By the numbers: Steve Wilks’ lone season as Cardinals head coach
First-year head coach Steve Wilks is known to have a defensive-minded approach, but the Arizona Cardinals were ranked among the worst offensively.
Just how bad was the offense during his tenure? For one, then-offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was fired in Week 7 following a 45-10 loss at home against the Denver Broncos.
Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen got his first start in Week 4 after it seemed like he would spend the season developing under starter Sam Bradford, but Bradford was benched in Week 3 and released in November.
Wilks’ passing defense was average this season, but the rushing defense, much like the offense, ranked toward the bottom in the league.
Here’s a look at Wilks’ first and last season as the head coach of the 3-13 Cardinals.
The Cardinals ranked last in the league in total offense, averaging 241.6 net yards per game. The team ranked No. 22 last season in Bruce Arians’ last season as the head coach as they finished 8-8.
Running back David Johnson was poised to have a solid comeback season after battling a wrist injury in which he suffered in Week 1 in 2017 and missing the rest of the season. After signing a three-year contract in September, it appeared that the Cardinals offense would run through Johnson.
But the fourth-year pro could hardly establish a solid running game which led the Cardinals to rank worst in the NFL in time of possession.
Arizona’s punt team was one of the busiest in the league due to three-and-outs. The Cardinals ranked last in third down percentage at 29.7.
Wilks’ offense managed to score only 225 points this season, ranking last in the NFL. That’s 94 points fewer than the second-to-last team ranked in that category. In seven games, Arizona had finished with 10 or fewer points in a game.
Though the Cardinals made the switch to Byron Leftwich as the new playcaller and offensive coordinator to help develop Rosen and get Johnson more involved, the offense finished the season ranked worst in the league in average points scored at 14.1.
The rushing attack was non-existent in Wilks’ first season with the team. The Cardinals’ 3.8 average rushing yards per attempt ranked worst in the league. Johnson finished with 940 total rushing yards on 58.8 yards per game.
The Johnson-led rushing attack for the Cardinals ranked last in rushing yards per game at 83.9. He had one 100-plus yard rushing game all season, which came in Week 11 at home against the Oakland Raiders.
The Cardinals’ rushing defense under Wilks was among the worst in the league as well. The defense gave up 154.9 rushing yards per game, ranked last.
Last season, Arizona finished in the middle of the pack in rushing touchdowns given up with 12. That number has more than doubled this season at 25, ranking last in the league. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for three touchdowns in Week 2 against the Cardinals in their 34-0 blowout.