The Arizona Cardinals made the fairly obvious and probably needed decision on Friday morning to get rid of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy after seven games of total ineptitude.
The news comes in the wake of a 45-10 drubbing of the Cardinals by the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. Quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich was named new offensive coordinator in McCoy's absence.
Things got so ugly the Cardinals social media account declined to send out the final score, instead firing out a GIF of happy puppies. Literally the first 50 responses or so are people demanding for McCoy to be fired.
And it's hard to blame these fans: McCoy's offense has been one of the worst in football through six weeks (seven for the Cardinals).
The Cardinals rank next to last in Offensive DVOA at Football Outsiders -- only the Bills are saving them from being in the basement. Arizona is last in the NFL in yards per game (220.7), next to last in yards per play (4.2) and next to last in points (13.1).
David Johnson, once considered perhaps the best running back in football, has been completely neutered. The Cardinals offense basically consisted of repeatedly running Johnson into the middle of the line of scrimmage and hoping he would break a tackle regardless of how many defenders were in the box.
Arizona's opening play was straight into a bunch of Denver defenders looking for a run up the middle. They got it:
Down 21-3 on Thursday, McCoy continued along with this plan, completely unconcerned about Denver stacking the box.
Next Gen Stats from NFL.com show it's been a consistent theme this season -- they just smash Johnson into the middle of the line, even though the line isn't good and even though he's an excellent guy in space.
I blended all of David Johnson's #NextGenStats run charts together. The VAST majority of his runs are between the tackles. Absolutely baffling play calling for a RB with speed. For comparison, I added Melvin Gordon's carry chart from WK6 #Cardinals pic.twitter.com/SwYtw4dZnc— James Koh (@JamesDKoh) October 18, 2018
Not helping matters, of course, is seeing rookie quarterback Josh Rosen struggle. Rosen had a nightmare game on Thursday, throwing a pair of pick sixes and fumbling what felt like 12 times (it was only three). Von Miller was in his kitchen all day and Rosen, under fire, was repeatedly asked to make difficult throws down the field into tight windows.
Good coaching is supposed to scheme open receivers and give young quarterbacks good looks. McCoy did none of that. Rosen finished the game with a 44.2 passer rating. Woof.
This is the second year in a row McCoy has been fired in the middle of the season.
Leftwich is a guy seen as a rising star, a holdover from the previous regime under Bruce Arians. Leftwich drew praise during the broadcast, well before McCoy was fired.
Byron Leftwich should be the Cardinals offensive coordinator and will be a star in the profession— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) October 19, 2018
Would expect Byron Leftwich to be the next OC of the Cardinals. He is currently their QB coach. Well regarded in the organization— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 19, 2018
After the game, coach Steve Wilks said it was "premature" to talk about making any coaching changes.
"That's premature, to talk about changes right now," Wilks said. "Everybody is going to be evaluated across the board. As I said before, we have to find ways to get this going in the right direction."
Clearly he meant that evening, because McCoy was fired first thing in the morning Friday. It always stinks to see someone lose their job, but this is a necessary thing for the Cardinals moving forward. This was not the answer on offense. They need to see what Rosen has, they need to see Johnson used properly and they need to see if Leftwich can be a capable offensive coordinator.