It would be interesting to know your answers to the quick questions at the end of the article. Here are some questions regarding the 9 most important decisions the Cardinals have made in 2018.
- Extending GM Steve Keim.
- There was a year left on Keim’s second contract, plus a team option year in 2019.
- Yet, Michael Bidwill, for whatever the reasons, decided that Steve Keim deserved a third contract as GM. Yes, Keim’s winning percentage over his first 5 years is impressive—-but, in truth, the team has only won 1 playoff game (thanks to Hail Larry) in those 5 years.
- For right or for wrong—-I intuited this move as Bidwill’s way of vindicating Steve Keim for the woes of the past two seasons—-in particular for the lack of player development by Bruce Arians and his staff.
- Questions: (1) Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to have Keim play out the last two years of his contract?—-he already was making good money thanks to his reward 2nd contract. (2) Did Steve Keim really deserve to be vindicated for the woes of the past two seasons? (3) Doesn't that feel like an impulsive and undeserved reward for back to back years of mediocrity?
2. Hiring Steve Wilks as Head Coach.
- Don’t get me wrong—-I think the world of the man. I believe his passion, commitment and work ethic are off the charts. But, was he—-and is he—-the right man for the job?
- Questions: (1) With the chance finally to draft a franchise QB in the 2018 NFL Draft, wouldn’t it have made sense to sign an offensive minded head coach? (2) Do not the fortunes of the franchise for the next ten years depend very heavily on the success of the QBOF? (3) While Wilks originally said that he and DC Al Holcomb would be amenable to keeping the Cardinals’ base 34 defense, they quickly decided to switch to the 43 and now have switched to a base nickel—-don’t these changes come with a whole new set of criteria for the defensive personnel?
3. Hiring Mike McCoy as Offensive Coordinator.
- Questions: (1) Why was McCoy fired as the Chargers’ head coach and then fired mid-way into last season as the Broncos’ new OC? (2) Wasn’t Ken Whisenhunt calling the plays and coordinating the offense in San Diego? (3) Why would McCoy be the right and natural fit for a young QBOF when he struggled coaching Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch last year?
4. Insisting that 2018 is a “Retool” and not a “Rebuild.”
- Steve Keim repeatedly says that he owes it to the fans to put a playoff contender on the field every year. But the Cardinals were not legitimate playoff contenders the last couple of years and their roster was one of the oldest in the NFL—-plus—-with oft-injured QB Carson Palmer retiring and no QBOF on the roster—-wasn’t this the perfectly logical year to commit to a rebuild?
- Questions: (1) Did the Cardinals think that a “retooling” campaign was the best and possibly only way to keep WR Larry Fitzgerald on the roster? (2) How much does the retooling efforts hinder the development of the younger plays on the roster—-most specifically QB Josh Rosen?
5. Signing QBs Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon in free agency.
- Question: (1) After 5 years of watching (with cringes) an immobile and oft-injured QB (Carson Palmer) take a brutal pounding in the pocket—-why in the world would the Cardinals elect to sign two immobile (and in Bradford’s case, oft-injured) QBs to the tune of $24M in 2018 combined? This—-with the knowledge that they were going to do all they could to draft (finally) their QBOF?
6. Picking up LB Deone Bucannon’s $8.7M 5th year option.
- Questions: (1) Coming off two injury-riddled, poor performance seasons, how in the world does Bucannon get this kind of a vote of confidence, particularly heading into a new role in a defense that requires LBers to get off blocks quickly, run downhill to the ball, make a ton of tackles and do a superb job in coverage? (2) Has Bucannon shown that he does any of those things consistently well? (3) The Cardinals got rid of Tyrann Mathieu for sluggish play—-well, Bucannon was far worse the past two years—-what gives with that?
7. Giving up 3 picks in the 2018 draft to move up to #10 to draft QB Josh Rosen.
- Questions: (1) With the hirings of Steve Wilks and Mike McCoy, plus the signings of QBs Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon, did the Cardinals lock themselves in to taking a traditional pocket passer? (2) Why did Rosen slip in this draft? (3) Were his concussions a red flag? (4) Was his brash, persona a turnoff for QB needy teams?
8. After saying that all positions were open to competition, Steve Wilks decided to appoint Sam Bradford as the starting QB early into training camp.
- Questions: (1) Wouldn’t a robust QB competition throughout training camp have been best for Bradford, Rosen and Glennon? (2) Wouldn’t it have been good to see Josh Rosen start a pre-season game? (3) Wouldn’t it have been wise to try to work out the kinks of the passing game in pre-season, rather than have Bradford throw 8 five yard passes? (4) Didn't this early decision by Wilks make it all come too easy for Bradford?
- Note: I believe that if there had been a genuine QB competition—-Josh Rosen would have won it, by virtue of his arm, intellgence and most of all—-his feet. Rosen has the feet that Bradford and Glennon lack.
- Look at what the Jets did. They started out having Sam Darnold as the #3 QB, but they said all along that he would be competing for the starting job with Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. Smartly, they didn’t cast Bridgewater aside and relegate him to the #3 QB spot—-and as a result they were able to receive a 3rd round draft pick from the Saints once it was clear to the Jets that Darnold was winning the job. Sure, the easy choice may have been to start McCown early in the season. After all, McCown knows their system and their RBs/TEs/WRs and he is coming off a solid year last year. But, the point is—-the Jets allowed Darnold to compete for the job—-and not only has he won the job, Darnold has answered the bell. And even when he struggles—-at least its good experience darn old can learn and grown from.
9. Signing RB David Johnson to a 3 year $39M extension potentially worth $45M.
- Questions: (1) Why extend Johnson now when you can see if he holds up physically this year, knowing at the very least you can utilize the franchise tag on him in 2019? (2) On the heels of watching the Tyrann Mathieu’s early extension backfire, are the Cardinals unnecessarily risking the same with Johnson?
Cardinals fan’s—-how about some quick answers to the following: Would YOU have:
- Extended Steve Keim?
- Hired Steve Wilks as head coach?
- Hired Mike McCoy as OC?
- Insisted that this year is a retool, not a rebuild?
- Signed Sam Bradford and/or Mike Glennon?
- Picked up Deone Bucannon’s 5th year option?
- Given up 3 picks to draft Josh Rosen?
- Appointed Sam Bradford as starting QB early in camp.
- Signed David Johnson to a 3 year $39M extension (worth a potential $45M)?
With your “no” answers—-please tell us what you wished the Cardinals would have done instead.