How long will Steve Wilks survive in Arizona?
On one hand, Cardinals coach Steve Wilks deserves credit for realizing that offensive coordinator Mike McCoy needed to go. On the other hand, Wilks hired him.
Yes, for the second straight year, a first-year head coach with a defensive background has decided in the first season after hiring McCoy to run the offense that he should be fired. (Broncos coach Vance Joseph did it in 2017.) For Wilks, whose 1-6 Cardinals were blown off the field last night, the question becomes whether he’s next.
One-and-done firings aren’t all that rare, and if Cardinals president Michael Bidwill decides to hire a new G.M. after the season, Bidwill may decide to let the new G.M. hire a new coach. Given the stunning decline of the franchise in the aftermath of the retirements of quarterback Carson Palmer and coach Bruce Arians, could Bidwill decide to fire Wilks during his first season?
It would be stunning if not unprecedented. But with a home game looming in nine days against the 49ers followed by the annual bye, the bell could soon be tolling for Wilks, in theory.
Ultimately, the question could hinge on how the Cardinals respond to the 35-point home loss and the appointment of Byron Leftwich to run the offense on an interim basis. A blowout loss to a team that likely will be 1-6 when it arrives in Arizona next weekend (a team the Cardinals beat earlier this year) could be the last straw for a franchise that had good reason to be brimming with pride over its accomplishments not that long ago.
Think of it this way: If it’s fair for Wilks to decide after seven games that he hired the wrong guy to run the offense, it would be fair for the Cardinals to make the same decision about Wilks after eight. And maybe they will.