The Arizona Cardinals have found the win column.
It was not pretty, but when Steve Wilks outlined his vision of what the Arizona Cardinals would be in 2018, that was basically what he described.
It came to fruition, and we will enjoy it for what it was, a chance to crawl out of the “worst team in the NFL” hole that the Cardinals are in.
However, what happened on Sunday is not a sustainable model.
Let’s take a look at five things we learned from the Arizona Cardinals 28-18 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
- Steve Wilks and his staff are still struggling to find their way
When the game started, you saw how good Kyle Shanahan’s script was, you saw him dialing up plays with a second string quarterback, third and fourth string wide receivers and then losing their best offensive player in Matt Breida before halftime. Oh year, Breida had 56 yards on only eight carries, that is seven yards per carry for the non-math folks amongst us.
In fact, the Cardinals were outgained 447 yards to 220, the 49ers had 33 first downs, the Cardinals had ten, and finally, the 49ers possessed the ball for 40 minutes to the Arizona Cardinals only 20 minutes.
The Cardinals were outdone in nearly every facet of the game, but the one that mattered, the scoreboard. That’s good enough for this game, but Wilks and his staff have to find a way to get the numbers not so skewed or the Cardinals will be losing a lot more games this year.
2. Josh Rosen is not infalable
Rosen hit Christian Kirk on a 75-yard touchdown then was okay. In certain situations he looked cool, calm and collected, but in others, you could tell that the hits he was taking from the San Francisco 49ers, as well as the drops his receivers had were weighing on his performance. Rosen was high on a number of passes he hit last week, that's okay, because he avoided turnovers, but it also reminds us that the Cardinals rookie is... A rookie.
3. Chandler Jones is still special
Jones was a man amongst boys in the Cardinals win over the 49ers and reminded everyone in the NFL just how special of a talent he is. He was making plays all over the field today, and his ability to win against the pass and run today was one of the biggest reasons the Arizona Cardinals came out ahead.
4. Robert Nkemdiche is important
The Cardinals defensive tackle was held out in today's game and him missing showed up. The Cardinals were completely gashed in the run game today and Nkemdiche's presence takes pressure off others to be heavy on interior pressures.
It's interesting to see that Nkemdiche is a key component, but it is also something good to see.
5. Mike McCoy is a problem
McCoy could have been a talented play caller at one time, he leaned on different quarterbacks to varying levels of success, but his offense was always best with a Phillip Rivers and Peyton Manning running his offense. Putting Josh Rosen on that level is not going to be fair and quite frankly not going bto happen this early in his career.
Which means that you have to go to all of the non-Rivers and Manning offenses to figure out what McCoy can do.
That portion of his career is... Not great. With Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow at quarterback, the results are interesting.
There are plenty of strong points to McCoy's resume, but putting up league average or above numbers without a very good, veteran quarterback is highly unlikely.
McCoy is not with the new NFL. He has not adapted his playbook, his substitution pattern, his usage or design.
The Cardinals need someone who can grow with Josh Rosen. While McCoy can teach him plenty between Sunday's, on Sunday, he has been an anchor more than propeller.
That has to change.