With the Arizona Cardinals on the hunt for their next offensive coordinator, and really the man who will mold the offense of the Arizona Cardinals post Bruce Arians, two names have come to the forefront. We looked at Darrell Bevell on Tuesday and today we look at the other candidate, the man who was the name we talked about coming in with Steve Wilks since the beginning, Mike McCoy.
McCoy has been an offensive coordinator less time than Bevell, but his ascension within the NFL coaching ranks was much quicker.
McCoy got his first OC gig in Denver with the Broncos in 2009 under Josh McDaniels. Let’s take a look at the year-by-year work of Mike McCoy.
2009 – The Broncos offense was in a word, average. They finished the season as the 18th ranked offensive team according to Football Outsiders DVOA, after the Broncos 2008 team finished first. How much is on McCoy is a fair question. McCoy was working with Kyle Orton at quarterback and rookie first round pick at running back Knowshon Moreno. The Broncos offense (according to standard NFL rankings not FO rankings) finished 20th in points, 13th in passing offense and 18th in rushing. They… were… average. Finishing the 2009 season… 8-8.
2010 – The second season brought a slight uptick in the FO DVOA rankings as they moved up to 15th, 19th in points, seventh in passing, but fell to 26th in rushing. The season was a disaster though as McDaniels was fired, Tim Tebow was drafted and the team fell apart.
2011- John Fox becomes head coach and the offense assumes McCoy’s identity completely, although you could say they did that once McDaniels was fired. They finished 23rd in FO DVOA, 21st in scoring, 31st in passing and first in rushing. This was the Tim Tebow miracle playoff win. McCoy gets a lot of credit for adapting his offensive style for Tebow and creating an astonishingly good rushing attack with a 30 year old Willis McGahee and Tebow at the controls.
2012 – Enter Peyton Manning. Amazing what happens when you have perhaps the greatest regular season quarterback in NFL history. The DVOA rankings shoot up to second, points per game goes to fourth and passing goes to fourth and rushing falls, not shockingly to 16th. McCoy is a hot coaching candidate and gets the job in San Diego.
2013 – McCoy, with another talented, veteran quarterback, gets his second, second place finish in FO DVOA for offenses with Philip Rivers and a career year from Ryan Mathews. It becomes quite clear though, McCoy can get a lot out of an offense that has high level quarterback play. The Chargers finish 12th in points, fourth in passing and 13th in rushing. Ken Whisenhunt is the offensive coordinator, but is it McCoy or Whisenhunt?
2014 – The Chargers lose Whisenhunt to the Titans and McCoy and Frank Reich fall to 11th in DVOA, 17th in points, eighth in passing and 30th in rushing. Now, Rivers was great, but they couldn’t get anything done rushing using Branden Oliver, Donald Brown and Ryan Mathews. They scored six rushing touchdowns on the season. They finish 9-7 for the second season in row, but there is no playoff run this time.
2015 – The bottom falls out on McCoy, the Chargers drop to 26th in points as they continue to fail to get any semblance of a run game, finishing 31st in the NFL in rushing and rushing DVOA according to FO. They finish 15th overall in offensive DVOA and the clock is ticking on McCoy.
2016 – McCoy brings Whisenhunt back to try and reestablish an offensive flow. They finish 18th in FO DVOA, but ninth in points, eighth in passing, but 26th in rushing. When your first round pick from the year before breaks out with less than 1000 yards, you know things are bad.
I am not going to list too much on McCoy’s 2017 season, he came into a stacked deck in Denver and was unable, not surprisingly, to produce results. Denver finished 31st in offensive DVOA, just behind the Arizona Cardinals, who finished 30th.
This is where my questions with McCoy come in.
He’s clearly deft at handling an offense that has a competent quarterback. His time with Manning and Rivers shows such. However, he’s been a part of only one strong rushing attack in his time, 2011 with the Broncos and Tim Tebow at quarterback. Of his nine seasons as a head coach and offensive coordinator, he has two top ten finishes in points per game, 2012 with Manning and 2016 with the Chargers team that went 5-11 and got him fired.
In fact, he only has three seasons of his 12 with offenses that finished inside the top half of the league in points scored, four seasons with a team finishing in the top half of the league in rushing and only one of those seasons they finished in the top half in yards per attempt rushing (2011).
2011 is what intrigues me the most about McCoy. He was forced to be creative because his quarterback was Tim Tebow and he succeeded.
Behind the number one rushing offense in the NFL, the 8-8 Broncos won a playoff game. Yet, the quarterback numbers were awful, not because of McCoy though.
The concern with McCoy is, he’s never developed a quarterback. He has done outstanding work with two future Hall of Famer’s, but that sounds closer to Ken Whisenhunt or Bruce Arians than it does a lot of these young guys.
What do you think? Is McCoy the right fit for the Arizona Cardinals?