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Self-Inflicting Wounds The Arizona Cardinals (0-4) are currently the only team in the NFL without a win Cheap Chandler Jones Jersey , their worst start since 1986.[Seahawks] made the plays when given the opportunity and thats the difference in the game, Wilks said to the media on Monday. We didnt make the plays when given the opportunity.Wilks gave the Seahawks the opportunity to win the game with 1:50 left on the clock, following the Cardinals missed field goal on their final drive. He acknowledged that the Cardinals had too many drops, missed tackles on defense, and was penalized a lot. No kidding. J.J. Nelson dropped a ball that should have been a long touchdown reception. Chad Williams made an incredible catch that would have been a touchdown had it not been for his foot landing out of bounds. Christian Kirk dropped a potential touchdown pass as well.Beyond the players, play calling was a very big problem too and Wilk continues to blame the players instead of holding himself and the coaching staff accountable.What I was really trying to do was manage the clock there trying to get them less time as possible coming back and also trying to get those guys to use their timeout.He accomplished his goal and the Seattle Seahawks were forced to use their timeout. But everything else went wrong afterwards. First off Phil Dawson missed his 45-yard field goal, in addition to missing one from 50 yards earlier in the game. Even if the Cardinals made the field goal, Wilks was basically gift wrapping a win to the Seahawks with all of the time they had remaining. Conservative play calling to run the ball instead of passing the ball on 3rd-and-6 was playing not to lose. One rule when playing the Seahawks: never give Russell Wilson the ball with two minutes remaining in a game.If we havent noticed already, Dawsons kicks dont go straight down the middle of the goal post but instead swerves right every time. It wasnt too long ago when Wilks said that Dawson was kept over Matt McCrane because he was consistent and was praised for his ability to handle big games. Unfortunately for Dawson, his struggles of 2017 has carried over into 2018. How many more kicks will he need to miss until Wilks learns that Dawson is a problem?There is blame to go around for the loss to the Seahawks but none of which should be on Josh Rosen. Had it not been for five or six drops in the game, his stat line would have at least been 20-27 passes for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. He is certainly playing beyond his years making his progressions and remaining poise in the pocket. Everything we thought he could be is coming to fruition. Play action and screen plays work. They need to call more of those plays but Mike McCoy continues to stick with his conservative-styled play calling.Dawson missed two field goals, receivers continue to drop balls, defensive line is jumping into the neutral zone, inability to stop the run, and the coaching staff is coaching not to lose. This is not a good formula for success.In terms of free agency, why not consider signing WR Rishard Matthews, who was recently released from the Titans? How about Cairo Santos for the kicker position?There are plenty of football games remaining but with each loss means decreased chances to making the playoffs. Changes need to be made in terms of the roster and the coaching staff yet nothing is happening. How much longer will they continue to stick with the process with a system that seems broken?Cardinals should be 2-2, with winnable games that they lost against the Bears and Seahawks, But instead theyre sitting at 0-4 on the season. Whether the problem is Steve Wilks, Steve Keim, Mike McCoy, or the players, they need find a way to win now. Learn from the mistakes that they continue to make and win a football game. Oh yeah, Steve Wilks didnt even bother to ice the kicker at the end of the game. Not like this.With our optimism mostly sapped after the first two weeks, I think all but the most delusional of Redbirds fans were expecting a loss yesterday.But not like this.The first quarter was like a dream. Bradford hitting wide open receivers down the field, the defense playing physically and causing turnovers, the crowd energized. Maybe the season could be salvaged, maybe things werent as bad as they seemed.But then the dream turned back into a nightmare after halftime. Four straight turnovers on offense, a gassed defense letting the lead slowly slip away, the energy completely drained out of State Farm Stadium. A 14-0 lead turned into a 16-14 loss, salvation cruelly turned into validation of our worst fears.Were just not a good football team. Or even a mediocre one. As constructed Antoine Bethea Jersey , as coached, and as shown on the field, were a bad football team.We played the blame game last week, and the fingers were pointed squarely at GM Steve Keim. That still holds true, as hes the architect of this rapidly collapsing house of Cards, but yesterdays loss cant be pinned solely on him. No, yesterday truly showed the cracks in the pillars of this team, and one man was directly responsible for the debacle we all witnessed.Head coach Steve Wilks.When Wilks was hired, he talked a good game, preaching about his three pillars of trust, commitment, and accountability. But it seems those were empty wordswhen talk turned to action, he abandoned each of those pillars yesterday, showing an utter lack of trust in his best players, commitment to the decisions hes made, and accountability toward those who need to be taken to task.Whether these are just rookie coaching mistakes or signs that hes in over his head remains to be seen. But given the following examples of Wilks betraying his own principles just three games into the season makes me lean toward the latter. Let me show you exactly what I mean.TrustAs a head coach, you have to trust your best players to get the job done. When the game is on the line, you make sure your best players are on the field and put the game in their hands. Win or lose, at least you know you know you gave it your best shot with your best guys.Wilks utterly failed in that regard yesterday by leaving David Johnson on the sideline and watching as rookie Chase Edmonds was tackled for a 3-yard loss on that pivotal 3rd-and-2 on our penultimate drive. Why not at least line DJ up out wide as a decoy? (If youre not going to put the ball in his hands.) Leaving him on the sideline was simply inexcusable.Local media, including our own Seth and Walter, have already rightly skewered Wilks for this indefensible decision. And after three games in which DJ has averaged less than 15 touches a game, its quite clear that Wilks trusts OC Mike McCoys system (dont worrymore on him later) more than he trusts his own players.Failing to trust DJ and putting misplaced trust in McCoythis pillar is already showing some serious erosion.CommitmentFor a head coach to keep the respect of the locker room, he needs to commit to his players. The players need to know that their coach makes sound decisions, even when faced with adversity. Leaders need to make tough decisions and stick with them.Wilks has failed spectacularly at this as it relates to the quarterback position during his short tenure. After the draft, Wilks declared the position open for competition, only to then declare Bradford the starter at the beginning of training camp. Okay, Bradford was an established veteran and we were supposedly retooling, fine. Let the rookie develop for a year. (It worked wonders for Patrick Mahomes II!)Then yesterday happened.To say Sam Bradford had an up-and-down game would be a massive understatement. He followed up a 2-touchdown first quarter with a 3-turnover second half. His fumble deep in Bears territory in the fourth quarter was an absolute backbreaker, no doubt about it.But to pull him and put rookie Josh Rosen in the game down 2 with under 5:00 to play is just unconscionableand Rosen proceeded to do what most rookie QBs would do when put in that position. (No Baker Mayfield comparisons, pleaseMayfield came in in the first half as an injury replacement.) The chances of Rosen succeeding in that situation were minuscule, and he deserved a better time and place for his debut.We may have needed a spark Mike Iupati Jersey , but Bradford has been there before. You have to show commitment to your veteran rather than making a panic move by putting the rookie in. Was he influenced by what Mayfield did on Thursday night? Has he been hearing some fans and media clamoring for Rosen? Whatever the case, this was not a sound football decision, and the team paid the price.But Wilks might have saved his worst indecision for after the game. When you bench your $20 million veteran for a rookie late in the fourth quarter, theres no going back. You have to commit to the rookie at that point or else risk a QB controversy the team cant afford. Yet Wilks couldnt even do that: Were going to evaluate Josh as well as Sam, he said after the game. Would you like some waffle fries with your QB controversy?This QB situation has been mishandled about as badly as possible. This pillar has a crack right down the middle.AccountabilityWhen things go wrong (and many things have gone wrong for the Cardinals thus far in 2018), those at fault need to be held accountable by the head coach. While the defenseWilkss area of expertisehas largely been solid, the offense has been abysmalso wheres the accountability?There are two individuals that can be blamed: QB Sam Bradford and OC Mike McCoy. So far, Wilks has declined to hold either of them accountable. Yes, he pulled Bradford out of the game yesterday, but according to Wilkss postgame comments, Bradford could still start next week. Thats not accountability.And anyone whos watched even a few minutes of Cardinals football this season can see that McCoy is a major problem. His schemes are vanilla (or is it that the playbook is too complicated?), he doesnt know how to use DJ, and his playcalling a joke. This is a man whos been fired from his last two coaching jobs and who hasnt shown the slightest ability to adjust in his short stint here in the desertand yet Wilks has total trust in him? Zero accountability.If our offense is still this inept with McCoy at the helm going into the bye, this pillar will have completely collapsed. (And, for the record, I dont think McCoy should be anywhere near State Farm Stadium when the Seahawks come to town this weekend.)Final ThoughtsWhen Wilks was hired, there was a lot of talk about his qualities as a leader, how he had the perfect demeanor for the gig. So farand, yes, its only been three gamesIm not seeing any of that. Im seeing a guy unprepared for the pressure of managing 53 professional athletes, a coaching staff, and expectations from the fans/media. The moment was too big for him yesterday, as its mostly been so far.Now, Im not calling for his headhes a rookie head coach, and most rookie head coaches struggle at first. But if he cant repair the cracks in his own personal pillarswhich are now the pillars of our teamhe risks becoming another Valley head coach whos all words but no actions, no results. Another Earl Watson, if you will.And Watson didnt even last two seasons.Its your turn to weigh in, Cardinals fans. What do you think of Steve Wilkss performance thus far? Do you agree with how he handled the game yesterday? Do you still believe in him, or are you tired of empty words? Let us know in the comments.
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