For this week’s 3 & Out I sat down with Seth Cox, managing editor of the Arizona Cardinals fanblog Revenge of the Birds in order to get some additional insight on Arizona before tonight’s game.
Our interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
1st and 10
It seems like this is the cliff Vance Joseph has been coaching towards all season. Win this and he buys himself some time, lose and Elway has 10 days to reshuffle the staff for the rest of the season. Broncos fans know the stakes, but what do things look like for Arizona? I read a couple of posts that suggested Steve Wilks and company have fallen far short of expectations. What’s at stake in this one?
It is likely that Mike McCoy is gone come Friday after the Broncos and Cardinals game no matter what happens, barring an offensive explosion that we have not seen this season. The Cardinals are one of the worst teams offensively in the NFL, in nearly every statistical category.
Offensive Coaches spend the entire week scheming to create EXPLOSIVE PLAYS to cut through defenses.— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) October 16, 2018
These offenses have had the most success so far.#FightForEachOther #LARams #BroncosCountry #ChiefsKingdom #HereWeGo #Browns #GoSaints #GoBills #TitanUp pic.twitter.com/Tlbd0rTPUK
Moreover, the hiring did not make a lick of sense from the beginning. Look at what Steve Wilks said when we he was hired.
Now, let’s take a little walk down the memory lane of Mike McCoy offenses, where we see that he has had a single rushing offense in the top 16 in the NFL once as an offensive coordinator or head coach, that was in 2011 with the Broncos.
Wilks will get the year, if things don’t turn around though, he may not get much more.
2nd and 6
One thing that the Cardinals seem to have that Denver definitely lacks is a long term answer at quarterback. While the numbers haven’t been all that pretty yet, when I watch the tape Josh Rosen shows all the promising signs you hope to see when watching a young signal caller. How do Arizona fans feel about him?
The only thing Cardinals fans seem to be super excited about right now is the fact that the Cardinals have Josh Rosen. Rosen looks like the real deal, despite getting little help from his offensive line, who is the worst in the NFL.
Add the fact that the Cardinals offense is archaic, its wide receivers have not been good, even future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald.
Also, David Johnson looks nothing like David Johnson. The Cardinals offense has done nothing to help Josh Rosen, so when you look at his raw numbers, they’re not exactly impressive, but they are not nearly as bad as they look.
3rd and 11
There was rampant speculation that Patrick Peterson is on the block. Back when the Broncos were 2-0 there was hope Denver would make a deal for him. It seems unlikely now, obviously but what are the odds Steve Keim deals his franchise cornerback? What do you think Arizona would want in return?
I would be shocked and disappointed if the Cardinals moved Patrick Peterson, who is having a fantastic season, or Chandler Jones, who has been on fire the last two weeks.
If the Cardinals even began to fake talk about it, they would have to get a massive return because both Peterson and Jones are in their primes, on really good contracts for their play and play the most premium of positions. If you are selling, it better be for absurd returns, like multiple day one and two picks, or a young offensive lineman (again, worst OL in the NFL) plus an early pick.
I don’t see it happening, if it does, what little fandom left may completely mutiny.
4th and 4
What do you think the keys to the game are for Arizona this Thursday?
Are the Broncos any good at running the football? No matter the answer, right now it does not matter, because even if you are the worst running team in the NFL like the Minnesota Vikings, you should still run all over this Cardinals defense.
The Cardinals have to find a way to stop the run on defense and force a struggling Case Keenum to beat them. If it doesn’t happen, then they need to find an offense that hasn’t been there for six games so far in 2018.
David Johnson has to get back to being the best running back in the NFL, take some of the pressure off of Rosen and more importantly, take pressure off Mike “Up the Middle” McCoy.
It is unlikely to happen, but who knows this NFL season.
I will say: Broncos 21, Cardinals 16.