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Arizona Cardinals fire OC Mike McCoy, promote Byron Leftwich

Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, right, explains a play to rookie quarterback Josh Rosen (3) during NFL football practice Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Cardinals fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Friday following a 45-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football, the team announced.

Quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich will assume the role of offensive coordinator. Leftwich, who quarterbacked in the NFL for 10 seasons, joined the Cardinals as an intern assisting the quarterbacks in 2016 under then-head coach Bruce Arians. He was promoted to quarterbacks coach in January 2017 and was a holdover on first-year head coach Steve Wilks’ coaching staff.

Thursday was the final straw for the front office after the Cardinals fell to 1-6 on the season.

General manager Steve Keim, who did not want to speak on a coach’s job status on Doug & Wolf Show on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, said the team is going to have to make “tough decisions” following the defeat on Thursday Night Football.

“This isn’t good enough and last night, the game that was on display on national television, quite frankly, embarrassing,” Keim said. “We all know that.”

Arizona lost 45-10, turned the ball over five times and averaged an abysmal 3.3 yards per carry against a Denver defense that had allowed a league-worst 5.6 yards per carry this season.

The offense has been at the forefront of the team’s many problems under Wilks. Arizona entered Thursday averaging 156.5 passing yards per contest, better than only the Buffalo Bills. Their 63.8 rushing yards per game is the worst in the league despite signing running back David Johnson to a massive contract extension shortly before the season started.

Against the Broncos, they put up 154 net passing yards and 69 yards rushing.

For the second year in a row, McCoy has been fired from an offensive coordinator position midway through the season. Last year, the Broncos replaced him after Week 11.

The failure to utilize Johnson sits at the top of McCoy’s failures with the Cardinals.

The start to 2018 has been a far cry from 2016, when Johnson put up 2,118 yards from scrimmage while lining up as a receiver 20 percent of the time. This season, it was just 3.5 percent entering Thursday’s game, according to NFL.com’s Graham Barfield.

Johnson rushed 14 times for just 39 yards against Denver.

That’s just one factor in the lack of creativity the offense has displayed this season.

The wide receiver room has looked largely unable to create space and make plays. Rookie Christian Kirk has formed a connection with quarterback Josh Rosen, but Larry Fitzgerald, who had three straight years of 100-plus reception seasons, has produced 26 catches for 255 yards this year. Thursday, he caught his first touchdown of the year.

After veteran Sam Bradford struggled as starting quarterback, the Cardinals replaced him with Josh Rosen in the third game of the season and named the rookie the starter the next week.

In all, the Cardinals have only broken the 20-point barrier once in seven games under McCoy.

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