Waiting to see the offensive philosophy

Posted by Darren Urban on February 21, 2018 – 9:50 am

Within a month or two of Bruce Arians taking over as coach in 2013, he made known some very specific thoughts he had on the offense: He was going to take six shots or so downfield every game, he didn’t like having a fullback, tight end was more of a blocker in his offense. As the Cardinals transition into the Steve Wilks era, those are the questions that will be interesting to see play out.

To begin with, Wilks, with his defensive background, could very well lean on offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s thoughts on whatever subject may come up. McCoy was actually asked specifically about a fullback during his press conference; he said if it fit what they were going to do with the offense, he’d have one. Ultimately, it feels like there are a lot of different ways this can go.

The reason, of course, is that the Cardinals need to find a quarterback, and that QB will help dictate the direction the Cardinals will be headed. The coaches also need to determine if, in the case of using a fullback at times, if that fits with what David Johnson can do well. Will a tight end be more involved in the passing game (or does the role Larry Fitzgerald has been playing serve as that tight end-esque spot — assuming Fitz is still used in the same way as the last few years?) These answers also could impact what kind of offensive linemen the Cardinals want to have in place.

One of the selling points the Cardinals used when looking for a new coaching staff was the ability to help figure out the next quarterback. When it comes to the offense, the QB is only the first domino.

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34 Responses to “Waiting to see the offensive philosophy”

  1. By Matt on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Fullback is a good idea. The O-line needs all the help they can get blocking for whoever the QB is and David Johnson (The Humble Rumble). If Jermaine Gresham dpesnt become a cap casualty, he and Ricky Seals-Jones can be used to their potential. We saw what Gresham did in cinci and what Seals-Jones did late in the season

  2. By Dominik on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    SK: Trade Mike Iupati, Brandon Williams and our 2nd Round Pick away to Kansas City for CB Marcus Peters. When Peters arrives we will have a deep secondary and Peters can intercept any QB. P2 and Peters are as good as Ramsey / Bouye.

    Sign Free Agent iLB Preston Brown to a 4 year 24 mil. contract or Avery Williamson to a 3 year 15 mil. contract.

    If Steve K. can draft a QB with the 15th overall pick, he should draft one! If not he should go with Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson. I also like Panthers FA Guard Andrew Norwell. Give him the 11 mil. for the next four years and our O-line is fine for a young signal caller and DJ.

    I like draft prospect WR Allen Lazard. Good hands, outstanding size – has the ability to block runs – and can return punts. Draft him in round 4. With the two 3rd round picks Keim can select a D-Lineman and a right tackle or a Tight end.

  3. By Coach K on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply


    Offensive philosophy has to be placed on the players you have. Coaches should not choose an offensive scheme until they know what each player is capable of doing. Perfect example was Nick Fules last year. He excelled in a run-pass-option style of offensive. The same for Bortles in Jacksonville. If we draft an athletic QB, then coaches can adapt their offense to that style. However, if we get a classic plodder, 3-5-7 step drop back passer, then you install a more traditional offense. In a nutshell, you design the offense around the players.

  4. By Coach K on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply


    AS I see it, the Cardinals will need to trade up with Cleveland at #4 if they want to get one of the top four QB’s if McCoy falls in love with any of them.

  5. By lloyd wolf on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    IMO (of course) I do not believe any of the top quarterbacks may be as good as advertised. It will be a question of which blemish you can deal with. To me a gun for an arm is great…but if accuracy is an issue, and there is hayseed between the ears I would pass.(joke). If I were King of the Forest,,,and had to take a qb regardless….Allen of Wyoming…most upside and I could almost justify has accuracy taking a hit this past year. He will cost team 1 and a 2 and ??.

    I hope Keim stays away from his cutesy picks which I truly hate…he has a history of those in my opinion….like he is the super sleuth (aka Jerry Krauss, rip) of the NFL…fact of the matter is most scouts know where all the gems might be buried.

  6. By Big Ken on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Lot’s of speculation on trading up or down in the first round. I think the Cardinals stay put at 15 and go with the best player available.

  7. By Rugbymuffin on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    I would be happy to know something about the philosophy for either offense or defense.

    So far, all that has been said, is the Cardinals will adapt to the players they have, which is great.

    Yet, you get 53 players on a roster, and you would be mad not to bring in 53 guys for specific reasons.

  8. By Scott H on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Waiting to see who the QB is going to be. Will we be choosing a QB based on an offensive philosophy or will we be choosing an offensive philosophy based on who the QB is?

    As much as I want to see a QB drafted this year ( assuming we can’t swing a trade for Foles! ), I agree totally with the approach of getting the best players at other positions of need if that fits our draft position better. I’d be just as happy with a stud O-lineman. We need those, too.

  9. By JCH on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    HAHA if the cardinals Trade Mathieu for any reason that would be stupid hes in my opinion better that Pat P.

  10. By D on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Philosophy = score more points than opponent.
    Darren, you going to be in Indy for the tampering week?

  11. By Darren Urban on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Indy

    Yes, I will be at the combine.

  12. By D on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Guessing after Indy we may see Keim make a possible release to open up some additional CAP space. I know, he doesnt’ have to at all or at least until free agency opens in March, but as we all have seen, clubs are throwing smoke signals out there to gauge trade interest. Agents in Indy should give Mr. Keim a good indication of what their UFA clients are seeking.

    Imagine if Mr. Keim obtains a FA QB to go along with a solid OL signing when free agency opens up.

    An addition of a J. Sitton or J. Pugh at Guard in free agency along with say a O. Brown or C. Williams at RT in Round 1 of the draft would greatly improve the OL for 2018. I would believe the only starter under contract that may feel confident in starting next year with the new staff would only be DJ Humphries.

  13. By Sackman on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    I would think if we plan to draft a future and long term Quarterback, that we do what ever we can to secure the Top one this year in the draft.

    If that means move up, then do so. Use next year Draft picks to make this happen.

    Because if I understand right, next year we have a ton of cap space. We can pick up good free agents next year to build around our QB.

    Buy high draft low next year.

  14. By Big Ken on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    RE: Philosophy on Offense Fullbacks? Tight Ends? It will be interesting to see a new style come to this team. Feast or famine for Coaches Wilks and McCoy. And if it’s famine then this will turn into Game of Thrones for those two.

  15. By JohnnyBluenose on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Some of you will recall that there has been a suggestion that mitchaz is Larry Fitzgerald. In his recent posts mitchaz has not commented about this but he did write recently that he had worked on a project in the early 1980’s with John Madden. This would seem to put an end to any speculation that mitchaz is Larry. I contacted my source, Deep Threat, and asked him about this. He laughed and said that mitchaz did not tell a lie but he is devious and did not tell the whole story . Deep explained that Larry’s father, Larry Fitzgerald Senior, a sportswriter, did work on a project with John Madden in 1985 when our Larry was two years old. Our Larry apparently tagged along and helped his father carry some notebooks into Madden’s apartment at The Dakota in New York City. Larry apparently also met Yoko Ono at The Dakota while he was there and she encouraged him to become a world traveler. So, is Larry really mitchaz? Maybe we should contact Scully and Mulder of X-Files fame and see if they can solve this mystery once and for all.

  16. By joe holst on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    i have been reading on Cardinal history all the way back to 1898 when they started and it is incredible, Charles Bidwill SR who bought the team in 1932 used to roll with Al Capone. Crazy

  17. By LadyBird04 on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    1. Keep qb upright
    2. David Johnson
    3. Larry Fitzgerald
    4. Keep qb upright
    5. Repeat

  18. By Steve on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Darren: When will you be taking questions from us to ask Steve Keim at the combine interview?

  19. By Darren Urban on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Keim questions

    With the change in coaches and the work on the Flight Plan series, the combine chats are on hiatus.

  20. By Scott H on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Big Ken –

    Ah, the TE position….forgive me but I’ve pretty much forgotten about it. When was the last time the TE was relevant for the Cardinals?? Are we going back to the 80’s for that answer? Honest to God, I think the last guy I can think of that seemed relevant in the offense, a guy who MADE PLAYS was ( ready for this? ) Chris Gedney. And he was catching passes from Jake Plummer in 1998. WHO has there been since that time?? And it ain’t like Gedney was a household name like Gates or Witten……

    Just a fun / silly fact, BTW, is that during the time we had Gedney at TE, we had ( Joe ) Nedney as our place kicker. Two very odd names that rhymed and played together on the same team at the same time. Anyone remember that? Anyone? Hey, never let it be said I don’t know my history when it comes to this team. Anyway….

    It has boggled my mind that while the TE has been such a significant weapon for so many other offenses around the NFL during the past decade, the Cardinals have been completely immune to that… the land that time forgot, or something.

    I used to bring this up a lot. But I stopped because what was the point? Coaches came and went, O-coordinators have come and gone and nothing has changed where the TE is concerned.

    How great would it be to have an Antonio Gates or a Tony Gonzalez or a Jason Witten or a Rob Gronkowski or a Tarvis Kelce or any of the many other TE’s you could name that function as a true WEAPON in the offense?

    I dare anyone to name another team that has gone longer than the Cardinals have without having a recognizable TE. It ain’t gonna be easy, I can tell ya that!

  21. By Coach K on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Pro Football Weekly says Tyrod Taylor to the Cardinals.


  22. By Coach K on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    Some thoughts on where the draft may be our best this year

    Round 1- It’s possible that Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield both could fall below the top ten according to Walters an Charlie Campbell’s well read mocks. I’m sure Keim wold take either one with a smile.

    Round 2- Geron Christian, OT, Louisville would be a steal at this pick. One mock has him right there for the Cards.

    Round 3- Tre Quan Smith, WR, UCF. This is a steal if this guy is on the board at this point in round three. A leaper with great hands and speed. Looks like Fitz at times on his film.

    Round 3b- The super steal of this draft. Tim Settle, DT, V. Tech. This athletic big man reminds me of retired all pro Vince Wilfork. The Cardinals have been weak at getting a push up the middle. It’s time to draft a guy who can provide a push up the middle and collapse the pocket.

    Fire away guys…..

  23. By Dr. G. on Feb 21, 2018 | Reply

    ScottH = = It may dissapoint some to realize Foles isn’t going anywhere. The following is the medical report on Wentz:

    “”This is an ACL, plus at least two ligaments,” Kelly told Angelo Cataldi on SportsRadio 94 WIP. “This is an RG3 equivalent, folks. This is worrisome … That’s a long rehab. And if it were my patient, it would take nine, 10, 11 months.” Robert Griffin III suffered a similar gruesome knee injury during the first round of 2012 NFL playoffs as a member of the Washington Redskins and never was able to fully recover.””

    Foles, in all probability will be back at the helm. If he were traded by some mysterious move, as Super Bowl MVP, he would command a “”ginormous”” contract now or as a FA after 2018…so would we want to face a deal like that versus keeping him just one year? Nothing I can think of makes his acquisition for the Cards reasonable.

    Looking at the numbers for both men, it may be prudent for the Eagles to try to ink Foles for a few more years if he would do a reasonable deal prior to being FA. The medical report has Wentz missing games even in a perfect rehab world. His rookie contract is not a game changer, and will he be the same guy returning? They, likely may want to keep both men…certainly not their original plan. Be well…

  24. By Big Ken on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    I agree. Nick Foles is playing for the Eagle in 2018. Now Tyrod Taylor? He doesn’t seem to be chewed up with injuries, durable player.

  25. By JTDG on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    Coach K;

    I like TreQuan Smith and really like Tim Settle.

    But there is no way Darnald falls. If the Browns screw up and not take him, the Giants will.

    Josh Allen will not make it past the Jets.

    At 15, Baker Mayfield will be there as will Lamar Jackson.

  26. By El Gallo on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    – Larry Legends

    Since being drafted 3rd overall by the Cardinals in 2004 Larry Fitzgerald has been Committed.

    To return for his 15th season without knowing who his QB would be says a lot about his character.
    It speaks volumes to the type of individual he is. Has continually showed his loyalty to his teammates, organization and fan base.

    His dedication to the team will help to galvanize not only the offense but the entire team overall.
    While also adding to his already prolific career.

    Thanks for coming back Fitz!

    With Larry’s return becoming the first domino to drop after coaching acquisitions, there’s no telling what the next will be. I for one thought it’d be a QB, in order to help coax Fitz back, I was wrong. What will happen next?

    Will it be the release of high salary players?
    Trade acquisitions?
    FA period transactions?

    Idk but I eagerly await SK & Co. next moves..
    However I do anticipate the OL to switch out some significant names.
    Not only to help with the cap space but a change could do some good.
    We currently have Two LTs and one of them is getting paid top money, the other finishing out his rookie contract.
    Top OG couldn’t stay healthy, getting paid top money.
    Every other OL was serviceable, can be kept or upgraded. I say upgrade.

    Each position relying upon the other, working in unison to achieve optimum capability.
    But as we all know, none more important than the QB.

    Again, I hope SK can make some magic happen throughout the entire roster.
    But having Larry back just gave us a great advantage in any capacity.

    Let’s really go for it..
    Go get those players that will set us apart.

  27. By El Gallo on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    – Beyond the Offense

    With respect to our Division counterparts, our defense will need to shore up on all levels.

    Having Coach Wilks as our HC may have been the best the best move to remain competitive in our division for starters.
    Especially as our new offensive unit gels.

    • DL was able to hold up on the runs but it can add to the pressure up the middle. I can definitely see them adding DL.

    • ILB-LB will need to be improved. I can see a move from Bucannon happening with his cap-hit being high, having Reddick & Bynes possibly.
    Can see additions brought in especially on outside with Golden’s recent injury.

    • S will be interesting how they chose to go forward with HBs contract. His cap-hit being so enormous.. Will he opt for making it more team friendly? They took a chance on him, will he return the favor?

    • CB position on opposite side of PP has to be the most outstanding need of all on the defense.
    I have no issues with team extending T. Williams contract.
    Still you want to see them finally address this need with a young, proven, true CB.
    As far as in house, I want to see what they can do with B. Williams. Great kid, maybe all he needs is someone just like Wilks & Co. to bring out the best in him. Has the physical ability but can he mold him and convert him into a ball-hawk?

    Look forward to Wilks’ influence and his defensive system.
    Take us to the next level..

  28. By D on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply


    A free agent path to fix most of the O-line much needed upgrades for AZ:

    If Mr. Keim wants to release Iupati, Veldheer and Shipley, the Cards would free up a total of $14.9 million for the Cap. That amount plus the Current Cap availability equates to almost $37 million in space for AZ to fill holes.

    To fill the holes on the Oline by just free agency, the following players could be signed:

    1. LG Josh Sitton (31)—played through a bad ankle last year and still graded as the #5G at 86.0, per PFF. He says he still have a few prime years left. The Bears felt that $8M was too much. Chances are, Sitton could be signed for $5.6M a year on a 3 year deal.

    2.RT Chris Hubbard (26)—he was the Steelers’ prize utility T/G who many feel can be one of the better RTs in the NFL. A three year deal in the neighborhood of $6.2M a year should get it done.

    3. RG Senio Kelemete (27)—he was the Saints’ prize utility T/G who filled in admirably at guard and at LT when Andrus Peat was injured. Kelemete also could play center, if need be, he is that versatile. Paying him on a 3 year deal worth $3.1M a year would likely seal the deal.

    LT. D.J. Humphries is under contract and needs to stay healthy.

    C. E. Boehm needs a chance at his natural position.


    C/G: Max Tuerk -was a 3rd round pick by SD when M. McCoy was the HC.
    T/G John Wetzel -has started 17 games the past 2 years.
    T/G Will Holden-needs to add strength was a 5th round pick last year.

    Do I think Mr. Keim will sign 3 OL players in free agency?, Doubtful, 1-2 draft picks maybe OL players since it’s a deep draft for lineman.

  29. By faster on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    a foles trade? not reasonable? get serious.

    foles would cost two second round picks 2018 and 2019, or maybe a conditional first in 2019. for a qb who holds some nfl records, who was the mvp of the bowl, i would say a steal.

    foles would require a salary of about 7 mio. a steal, for 2018.

    and if he delivers, any ginourmous salary would be justified.

    the alternative? some overhyped, underperforming draft pick in the fist round, who would cost more then foles? get serious. qb at first rounds are usually a 2 to 1 bust. that means 3 first round picks for a sucessfull qb.
    and you think two second round picks, or even a second this year and a first conditional next year are ginormous? get serious.

    or a fa qb, like cousins, whos single score in the last years was to engage a very good agent? show me, not the yards, the results of the team?
    three mediocre seasons, a playoff game, lost 18 to 35?

    and don`t tell me, cousins had no support, the offenses salary in 2015 was 7 mio to 55 mio, in 2016 was more then double that of the defense, 78 mio to 36 mio,. even in 2017 it was 56% to 44%. teamwork? yards for cousins? get serious.

    cousins? a overhyped underarchiever, with a quality agent ……

    there are some qb out, i would consider, first foles, but as difilipo went to the vikings, and the vikings didn`t sign any of their own qb, the signs hint at foles go to the vikings.
    next, keenum and taylor, booth to consider, if they sign a contract with a lot of incentives. a proof it contract with high incentives.

    and for the backup qb, the best is only good enough, get serious and resign stanton.

  30. By faster on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    and for foles not tradable? nonsens, think of howieman, this year he will get two second round picks (maybe more) for foles, next year nothing.

    nada, zilch, nothing.

    foles can wait, next year he is the best free agent on the market, but howieman can not.

    get at least a bit mor serious with your predictions.

    and if howieman trades foles, what would a good backup like stanton or mccown cost? 7 mio or a lot less?

  31. By Scott H on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply


    RE: Foles

    As much as you hear me hoping for Foles these days, I’ll remind you I was probably THE first person to shoot down that possibility a few weeks back based on exactly the situation you are referring to. The injury to Wentz is / was very serious. It is the same injury / to the same extent that seemed to prevent from RGIII from ever being the same again. Wentz is NOT going to be ready to go in Sept. They don’t know when Wentz IS going to be ready.

    And for those reasons, the Eagles asking price in a trade for Foles is likely to be a first round pick. That’s pretty steep.

    It’s good to be Nick Foles! And it’s good to be the Eagles right now. This is win-win for them. They either keep Foles and roll into 2018 with a QB they know can run their offense as good as Wentz can, OR they can demand a king’s ransom for him in a trade. Either way, they win.

    I hate the Eagles….I really do.

  32. By clssylssy on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    I see where has Baker Mayfield going to the Saints & Lamar Jackson coming to the Cards in Round 2. IMO this is a much better fit than Mayfield coming to Arizona. We could get Larry’s successor or a good O-lineman & our QB of the future & Mayfield would be in a setting that could contain him & his crotch grabbing, middle finger flipping impulses. We could use a bridge QB w/o selling our soul, and our future & Fitz might be able to go out w his head high.

  33. By Dr. G. on Feb 22, 2018 | Reply

    ScottaH ~ ~ Well, I hear ya… But if Foles should be traded, the Eagles will probably factor to lose a bunch until Wentz is ready…and nothing is assured. If Foles is gone, they wouldn’t negotiate a big dollar guy…dumb…he’s already there without the big money. Wentz has a good rookie deal that can run. ((Eagles…hate on my man)) I’ve said for 3 decades that my teams are the Cards and whoever is playing the Cowboys…!

    faster ~ ~ I don’t get your points other than what is obvious. I posted that Foles is a FA in 2019 unless the Eagles re-sign him…a realistic possibility. And, yes, barring injury, he will command big coin next year…maybe a TAG if Wentz has continuing issues….g’day

  34. By Sackman on Feb 23, 2018 | Reply

    Forget about Foles already! He’s next year talk. ENOUGH!!!

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