In the first two games for Steve Wilks as an NFL head coach, his Arizona Cardinals have been outscored 58-6.
In Sunday’s 34-0 drubbing by the Rams in Los Angeles, the Cardinals offense didn’t manage to cross midfield until the next-to-last play of the game.
Arizona had five first downs and 137 total yards. That follows 213 yards the previous week against the Redskins.
The Cardinals (0-2) are averaging 175 yards per game, dead last in the NFL and it’s not even close.
“There’s a lot of self-inflicted stuff going on,” Wilks said Monday.
The problems on offense are pretty much everywhere, he said. The offensive playbook will be scaled back and simplified for next Sunday’s home game against Chicago and the Cardinals must get David Johnson in open space to be his dynamic self.
“Talking to (offensive coordinator) Mike (McCoy) this morning, talking to the staff, it’s some of the things that we’re going to try to do,” Wilks said, “Again, early on in the season, to me, guys are making mistakes, and this is throughout the league in the history because they’re overthinking. They’re trying to think too much and not execute, and I want the guys to go out there and play fast. So, we’re going to scale back, and we’re going to make sure we get these guys in the best position to be successful.”
Sam Bradford remains the quarterback. Rookie Josh Rosen’s time has not yet come, Wilks said.
“If I thought it was just that one position, I would be more than willing to say, ’You know what? We need to make a change. We need a spark. We need something to happen,’” Wilks said. “But it’s just not Sam. There are numerous things, as I just mentioned, that collectively, we’ve got to get better and try to find a way to rectify these problems and be a little bit more productive on the offensive side of the ball and still try to get off the field on the defensive side of the ball to give these guys more opportunities.
“So, it’s just not that one position.”
Bradford, who is coming off another significant knee injury, completed 17 of 27 passes against Los Angeles but for only 90 yards. The team’s longest play was a 15-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald. Arizona had just three plays of 10 yards or more. Bradford has 243 yards passing combined in two games.
“Frustrating, to say the least,” Bradford said after the game. “I think to put so much work and so much effort into getting back on to the field and then to play the way we have in the past two weeks, I think it’s just really disappointing.”
Wilks called Bradford’s play “inconsistent.”
“Does he need to be a little more accurate? Yes,” Wilks said. “But that’s just not Sam. We need to get a little bit more protection. He needs to have a little bit more time to go through his progression.”
Fitzgerald aggravated a sore hamstring in the Rams game and watched from the sidelines through much of the second half. He has missed just six games in his 15-year career.
“Larry, we all know — you guys have been around here for a while — it’s going to be tough to keep Larry off the field,” Wilks said. “I’ve got to help Larry help himself, and that’s what I did yesterday. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that he is ready to go on Sunday with the treatment and amount of reps that he gets in practice.”
David Johnson, the talented running back who is supposed to be at the center of the offensive attack, has been limited mostly to runs up the middle. He carried 13 times for 48 yards against Los Angeles and caught one pass for three yards.
“You look at some of his runs, and a lot of it is just David himself, just second effort kind of things,” Wilks said. “We’ve got to do a better job sustaining blocks, allowing David to get to that second level to where he’s so effective and making the guy miss. It starts upfront with the offensive line and again, with us just being more creative with the things that we’re doing with him.”
Notes: Wilks was optimistic that the team would have DE Markus Golden (knee) and TE Jermaine Gresham (Achilles) back for the Bears game. Both are coming off surgery and neither has played this season.
© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.