First-year coach Steve Wilks is facing more heat after the Arizona Cardinals’ 40-14 blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, and he is facing the criticism head on.
“I want to start out by saying I take full responsibility for what you saw out there tonight,” Wilks told reporters. “It was unacceptable. Not even close.
“We had a great drive, went down and scored, went up 7-0. Then we had unfortunate turnovers that really turned the tables for us. That’s not really (rookie quarterback) Josh (Rosen’s fault). It happens at times. Tipped balls and things like that happen.
“We’ve got to find a way to overcome it. Defensively, we didn’t do a great job of stopping the run. That’s one of the things we emphasized and talked about. They’ve struggled pretty much the last couple of weeks running the football. We knew what they were going to do in the passing game. We’ve got to do a much better job and like I said, it all starts with me.”
In terms of Wilks’ job security with a 3-11 record, star receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, “The heat’s on all of us. We’re all paid professionals, we’re paid to win football games, and we’re not doing a good enough job to do that.”
The Cardinals are in danger of finishing tied for the worst record in their Arizona history. The team went 3-13 in 2000.
Sunday’s result was the Cardinals’ fourth blowout loss of the season and they have also lost at home to beatable teams such as the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions.
The Cardinals are coming to the defense of their head coach.
“At the end of the day, the coaches can only do so much. It comes to a point where the players have to execute,” center Mason Cole told the Arizona Republic. “People can blame whoever they want, but it’s us in this locker room that need to perform do their jobs.”
Fitzgerald echoed those thoughts.
“Head coaches take too much of the credit and too much of the blame most the time,” Fitzgerald said. “I love Coach Wilks. I believe in what he stands for. His message every single day has been consistent.
“No one’s going to lay down or quit playing. We’re going to continue to fight for him.”
Wilks has fielded repeated questions this year about his future as Arizona’s coach and he continues to offer the same type of answer every time.
“You guys have asked me that question,” he said. “My focus right now is on the (Los Angeles) Rams (on Sunday in the home finale), trying to really correct the things we need to correct and try to find a way to win a football season.”
–LB Deone Bucannon was back in the lineup Sunday after missing the past three games with rib and collar bone injuries.
–WR Trent Sherfield, a rookie, had the chance to celebrate his 7-yard touchdown catch from Mike Glennon with 3:14 left to play in front of a huge contingent of family and friends in Atlanta.
–QB Josh Rosen completed 13 of 22 passes for 132 yards with two interceptions and a fumble lost on a strip-sack Sunday. He was sacked six times. He was replaced by Mike Glennon in the second half. He will start Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
–WR Chad Williams was not healthy enough with his troubled hamstring to be available in Atlanta last week. Head coach Steve Wilks said Monday he was “hopeful” Williams can play Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams.
–CB Brandon Williams had his first extended experience of game action Sunday because of a concussion suffered by David Amerson. He had not played a snap on defense all season before Sunday. He played in 61 snaps Sunday.