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Offensive Issues Jeopardizing Cardinals' Season

Wilks feels urgency as team faces short week against Broncos

Quarterback Josh Rosen throws a pass downfield during Sunday's loss in Minnesota.
Quarterback Josh Rosen throws a pass downfield during Sunday's loss in Minnesota.

The offense has been poor for the Cardinals through six games, and of this Steve Wilks is painfully aware.

So as the Cardinals' head coach sat down Monday to answer questions, he likely knew there could be one asking about the job status of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

"I would say all of our jobs are in jeopardy, including mine, if we don't win," Wilks said.

There is little doubt the season has been dedicated now to the development of rookie quarterback Josh Rosen as the long-term answer at the position. But the Cardinals, who host Denver Thursday night in a short week, still expect much more out of the offensive side of the ball.

Ranking last in yards per game, rushing yards, time of possession and third-down conversions isn't supposed to happen even with a rookie QB, not with David Johnson as the running back and Larry Fitzgerald leading the wide receiving corps.

"When things aren't going right, I think everyone need to not change the game plan but also not buckle down and be completely stubborn," Rosen said Monday. "You have to put your heads together and solve the problem."

Some of that could be more no-huddle, within which Rosen performed well Sunday on the Cardinals' lone offensive drive for a touchdown. Rosen acknowledged he doesn't have a preference either way in running more no-huddle and pointed out the Vikings had become less aggressive with a big lead so the Cardinals "can't look too far into it" as a panacea to fix all the offensive woes.

Wilks said the Cardinals could work more with the no-huddle, but also said it's important in a short week to carry over the good things Rosen and the offense did in Minnesota just to make sure it's easier for the unit to "process things and play fast."

"We have to do everything we can right now to get this offense going in the right direction," Wilks added.

After going 0-for-10 on third downs, Rosen said the problems were a "microcosm" of the bigger offensive issues. Those have been well-documented – Johnson continues to struggle, rushing for only 55 yards on 18 carries and losing a fumble Sunday in addition to making only two catches. The offensive line has not played as well as hoped, and now are battling injuries to starting guards Justin Pugh (hand) and Mike Iupati (back) that could keep them out Thursday.

The Cardinals still have yet to score a point in the third quarter as well, another reason Wilks was so blunt in the coaching job status statement Monday.

Rosen said as the quarterback, he has a "significant chunk of responsibility" in trying to fix the offense.

"For the most part the way you do that is you don't reach and push outside of what you can control," he said. "The second you try to play 'hero ball,' it ends up biting you in the butt."

In that vein of what he can control, the rookie added that he – or any player – can't worry about what might or might not happen to a coach going into a game.

"I think it would not to be to my benefit to try and put that into my psyche," Rosen said.

The Broncos have their own issues right now, having lost four in a row after opening the season 2-0. Fitzgerald had said Sunday the Cardinals have made the effort to fix things offensively, and they won't have long to get another chance to show it again.

"We are a really good football team not playing very well as opposed to a not-very-good football team playing to its absolute potential," Rosen said. "Hopefully we are at our floor, as opposed to having a low ceiling."


Wilks said Pugh, Iupati and Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring) are all day-to-day, although he acknowledged the Cardinals hadn't fully assessed the injuries. Pugh might've broken his left hand, and Vujnovich's injury could be a little more serious. Pugh and Iupati are the starting guards, so there might be some shuffling Thursday against the Broncos. Vujnovich had been one of the replacements Sunday; Daniel Munyer and John Wetzel finished up at the positions in Minnesota.

"It doesn't really help because the game lives, breathes, dies up front," Rosen said of the injuries.

Pugh would not get into details about his injury, but said he wants to try and play Thursday. He said it would be both a pain and a mechanics issue, especially since there won't really be practice time this week in which to test it out. …

The Cardinals signed offensive lineman Coleman Shelton and running back Brandon Wilds to the practice squad Monday, cutting wide receiver Bernard Reedy and running back Jalen Simmons.

Some of the top images from the Cardinals' 27-17 loss to Minnesota