believes in treating each player as a unique individual with unique ways of accepting coaching, processing information etc....
Offensive and Defensive Philosophies
(Had little to say yet about the offense other than that the Cardinal braintrust "had a plan" for filling the roster-hole at QB) and that the foundation of the offense would be "running the ball."
Although he most recently been a 4-3 defensive coordinator, he's also comfortable with the 3 - 4 and describes the current Cardinal defensive system (& presumably most of its personnel) as "It ain't broke/why fix it."
The "800 lb Gorilla"
What kind of QBs running what kind of offense? Nothing new to share at this time.
No new info, but "we want him back."
No new word from SW, except to note that the Cards hoped to have most or all of its staff hired by the Super Bowl.
No clue as to which, if any players or coaching assistants Coach Wilks will bring with him from Carolina. (We can guess, though, that there will be a few of each - new HCs frequently rely on veteran players brought over from their previous teams to help install new systems and terminology to members of their new team - we just don't know who (yet).
Later Info - Assistants
Names being floated around include OC Darrell Bevell (Seattle) (In Minnesota interviewing for OC Coach and may be off the board), (DL Coach) Don Johnson (Chargers) who'll replace Brentson Buckner, (DC) Al Holcomb (Carolina); (OL Coach) Ray Brown (Carolina), (S Coach) David Merritt (Giants).
James Bettcher leaves to become Giants DC...Cards lost WR Coach Daryl Drake to PIttsburgh...Cards hope to keep Asst WR Coach Kevin Garver. (OC's) Mike McCoy (Chargers), Darell Bevell (Seattle) and John DeFillipo (Eagles). Bevell visiting Minnesota and may be off the board. Wilks said to favor DeFillipo but he's still coaching in the Super Bowl and the silence surrounding his name has been "deafening."
The Value of "Teaching" & Player Development
The biggest thing I took away from the Wilks' presser was the value he puts on teaching and developing player talent- he believes (as I do) that one way to increase the "net worth" of a franchise is to improve the quality-of-play of its players so that they're better going out than they were going in. ("Improved players are like 'gold'").
"Talk" is just that - Talk. We'll have to wait and see what kind of offense we'll run...who the QB's will be to execute it...arrivals & departures...how effectively the players will execute the seasons...how our guys relate to BA's successor...game to game coaching decisions and, the ultimate judge - W's & L's. So far, things look positioned to move ahead positively. Go get 'em, Coach!
Wilks New Card HC
Jan. 22, 2018 - 48 year old Steve Wilks signed a four-year contract with an option for a fifth season.
Press conference is scheduled for Tuesday (Jan. 23).
Wilks considers his hiring part of a retool and not a rebuild. “We have the culture of winning here. We just have to be able to sustain it. It’s all about trying to get to the next level and the consistency you need to get to the next level." He believes building a culture based on three things: "Trust, commitment and accountability.”
Under Wilks’ leadership, the Panthers’ defense was 7th in total defense, 11th in points allowed, 3rd in rush defense and 3rd in sacks. When Patrick Peterson, found out about the hiring, he tweeted: "I LOVE IT."
The new Cardinal HC has been coaching since 1995 and has been an NFL assistant since 2006. The Panthers hired Wilks as a DB coach & added Assistant Head Coach to his title in 2014. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017, (along with role as assistant head coach). He has also coached with the Bears and Chargers and in two Super Bowls (Bears and Panthers).
According to Michael Bidwill, Wilks comes to the Cards with a reputation for passion and leadership skills. (“Players love playing for him”).
There had been reports that the Cards might have had second interviews with Brian Flores and John DeFilippo, but those were scrubbed after Wilks’ strong second interview with Bidwill and GM Steve Keim Friday.
(Source: W Mitchell, ASFN Forum)
Notre Dame 2004---Ty Willingham
Washington Huskies 2005---Ty Willingham
Chicago Bears 2006-2008---Lovie Smith
San Diego Chargers 2009-2011---Norv Turner
Carolina Panthers 2012-present---Ron Rivera (Super Bowl Runner-up 2015)
Years of NFL Coaching Experience: 12
Regular Season NFL Team Records: 117-74-1
More info will be added as we get it.
Bruce Arians Retires
Jan., 1, 2018 - It's official - after a whirlwind of rumor, retraction and more rumor about Bruce Arians' status with the Cardinals, the team posted on its website: "The 65-year-old Arians announced he was indeed going to retire after five seasons with the Cardinals, a move not unexpected but the first domino in what could be an offseason of significant change for the franchise."
Other than that BA's down-to-earth coaching style and "cool uncle" personna was something unique and special - there haven't been too many coaches like BA (if any) that we're aware of.
I'll add that anyone who feels that "changing coaches is no more complicated than changing yout socks", is headed for a huge awakening. Teams take on the personalities of their head coaches, and a HC in the NFL has to be multi-talented - a first-rate evaluator of talent, good at assembling quality staff, well-organized, good teacher, good leader - both handling adversity and success, forward thinking - both in X's and O's and with Big Picture approaches to off-the-field disciplins as strength & conditioning, nutrition and psychology.
I'm sorry to see BA go - I had hoped he'd stick with us for another season. As more info comes in, I'll add additional comments. - JGG