ARIZONA CARDINALS

Former coach Bruce Arians ‘shocked’ at crumbling Cardinals

Oct 22, 2018, 3:00 PM
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians watches during the first half of an NFL football game aga...
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Even with his head down focused on his new job, Bruce Arians sees his former team’s struggles.

The first-year CBS Sports analyst hasn’t had much time to see what’s gone wrong since he left Arizona, but he does hear the chatter.

After the problems seemingly came to a head last week when the Cardinals fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson has demanded a trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday.

The Cardinals mind-boggling poor 1-6 start hasn’t gone unnoticed by Arians.

“Shocked. Shocked,” the former coach told Bickley & Marotta Monday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “When I look at the statistics every week, it’s hard to imagine with the players that are there — and I know they’re working hard — that that’s the results from their work.”

Arians had previously been critical of how the NFL’s worst offense had utilized former Pro Bowl running back David Johnson, who thrived in the run game and receiving game while playing under Arians from 2015-16.

The Cardinals’ former coach told the TD Fantasy Podcast that Arizona under McCoy was improperly using Johnson. They’d failed to create mismatches by forcing linebackers to cover him on routes.

Admittedly without watching much tape, Arians repeated that assessment Friday.

“I was shocked. I saw a graphic … (of Melvin Gordon’s) and David Johnson’s hit chart, and it was like, ‘woh.’ It hit me right in the face,” Arians said. “I mean, the entire thing was between the tackles and (Gordon’s) was all the way across the board.”

The Cardinals under first-year coach Steve Wilks might tend to agree.

Wilks fired McCoy on Friday, promoting an Arians holdover and quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich to offensive coordinator. But problems go beyond play-calling.

“First thing is I’d get some offensive line guys healthy,” Arians said. “That’s been a problem for a number of years now, just those injuries. Byron’s not a miracle worker, but he will do a good job with what he’s got left.”

So are the Cardinals’ struggles on Wilks? Does it just take time to learn new concepts and play a new way?

Arians said new schemes usually can come together by the start of the season in September. He also suggested that, as it appears with the Peterson news, there are more concerning cracks in the franchise’s foundation beyond the Xs and Os.

“You go through OTAs, you go through training camp, you have some ups and downs,” Arians said of coaching a new team. “As I preached to our guys all the time, if we have a locker room of leadership, we’ll never lose two in a row.”

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator and acting head coach Vance Joseph looks on during the seco...
Arizona Sports

Listen: Cardinals’ Joseph, Bidwill give locker room speeches after win vs. Browns

Acting coach Vance Joseph and Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill credited their team for overcoming in a win against the Browns.
1 day ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a touch down pass to DeAndre Hopkins #10 (not pictu...
Tyler Drake

No Kliff, no problem: Short-handed Cardinals don’t blink vs. Browns

Despite being down a head coach and a handful of key contributors, the Arizona Cardinals dug in and came out with a win in Week 6.
1 day ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the C...
Arizona Sports

Rapid reactions: Cardinals make statement vs. Browns

Here are a few main takeaways from the victory that keeps Arizona as the only loss-less team in the NFL through Week 6.
1 day ago
DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a touchdown with teammates during the third...
Dan Bickley

Might we call Cardinals special after they overcame adversity again?

The Arizona Cardinals prevailed against the Cleveland Browns because special football teams don’t let anything get in their way.
1 day ago
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones interacts with Arizona Cardinals tight end Darrell Dan...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals TE Darrell Daniels, DT Rashard Lawrence hurt vs. Browns

Already down starting tight end Maxx Williams, the Cardinals lost replacement Darrell Daniels to a hamstring injury against the Browns.
1 day ago
Christian Kirk #13 of the Arizona Cardinals catches a touchdown pass during the first quarter again...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals start fast and finish strong to beat Browns, move to 6-0

The Browns chopped into the lead with zeros on the first-half clock, as Baker Mayfield connected with Donovan Peoples-Jones on a Hail Mary.
1 day ago
Former coach Bruce Arians ‘shocked’ at crumbling Cardinals