Steve Wilks has the chance to lead the Arizona Cardinals to a winning season in his first season. Historically, it’s been tough to do.
Steve Wilks is the new head coach for the Arizona Cardinals. Last season, the Cardinals finished with an 8-8 record. Will Wilks finish 2018 with a winning record?
The Cardinals have attracted talented coaches to lead the team. Collegiate coaching legend Bud Wilkinson became head coach in 1978. Before him, Don Coryell led the Cardinals from 1973-77.
Did they have winning season in their first year? Coryell finished 1973 with a 4-9-1 record. Wilkinson was 6-10 in his first season. Has there been a first year coach finish with a winning season, you may ask?
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Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, there has been one head coach to have a winning first season. Bruce Arians went 10-6 in 2013. Technically, Charley Winner finished 8-5-1 in his first season in 1966 and in 1970.
There have been two coaches finish at 8-8. Buddy Ryan was 8-8 in 1994. Ken Whisenhunt had a .500 record in 2011. What will Wilks have to do differently?
Arizona must get off the blocks with early wins. Early season wins will set the stage for the year. Hopefully, the Cardinals will not repeat the 2012 season.
Arizona won their first four games, that season. Nine-straight losses doomed Whisenhunt’s reign and Arians replaced him the following season. He finished with a 45-51 record in Arizona and the only Super Bowl appearance.
Wilks inherits a good team. First of all, he has the ageless one, Larry Fitzgerald as the No. 1 wide receiver. David Johnson returns at running back after missing most of last season due to injury.
There are not many cornerbacks as good as Patrick Peterson. The Arizona defense finished sixth in total defense a season ago. Wilks is a defensive minded head coach.
The NFC West will be tough this season. Arizona has to win its home games because winning on the road will be tough. If Arizona could steal three road victories and win all eight one games, then Arizona just might find themselves in the playoffs.