McCoy knows it’s about the players

Posted by Darren Urban on January 29, 2018 – 4:52 pm

Mike McCoy was blunt, when asked if his offensive playcalling was about scheme or matchups.

“Players,” he said, and that’s always the ultimate answer.

As an incoming coordinator, McCoy was probably never going to have a lot of specifics. He was just hired, and even if there was a quarterback in place, a change in head coach usually means a change in the roster anyway. Besides, he still has to evaluate the guys who are on the roster in the first place. Then you add in all the uncertainty on that side of the ball, because of impending free agency with so many (and the question of Larry Fitzgerald’s future, although more on that in a moment) and McCoy didn’t have the specifics I’m sure many wanted to hear. It isn’t feasible yet.

But it always comes down to players.

That can get lost, and yes, coaching matters. McCoy’s best time as an OC came when Peyton Manning was in his Denver heyday in 2012, but that shouldn’t be a negative. It’s a fact, just like Bruce Arians was at his best offensively when Carson Palmer had his best season in 2015 or that Ken Whisenhunt had his best offense when Kurt Warner stepped forward in 2008-09.

It’s impossible to know what the Cardinals’ offensive personnel might be. McCoy talked about wanting to win, regardless of how pretty it might look. He did that in 2011 with a Broncos offense using Tim Tebow(!) to win a playoff game and leading the NFL in rushing. He threw plenty with Manning and Philip Rivers. The Cardinals have one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league in David Johnson and I’m guessing he’ll do a lot of both — because why wouldn’t he? McCoy is smart enough to know what he has.

Speaking of which, McCoy sure sounded like a guy who expects Fitzgerald to play, which continues to be the guesstimate put out by those closest to Fitz, like his dad or Warner. “We might shift some things we wanted to be our core, then we’ll go the other way,” McCoy said. ” ‘We’re better at this.’ ‘David likes these runs.’ ‘The quarterbacks like these plays.’ ‘Larry, this is what he loves. This is what he’s good at it.’ We’ve got to learn a lot about the players too.” That sounds like a guy thinking Fitz will be around.


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32 Responses to “McCoy knows it’s about the players”

  1. By JTDG on Jan 29, 2018 | Reply

    Love the last paragraph.

    He is a guy who adjust to personnel. Not the other way around. You know, like asking short squatty short armed centers to pull out and block the DE we saw this past year.

  2. By Dr. G. on Jan 29, 2018 | Reply

    Darren ~ ~ I’m wondering if there are any players of interest to Keim/Wilks that are free CFL agents? Do we scout the CFL with much interest? …2/13 I think is the deadline to sign a player from there…you never know. That’s a pass-happy league that may have a few worthy players …Thx

  3. By Darren Urban on Jan 29, 2018 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: CFL

    Yes, the Cards scout the CFL. Don’t know if there are any particular targets right now.

  4. By Coach K on Jan 29, 2018 | Reply

    I hope McCoy and Wilks can find a veteran QB to use as a bridge, and I hope they can draft one of the top four QB’s if someone falls to them.

    However, all the draft experts say the top 4 quarterbacks will be off the board by pick #7. So if that is the case, then I think we need to sign a veteran QB and hopefully draft a QB like Luke Falk in round three. Falk has impressed at the senior bowl and has impressed at interviews. Not the strongest arm, but his accuracy is exceptional.

    Not sure what veterans will be FA’s, but I think a vet, plus a guy like Falk to learn behind a vet is a good strategy assuming the Cards do not move up and trade with Cleveland at pick #4 and take one of the top four prospects.

    That’s how I see it happening in April.

  5. By Charley Shurtz on Jan 29, 2018 | Reply

    any team is better if Larry is there, hoping so for at least two or maybe three more years

  6. By El Gallo on Jan 29, 2018 | Reply

    Good articles Darren, thanks..

    McCoy sure makes it sound like Larry will be a part of this moving forward and I like that. Even if Larry himself is unsure due to the QB uncertainty. They talk about him as being there already and looking into how they’ll use Larry possibly. Good stuff..

    “Because they are all touchdowns and first downs on paper.” -McCoy

    That’s an interesting perspective that McCoy is bringing to the offense. He was talking about possible scenarios of 3rd down, do you run or throw it? Seems like he will go with what is working, hopefully staying away from being predictable with his play calls.

    As long as you get the first down or touchdown, it shouldn’t matter. Go with what’s making you successful per game/drive. I like like where he’s going with this.

    Also like his philosophy on what’s important “scheme or match-up” as per Darren’s article. His first response was “players”. His staff will be assessing all the players strengths and will also take their input as they create their offensive system.

    Now that sounds like a winning combination!
    They’ll have a familiarity with schemes (“some things will carry over..” -McCoy) and be comfortable with their go-to plays allowing players instincts and skills to take over.

    Sounds good to me.

  7. By creditcard on Jan 29, 2018 | Reply

    I sure hope McCoy and Wilks is correct about Fitz playing. Aside from the fact that the Cards are better with Fitz than w/o Fitz; as a fan I just love seeing Fitz play. Pure class.

    Fitz does it the right way. A role model on and off the field of play. A statesman for the Cards, NFL, and community.

    Even when the Cards lose a game, the loss seems more palatable if Fitz played and had a good game. Fitz literally makes the game better.

  8. By El Gallo on Jan 29, 2018 | Reply

    @Scott H “PP’s performance”

    I agree that there is no doubt PP is one of the best CBs in the game today.
    •He nullifies the oppositions top WR every game.
    •Allows few touchdowns per year.
    •Opposing OCs dictate their game plan around PP.

    His feeling “disrespected” I get that after not being named All-Pro, especially after having a good statistical season individually.

    Can he improve, yes he can. But when you don’t get to see the ball often it’s not easy to see or have tangible proof.
    The few times he does get thrown at, yes there’s a few long catches on him. That’s where he can improve, in those lapses.

    Tackling, as a football player you expect him to make such a basic play. If he’s close yes he should do so.
    As a Defensive Captain, he should set the example. He plays with a passion, and talks in the same manner I’d say. I think that’s where his comments derive from.

  9. By Lifetime Fan on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply


    I see everyone talking about how we need a QB who “can win games”, the thing is there is one in the building who is 9-4 as a starter for us and has never had a shot at being a starter for a full season. If you want a veteran to start for the next few years, which is looking like our best option, you gotta consider the StanMan. I know he isn’t flashy, doesn’t put up great numbers, and isn’t a QBOF, but if you extrapolate his record out to a full season that is an 11-5 team with him at QB. Cards have the defense, they have talent at RB, get a WR and a couple OL and let Stanton turn us into the Jaguars of the NFC, who almost beat the best team in the league in the AFC championship. The formula is time-tested and it works, why not conciously give it a shot in AZ?

  10. By michael on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Lifetime fan-

    Jason Garrett was 6-3 as a starter and nobody put a franchise on him. situational wins. Stanton has bailed us out fantasticaly, but that is what a backup QB is supposed to do, be able to step in for the starter when a good team around him is already in place

    This team needs ot build around a NEW qb. And lets not forget that games against Seattle and Washington could have easily been won had Stanton not horrendously overthrown or missed receviers. Those are two wins that make us a payoff team.

  11. By D on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    So, no more forcing “chunk” up for grab throws to short J. Brown?

    This “aggressive” QB free agency talk in all the press conferences is getting the fans to believe that Keim will trade for T. Brady.

  12. By forbessh on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    RE: Lifetime Fan WHY NOT STANTON?

    Been there, done that!

    A one-dimensional can get you far, if the supporting cast is great but they will never win for you when it matters. Blake Bortles proved it in the AFC championship game. Once the Pats neutralised their A-game, he wasn’t playing to win but playing not to lose.

    Stanton has reached the ceiling, so many years around BA (the so-called QB whisperer) and he never moved from good to great.

    Let us look elsewhere for the future QB.

  13. By John S. on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Well, everybody wants to win, but we’ll have to see what actually develops here. I hope the talk of flexibility and adjusting to which players on hand etc. is going to be true and all. I’m still somewhat skeptical, as the major reasons he was let go at SD as the HC, and then Denver as OC in quick order, is from my research basically just the opposite. Not that he isn’t a good coach per se, or has problems with players, skills, or smarts, etc., but that he was almost stubbornly inflexible in his play calling/formations, and not using players in game plans to their best and/or more limited abilities. Past analysis states overly complex schemes to the players, insisting on certain formations that repeatedly only led to increased sacks, turnovers, and penalties, and that the offenses/QB’s just couldn’t execute to his expectations .. and thus the losing records where he has been. As for his developing or best use of various QB’s, apparently, even Philip Rivers performance suffered some under his offensive designs, and he was ultimately dismissed at both his last two gigs for similar reasons. I only know what I have read going back in time to many old and newer articles (national and local news written), and hope that not the case here.
    I dunno’.. hopefully Wilks/Kiem know what they are doing, have to be aware of all that, and will keep a close eye.

  14. By JTDG on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    A tweet from Josh Norman on Wilks – Regarding Pat P.

    *Joshua R. Norman

    @P2 dude you think your game on a High level now? Your abt to go #Supersonic!SegaGenesis!🤯😩


  15. By JTDG on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Wilks Defense;

    I’m reading that Wilks defenses are very complicated and will go through growing pains .

    He runs zones 72% of the time (not my favorite) but does it different. Wilks does like zone coverages, but his cover three looks are highly complicated pattern matching not spot dropping.

    He has been successful.
    Prior to Wilks’ arrival, San Diego ranked 31st in the NFL against the pass but stood 11th in 2009, first in 2010 and 13th in 2011. In 2010, Wilks and then San Diego defensive coordinator [Ron] Rivera formed a formidable duo when the Chargers led the NFL in total defense and pass defense

    With the bears, From 2006-08, cornerbacks and safeties accounted for 42 of the team’s 62 interceptions, including 16 in 2006 when Chicago – with Rivera as defensive coordinator – led the NFL with 44 takeaways and advanced to Super Bowl XLI.

    The article I was reading says, he demands a lot from his players but they love him. I’m guessing if he demands a lot and it’s complicated, he wants smart players.

  16. By Scott H on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Oh, thank God, we now have a Special Team’s coordinator who is not named Amos Jones! How can this NOT get better from here?

    Whoever this guy is, I can’t help loving him already. THAT is what the last few years with Jones did to me.

    Going forward, it WILL be interesting to see if there seems to be the same stubborn loyalty to coaches / coordinators that are just flat out performing poorly as we saw with the previous regime. I love me some BA, but there were clearly some changes that needed to be made and I question if he would have made them with the loyalty he had to his coaches.

  17. By Kevin S Mesa on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    If there’s a way to land Alex Smith, I’m in favor of that. With or without a QB-of-the-future in the wings — I don’t think it’s that important if we get him to come here (and can sign him to an extension), because I think he can still be good for a few more years.

    Yeah, I know, “game manager,” can’t win big games, blah blah. I think fans hear that stuff from the media (or other fans) and forget that, by and large, those reputations are based on impossibly small sample sizes. Yeah, Smith is 2-5 in the playoffs. You blaming him for their 45-44 loss to the Colts in 2013, when he threw for 378 yards and 4 TD’s with no picks? He has 14 TD’s and 2 INT’s to go with a 97.4 rating in 7 playoff games. He’s been a perfectly fine QB even in the playoffs — he’s not withering under pressure. His teams have just lost a bunch of close games — 5 playoff losses by a total of 12 points.

    And, by the way, the Cardinals could use a “game manager” who completes 67% of his passes (as Smith has done the past two years) and throws single-digit INT’s each season (in the past 6 seasons, Smith has played in 101 games and thrown 43 INT’s). As good as Palmer was, INT’s were his Achilles heel… can you imagine having a QB who throws less than one INT every two games?

    And with Larry having gotten used to playing in the slot, and catching more balls (for fewer yards), that fits in perfectly with a short passing game that sustains drives, instead of lofting the ball 20 yards downfield incomplete to John Brown, lofting the ball 30 yards downfield incomplete to JJ Nelson, and then trying to figure out what to do when the opponent invariably blitzes your weak O-line on 3rd and long.

    Alex Smith + DJ + Fitz… we would see sustained drives, very few INT’s. Might need a good FG kicker because some drives might stall due to conservatism, but that’s OK.

    Honestly, if we signed Smith, I wouldn’t care at all about drafting the QB of the future. Because we’d have the QB of the (foreseeable) future, just like Palmer solved our problem for a few years. Would I love to get a guy in the draft that we can count on for a decade-plus? Sure, but I don’t think that guy’s going to be available, and not sure we’ll be able to trade up to get him.

  18. By D on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    It will be interesting to watch what the Panthers do in Free agency, which could impact AZ. (although their former GM is now running the Giants, so NY could also be a landing spot for some of these players)

    The Panthers gave guard Trai Turner a big (and well-deserved) deal before the 2017 season and signed left tackle Matt Kalil to a five-year, $55.5 million deal, very little cap room is left to work with All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell, who is a free agent.

    Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, the space-eating, run-stuffing starter next to Kawann Short, is in a similar situation. Short got a big-money deal last spring (again, well-deserved). Now the Panthers must decide: Is it Lotulelei’s turn? Behind Lotulelei are Kyle Love and Vernon Butler (#1 pick)

    Kicker Graham Gano is a free agent this spring after a league-high 96.67 field goal percentage and a Pro Bowl berth.

    Panthers currently have only roughly $15 mil of Cap Space…

    Imagine Star Lotulelei in AZ red…which would probably end Gunter and X. Williams career here in the desert.

    Star wouldn’t come cheap, although his play has dropped off since his rookie season.

  19. By mitchaz on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    When speaking at OC Mike McCoy’s press conference, Steve Wilks reiterated his coaching philosophy of being “clear and concise.” He said that in filling out his staff he is looking for coaches who are excellent teachers—ones who can relate to a wide variety of personas.

    With Steve Willks—the early impression is—the words and the music match.

    Wilks does not seem the least bit over-awed by the job. He is very careful and clear about the things he says. His sincerity is a good deal louder than his words. One could tell that he found exactly what he was looking for in McCoy, Rodgers and Holcomb. Therefore, he could have easily gushed about them during the intros, instead he empowered them with his trust and the belief that they will breed the kind of consistent effort and achievement they are looking for.

    When Wilks talks about individual players, he keeps it real. He said that he believes it is of paramount importance to listen to the players (to learn and know what they are seeing), but ultimately he and the coaches are going to what’s best for the team.

    When Wilks talked about special teams—he said he expects every player on the roster to view it as a “privilege” to play STs and an opportunity to help the team win.

    With Wilks, McCoy, STC Jeff Rodgers and DC Al Holcomb, the most salient common denominator—is their individual and collective poise. Wilks has made it crystal clear what their roles are—he wants to have hand in all three phases and he said that he believes coordinators should be hired to call the plays. In fact, just when some might have thought he would spend more time with the defense, the reverse is true. He said that because he and Al Holcomb have worked together for many years, he knows that Holcomb will be in lock-step with their common philosophy—that they share the same defensive “DNA.”

    At the press conferences, all three of the newly appointed coordinators elected not to make in-depth introductory comments in favor of getting right to the Q&As. They all wanted to get to the point.

    What was so common about their answers to the questions was how measured, grounded and even-keeled that all are. These answers were very Patriots’-esque. Informative and direct, no fluff.

    When asked about individual players, particularly the star players—none of the took them bait. Instead of gushing about a player’s talent, their comments were more on the line of “I’m excited to meet with him and work with him.”

    Holcomb even mentioned how important it is for the coaches and the players to embrace the team’s “core values.” That the most important one of all “is try to get better every meeting and each and every day.”

    When we were first introduced to Steve Wilks he said something very similar about how expects that once the players enter the building each day, they make it their goal to put everything else aside and get to work—that not only this is expected from the players—but from everyone who works at the facility, including the maintenance and cafeteria staff.

    In conclusion, Wilks and his coaches are making clear that—this is just the beginning—the hard work is ahead of them—they are up for the day to day challenge—and they fully intend to do what Steve Wilks urges most: “finish in every aspect.”

  20. By Dr. G. on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    When listening to Wilks, one thing he slipped in between lines that he may not have thought to be a huge deal…””I’m gonna be involved in all phases of our team.”” This will be a departure to BA being primarily the OC. Fantastic managerial approach.

    Darren ~ Did we miss if it has been stated who will call plays on Offense? I’m betting he will trust his OC and Wilks will manage the entire game plan…?

  21. By Darren Urban on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Offensive calls

    It was always going to be McCoy. A HC from a defensive background isn’t going to call offensive plays. He will be a part of the planning, he said.

  22. By Big Ken on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    McCoy kind of reminds me of Ken Wisenhunt. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

  23. By vinma98 on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Man…when B.A. got hired, he brought in his own staff (from top to bottom) ready at the helm which was amazing if you think about it.

    Coach Wilks comes in and has to interview coordinators which is not bad per se but it’s nice to know your coordinators beforehand and have that built in trust.

    We have to wait and see how everything pans out. I just want Coach Wilks to succeed in his first year…let’s see how it goes.

    I hope McCoy learns from his past mistakes and becomes a better coach for us during this Cardinals tenure.

  24. By clssylssy on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Shocker!!! KC trades Alex Smith to the Redskins! Can’t say I saw that coming. I really thought the Redskins would stay w Cousins but maybe they’ve got plans to get the other critical pieces they need w/o spending all their $$$ on the QB.
    As impressed as I am with our new coaching staff, I’m hoping they’ll help Keim get the lead out & get busy as it seems the opening bell has rung!
    We’re about to see if these guys are as good as they sound in the press conferences! Fingers crossed & staying hopeful!

  25. By Robert A Hajnal on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Now that the Redskins have traded for Alex Smith, its Curt Cousins time for us, PERIOD!!! I Think its a no brainer

  26. By Dr. G. on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Well, I could see Smith going somewhere…just wish we had him…but now we move on. No Free Agents can sign until March 14…for some illogical reason, I’m not real worried yet…lots of options. A deal with Cleveland may still be on tap…now they’ll want Cousins after missing on Smith. A number of FAs still there if we want to get involved…

  27. By Dr. G. on Jan 30, 2018 | Reply

    Just heard an Arians interview…he says the Cards need a QB? No S*** Sherlock!

    And he added that he “”would like to come and help Wilks with the new QBs, ‘cuz that’s my thing.”” This is for real…NO WAY JOSE, I MEAN NO WAY BA!

    Why would Wilks do something dumb like that? He still feels like a coach without a team to “”coach ’em hard and hug ’em later”” …Please, just stop BA, just stop!

  28. By faster on Jan 31, 2018 | Reply

    cousins? really?

    foles is better, bortles is better, even bradford is better, if he can stay healthy.

    if they really are that desperate, then they should ask stanton.

  29. By JTDG on Jan 31, 2018 | Reply

    Dr G,

    Is that for real? Uhmm, didn’t Wilks hire a OC and he has QB coach Byron Leftwich, right?

    Leftwich needs to be out of the shadow of BA and do his thing. I hear he is a guy who could be a future HC in this league.

    It is time to get out of the way BA and let the next wave of coaches do their thing. I mean, haven’t you gave your knowledge to Leftwich while you were head coach?

    That is a crazy story.

  30. By Dr. G. on Jan 31, 2018 | Reply

    Darren ~ If this was misunderstood, I meant that Cleveland might be after Cousins, not the Cards. Some of us don’t have a good feeling for him coming here. There are alternatives…MB & SK took their time on selecting a coach…now they need not get anxious on the QB situation. Be well

  31. By Big Ken on Feb 1, 2018 | Reply

    Says a lot about Leftwich if Steve Wilks retained him.

  32. By Dr. G. on Feb 1, 2018 | Reply

    jtdg – yep… Arians was in a golf tourney when a reporter talked with him when he made the statement that he called Wilks wanting to help with QBs…said he did not know him but said he knew McCoy. Brad Cesmat had that on his tv show. Yeah, it is crazy bold to think Wilks would entertain such a peoposal… be well

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