Sporting News: Cardinals’ Wilks ranks among bottom half of NFL coaches

Jun 24, 2018, 6:30 AM
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
(AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Arizona Cardinals made headlines following the 2017 season when former head coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement.

General manager Steve Keim and president Michael Bidwill addressed the concerns in January, however, hiring former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Becoming a first-time head coach in the NFL, Sporting News’s Bill Bender ranked Wilks among the bottom-half of coaches in the league at No. 27.

But, Bender does expect Wilks to rise in the rankings as the season progresses.

This is overdue. Wilks started at Johnson C. Smith in Division II in 1995 and had worked as an NFL assistant since 2005. He thrived under Ron Rivera as a defensive coordinator in Carolina, so expect the 48-year-old to take advantage of this opportunity

Wilks retained six assistants from Arians’ staff, adding five others.

Former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was hired for the same position under Wilks, while Al Holcomb was hired as the defensive coordinator.

Previously, Holcomb worked under Wilks as the linebackers coach in Carolina.

Along with a slew of new coaches, Wilks and the rest of the Cardinals’ staff added playmakers both through the NFL Draft and free agency so far this offseason.

Arguably the two biggest additions came on the offensive line and behind center, with former Giants guard Justin Pugh and former Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford signing with the Cardinals.

Bradford is expected to be used as a bridge for future-franchise quarterback Josh Rosen, who the Cardinals drafted tenth overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Other weapons such as veterans Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson, as well as rookie Christian Kirk are expected to improve the Cardinals offense that was riddled with injuries last season.

Meanwhile, a defense that was one of the best in the league last year returns multiple starters, including defensive end Chandler Jones and cornerback Patrick Peterson.

Arizona Cardinals

Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals returns an interception against the San Francisco 49ers at ...
Alex Weiner

Cardinals safety Budda Baker selected to PFWA All-NFC team

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker made the Professional Football Writers of America All-NFC team for the second straight year.
1 day ago
Owner Michael Bidwill (R) and general manager Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals look on during tr...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals engulfed in offseason chatter early on

It's been quite the roller coaster of conflicting reports since the Cardinals were bounced from the NFC Wild Card game just over a week ago.
1 day ago
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during the NFL game ...
Dan Bickley

Lessons the Cardinals need to learn from 49ers-Rams NFC title matchup

To the Valley’s dismay, the NFC Championship game will be a showcase for two NFC West teams, neither of which are the Cardinals.
1 day ago
Larry Fitzgerald looks on during Capital One's The Match at The Reserve at Moonlight Basin on July ...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald named executive chair of Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee

Larry Fitzgerald was named the new executive chair for the Arizona Super Bowl host committee on Monday for the 2023 game.
2 days ago
Arizona quarterback Will Plummer (15) is pressured by Southern California linebacker Drake Jackson ...
Jake Anderson

Cardinals take USC edge rusher Drake Jackson in PFF’s latest mock draft

The Arizona Cardinals have something that no other NFC West team has in the 2022 NFL Draft: a first-round draft pick.
2 days ago
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandon Powell (19) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Cur...
Arizona Sports

Rams-49ers matchup in All-NFC West conference championship game

The Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers will meet in the first NFC West-only conference championship game since the 2013 season. 
3 days ago
Sporting News: Cardinals’ Wilks ranks among bottom half of NFL coaches