The Arizona Cardinals have their man as head coach. It’s time now they find an identity on offense
As the old adage goes: defense wins championships. And after team President Michael Bidwill hired up-and-coming defensive coordinator Steve Wilks from the Carolina Panthers to coach his football team, it seems Bidwill will look to reinforce that statement.
Barring any major setbacks getting acclimated to a new system, the Cardinals’ defense will look to remain the strength of the team moving forward. And with its young core of talent, there isn’t any question why they shouldn’t be.
During Bruce Arians’ tenure as head coach, the Arizona Cardinals established a reputation as an aggressive, elite defense in the NFL. Hiring Wilks, who as the Panthers DC finished the season 7th overall in total defense and blitz more than any team in the NFL, shows that the Cardinals will look to remain amongst the best in the league.
But the biggest questions lie on the other side of the ball for Wilks.
What will his offense look like? Who will be calling the plays? And most importantly: Who will be his starting quarterback?
There are myriad adjectives you can use for the Cardinals offense in 2017. Impressive is not one of them.
They finished 25th in points (18.5/game), 15th in passing (227.5 yds/game), 30th in rushing (86.6 yds/game) and 22nd in overall offense (314.1 yds/game), respectively.
And with no quarterback on the roster as of today, the offense is certainly a concern moving into the 2018 season. Or as new head coach Wilks said in his introductory press conference, no QB is “the elephant in the room.”
“Steve [Keim] and I have addressed that issue … we’re going to have a very active and aggressive plan in free agency, and we’ll see what happens in the draft.”
A positive approach for the freshman head coach.
With questions all over the place on offense, and the future of Larry Fitzgerald in limbo, it’s hard to be positive for that side of the ball this early in the off-season.
There is one positive, however. Steve Wilks has inherited, perhaps, the best running back in the NFL in David Johnson. That’s your indentity.
He is now your franchise player. Build around him, draft a quarterback, add some competent wide receivers and continue to build a strong defense.
As he said, “this is not really a rebuild, it’s a retool.”
The Cardinals can win now — and they should. You put the right pieces together on and off the field, the Cardinals will continue to compete.
A new era has begun in the desert, and it will certainly be a sight to see it come to fruition. “You guys made the right decision. I really believe that,” Wilks said.
Let’s just hope he’s right.