The Arizona Cardinals ended the season with a 27-24 loss at the Seattle Seahawks to finish 3-13. Here’s a recap of the season and what’s next:
Season grade: Below average. Where to start? The Cardinals finished 3-13, tied for their worst record since 1959, thanks to underperforming seasons by both their offense and defense. The season was a disaster for Arizona nearly from the start. By Week 4, starting quarterback Sam Bradford was replaced by rookie Josh Rosen. By Week 8, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was fired. And it didn’t get any better with home losses to the one-win Oakland Raiders in Week 11 and the four-win Detroit Lions in Week 14.
The Cardinals think they have a quarterback to build around in Josh Rosen, but they swapped offensive coordinators midseason, and Rosen could be working with a new head coach soon, as well. Norm Hall/Getty Images
Season in review: This is how bad the Cardinals’ season was: Their only two wins until December came against the San Francisco 49ers, who had just two wins until the final month of the season. When Bradford did play, he was dismal, throwing for 400 yards total in almost three complete games. Rosen wasn’t much better, but that was to be expected from a rookie quarterback thrust into the starting job. But it was more than the quarterbacking. All five members of the offensive line that were projected to start the season were either injured or released by December, something seldom heard of in the NFL. Former All-Pro running back David Johnson struggled to find a rhythm, in part because of his own mishaps but largely due to poor playcalling and even worse blocking. The Cardinals’ run defense, once the hallmark of the team, was sievelike at times.
He said it: “It’s been a tough season. I mean, injuries, things not going our way, when one thing happens it adds up to another thing. It’s been really rough.” — Cardinals running back David Johnson
Will coach Steve Wilks and/or general manager Steve Keim return in 2019? Wilks might be the one to go, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that both could be fired. However, the answer to this question — which will come Monday morning — could determine the fate of the Cardinals for the foreseeable future. Sure, Wilks led the Cardinals to one of its worst seasons of the modern era, but he was dealing with issues that were out of his control, including Keim being suspended for five weeks during training camp and a slew of roster mistakes. However, the decision to retain one or the other could be an issue when a replacement is hired: How will a new coach work with an old GM or how will a new GM work with an old coach?
Will WR Larry Fitzgerald retire? The answer to this won’t be available as soon as the previous answer. Fitzgerald has taken about a month to decide his playing future the past couple of seasons, and this year should be no different. A quick read of the tea leaves shows there’s a chance Fitzgerald will retire, but if the Cardinals offer him another contract, it won’t be surprising if he returns for his 16th season. Fitzgerald will likely wait to see what the Cardinals do at coach and general manager.
What will the Cardinals do with the No. 1 pick? It depends on the coach and general manager. If the Cardinals keep the top pick in April’s draft and Keim is the general manager, there’ll be an exorbitant amount of pressure on him to hit a home run after years of botching first-round selections. It’s also likely the Cardinals could trade out of the top selection if another team is willing to part ways with a bevy of picks. But Arizona could end up with anyone from Nick Bosa to Rashan Gary to Greedy Williams. After a disastrous 2018, Arizona needs the first pick or a trade to work out.