Mike McCoy's days as Cardinals OC likely numbered

Wilks calls Cards' loss 'embarrassing' (0:48)

Steve Wilks reflects on Thursday night's blowout loss to the Broncos and Josh Rosen's injury status. (0:48)

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Thursday night was supposed to be different for the Arizona Cardinals.

The plan was to speed up the offense and use more no-huddle plays. That was supposed to spark an offense mired in ineffectiveness.

Nothing changed. Nothing worked.

The Cardinals fell to 1-6 after an embarrassing 45-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in prime time.

Arizona coach Steve Wilks summed up the game with one word: "Unacceptable." He might as well have been talking about the entire season to this point.

For the sixth straight game, the offense wasn't just bad. It was abysmal. The Cardinals had just 83 yards of offense at halftime and finished a sixth consecutive contest with less than 300 yards (223). It has become a broken record that won't stop spinning.

That's why Mike McCoy's time as Cardinals offensive coordinator should come to an end.

Wilks said Thursday night it was "premature" to start talking about changes of any kind, not just to the coaching staff. He did say, however, that "everyone is going to be evaluated across the board."

"When we talk about changes, I'm talking about changes within personnel," Wilks said. "It could be player, whatever it may be. So, what I am saying when I say premature is that it's premature to talk about that at this particular time without going through a full evaluation."

When Wilks evaluates Thursday's loss, he'll see much of what he has seen throughout the season.


  • Quarterback Josh Rosen threw two pick-sixes in the first quarter, becoming the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to accomplish the feat. He finished with five turnovers, with another interception and two fumbles. He's one of three players in the Super Bowl era to be sacked six times, have five turnovers and throw two pick-sixes, according to Elias.

  • The run game was almost nonexistent, in part because the Cardinals trailed 14-0 early. But also because McCoy's playcalling has consistently showed a lack of creativity. After Thursday's game, 49.2 percent of the Cardinals' runs have been up the middle. Against the Broncos, the Cardinals had 20 runs; of those, 18 were between the tackles and 10 were straight up the middle.

  • The Cardinals are averaging 220.9 total yards per game this season, the fewest by any team through seven games since the 2009 Oakland Raiders, who also averaged 220.9 with JaMarcus Russell at quarterback.

At one point in Thursday's tilt, the Cardinals were 0-for-7 on third down, extending their streak of third-down failures to 18 straight, which dated back to the end of Arizona's Week 5 win over the 49ers.

But Wilks didn't have an answer for why the Cardinals' offensive woes have lasted seven weeks.

"Good question," he said. "We have to find the answers to it. Whether it's not getting movement up front, whether it's not protecting in the pass game, not being able to make the proper throws or catches, there's a lot that goes around."

Running back David Johnson didn't know why the offense is still struggling.

Left tackle D.J. Humphries said the offense needs to "take some ownership."

Even Rosen said much needs fixing.

"I think we've got a lot to learn," he said, "especially when we check out the tape."

Firing McCoy has as much to do with the future as it does the Cardinals' current offensive ineptitude.

There were times, in between the interceptions, when Rosen showed flashes. There was his pass to Larry Fitzgerald in the first half that was thrown only where Fitzgerald could catch it. There was Rosen's 14-yard run on a broken play that moved the Cardinals into the red zone.

But Rosen needs grooming. That isn't coming from McCoy, despite his success with the likes of Peyton Manning in Denver and Philip Rivers in San Diego. Rosen has the second-lowest completion percentage (55.0) among rookie quarterbacks this year who have thrown at least 100 attempts. All three of his interceptions on Thursday came when he was hurried. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Rosen took 2.5 seconds or less on all three of his picks.

"It was frustrating," Rosen said. "You just wish you had some certain decisions back here and there."

Rosen also struggled against a four-man rush, meaning the offensive line wasn't blocking well enough and Rosen was seeing defensive schemes he didn't know how to handle. Against a four-man rush, he completed just 50 percent of his passes, threw two of his three picks and was sacked all six times.

Some of that falls on Rosen, but he's still a rookie.

"I 100 percent have a lot to learn," he said. "More to learn than I would've wished for, but we have a lot to learn. Me, in particular."

The Cardinals have their quarterback of the future, but if he continues to be coached by McCoy, his future is murky at best.

Heading into Week 7, the offense was ranked last in yards per game, rushing yards per game, rushing yards per play, first downs per game, third down conversions, third down conversion percentage, red zone dives and time of possession.

But none of this came to a surprise to the thousands of Broncos fans who took over State Farm Stadium on Thursday.

McCoy, who was fired by the Broncos as offensive coordinator after Week 11 last season, had the 31st-ranked offensive efficiency last season -- and the 31st this season heading into Thursday night. In 2016, the Chargers were ranked 17th in offensive efficiency; McCoy was the head coach then, while Ken Whisenhunt called plays.

Change needs to come to the Cardinals. And it needs to come fast. Firing Wilks isn't the answer, at least not yet. Even though Rosen tries to make "hero plays" more often than he'll admit he should, responsibility for this offense's struggles falls on the man in charge of it. That's McCoy.

"We have to find ways to get this thing corrected," Wilks said. "And corrected soon."