The Cardinals offense under fired OC Mike McCoy: By the numbers
Mike McCoy has been fired three times since the 2017 calendar year began.
On New Year’s Day, the San Diego Chargers relieved him of duties as head coach. McCoy latched on to the Denver Broncos as offensive coordinator heading into 2017, but he was fired after Week 11 of that season in the midst of a six-game losing skid.
He didn’t even last that long in Arizona. Joining first-time head coach Steve Wilks’ staff and challenged with a new-look quarterback room that included veteran Sam Bradford and rookie Josh Rosen, McCoy was replaced with quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich on Friday, the morning after the Cardinals’ 45-10 loss to the Broncos on Thursday Night Football.
The rest of the league has yet to wrap Week 7 of play, but here’s a look at just how much McCoy’s offense struggled to produce during his tenure.
The Cardinals haven’t put themselves in position to succeed on third down. That said, they haven’t gotten it down on third downs, either. Arizona ranks last by converting 23.1 percent of their third downs, by far worst in the league. The Buffalo Bills are second-to-last at 27.9 percent, and every other team ranks from 31.2 percent to 49.4 percent on third-down conversions heading into the weekend.
Spanning the Cardinals’ Week 6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings through the first half Thursday against Denver, Arizona went on a streak of 0-of-17 on third-down conversions before a Rosen scramble broke the streak on the first drive of the third quarter. That was part of an 11-play, 63-yard touchdown drive that was significant in itself.
Halftime adjustments haven’t been productive for the Cardinals’ offense. They entered Thursday having been shut out 42-0 in third quarters this season before Rosen led the offense on the aforementioned drive that ended on a four-yard touchdown throw to Larry Fitzgerald. The McCoy-led team was outscored 49-7 in third quarters.
Fitzgerald’s catch with 8:33 left in the third quarter, by the way, was his first score this season. He has caught 26 balls on 43 targets for 255 yards so far this year and is on pace to total 583 yards, which would be nearly 200 yards off his worst season of 780 receiving yards his rookie year.
That’s David Johnson’s average yards per carry this season. He’s rushed for just 335 yards through the seventh game of the year. According to Sharp Football Stats, he struggled immensely on first downs and third downs, respectively averaging 1.9 yards and 1.4 yards per rush.
Johnson averaged 5.0 yards per carry on second downs.
Not including the loss to Denver, McCoy’s Cardinals rushed the ball behind rookie center Mason Cole 63 percent of the time in 2018 with limited results. That was even extreme by McCoy’s standards. He ran it behind center 47 percent of the time with the Chargers in 2016. As offensive coordinator of the Broncos last year before getting the axe after Week 11, McCoy called runs up the middle 40 percent of the time, according to Sharp Football Stats.
The NFL average, according to Sharp Football Stats, is 28.9 percent over the last three years.
Ranking 31st in the NFL and ahead of only the Bills, the Cardinals averaged 156.1 passing yards per game and 5.8 yards per attempt.
Arizona also ranked ahead of Buffalo in points per game, averaging 13.1 under McCoy. Buffalo heads into its seventh game at 12.7 points per game, while the New Orleans Saints lead the NFL at 36. Only six teams average fewer than 20 points per game.
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The Cardinals ranked dead last in the NFL in rushing yards averaged per game (64.6) and average yards per carry (3.2).
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Arizona also ranked at the bottom in several passing statistics through Thursday. The Cardinals are tied for having thrown the most interceptions (9). Five have been thrown by Rosen, while four were thrown by Sam Bradford through the first three weeks of the season.