ESPN: Wilks’ job security at risk with GM Steve Keim on hot seat

Nov 15, 2018, 1:51 PM

Newly appointed Arizona Cardinals football head coach Steve Wilks, center, poses for photographers ...

Newly appointed Arizona Cardinals football head coach Steve Wilks, center, poses for photographers with general manager Steve Keim, right, and team president Michael Bidwill, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, after being introduced at the teams' training facility in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

Through 10 weeks, the playoffs are all but out of the question for the Arizona Cardinals for the third year in a row.

Organizational precedent suggests that first-year head coach Steve Wilks could be back next season. The only head coach since the team moved to the Valley that didn’t see a second season was Hank Kuhlmann, who served on an interim basis in 1989.

But Wilks’ job could depend on the job security of general manager Steve Keim. If the Cardinals decide to let Keim go, the new general manager may want to hire his own coaching staff.

ESPN writer Bill Barnwell lists Arizona as one of 10 teams that could have openings at the head coach position by the start of next season.

The job would be the ‘least desirable,’ said Barnwell.

If the Cardinals hire a new GM, it will be tough to justify keeping Wilks. The Cardinals’ defense has remained effective on his watch, ranking sixth in DVOA through 10 weeks, but the future of the organization hinges on developing new quarterback Josh Rosen. If a new GM wants to hire an offense-minded coach to take over, I’m not sure Wilks has done enough to stand in the way.

After signing an extension through 2022, Keim kept busy over the summer as he tried to forestall a rebuild after former head coach Bruce Arians and 38-year-old quarterback Carson Palmer retired.

The Cardinals signed Sam Bradford to a $15 million guaranteed deal over two years to fill the void at quarterback, not knowing Rosen would be available on the draft board with the tenth overall pick. The Bradford experiment turned out to be short-lived after he was benched for Rosen after three starts and later released on Nov. 3.

Other mishaps have largely been related to draft picks since Keim took over in 2013. His build-through-the-draft philosophy has lacked specifically on the offensive line, the most glaring problem for the Cardinals.

Arizona’s line ranked last through Week 10 according to Pro Football Focus.

Since Keim’s first year, he has drafted offensive linemen Jonathan Cooper, Earl Watford, D.J. Humphries, Cole Toner, Evan Boehm, Will Holden, Dorian Johnson, Korey Cunningham and Mason Cole.

Humphries, Cunningham and Cole are the only three remaining linemen on the roster.

Linebacker Deone Bucannon is the only player left from Keim’s 2014 draft picks, while there are none from 2013.

Coaching changes and injuries have deterred defensive players like Bucannon, as well as Haason Reddick and Robert Nkemdiche from playing up to first-rounder expectations.

Bucannon, drafted 27th overall in 2014 has played 33.4 percent on defense so far this season as he has tried to find his way into Wilks’ scheme.

Reddick played only 30 defensive snaps through the first four games while Nkemdiche has yet to play a full season since Keim drafted him 29th overall in 2016.

The Cardinals success seen from 2013-15 has been on the decline under Keim, and if the organization decides to go in a new direction, Wilks’ era in Arizona could be over as well.

Arizona Cardinals

Isaiah Simmons practices...

Tyler Drake

Nick Rallis, Cardinals not rushing process with LB Isaiah Simmons

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons has been a defensive nomad throughout his career. Will he have a home in Year 4?

1 day ago

Budda Baker #3 of the Arizona Cardinals shakes hands with fans after beating the Seattle Seahawks 2...

Wills Rice

Carson Palmer believes Cardinals need Budda Baker

Carson Palmer thinks keeping safety Budda Baker around is vital for the rebuilding years of the Arizona Cardinals.

1 day ago

DeAndre Hopkins...

Arizona Sports

Breer: ‘There’s a healthy divide’ on what ex-Cardinal DeAndre Hopkins has left

The MMQB's Albert Breer sees a split between those who think Hopkins still has something left and those who feel his price tag is too steep.

2 days ago

DeAndre Hopkins speaks after a game...

Dan Bickley

DeAndre Hopkins’ release ends WR’s selfish legacy with Cardinals

For the second time in three years, DeAndre Hopkins is moving on to another team and bringing little or nothing of value in return.

2 days ago

Zaven Collins tackles Dalvin Cook...

Tyler Drake

Vikings hosting joint practices with Cardinals ahead of preseason matchup

The Minnesota Vikings are hosting the Arizona Cardinals for joint practices ahead of their preseason tilt on Aug. 26.

2 days ago

DeAndre Hopkins...

Tyler Drake

Positives of DeAndre Hopkins’ release outweigh negative of Cardinals not trading WR

The Arizona Cardinals missed out on receiving some kind of trade compensation for DeAndre Hopkins this offseason. And that's OK.

2 days ago

ESPN: Wilks’ job security at risk with GM Steve Keim on hot seat