5 candidates to replace Steve Wilks as Arizona Cardinals coach

Arizona Cardinals

Steve Wilks might be a one-and-done, so here are five candidates to potentially be the next head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

At 3-11 with two games to go, and with a loss to the Oakland Raiders in hand, the Arizona Cardinals are on the fast track to having the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. A rebuild was set to fully launch in Steve Wilks first season as head coach, but his failure to get the most out of players (or hire coaches that could do so) has heated up his seat just one season in.

Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic passed along his feeling it’s a foregone conclusion Wilks will be fired after the season. The status of general manager Steve Keim is also a question, due whatever hand he had in hiring Wilks and a DUI arrest last offseason, but his overall track record may give him a mulligan.

Quite simply, the Cardinals need to prioritize Josh Rosen’s development and bolster the talent around him. Larry Fitzgerald’s looming retirement creates an even greater need in the latter category.

This year’s Cardinals could finish with the worst record since the franchise moved to Arizona in 1988, but there intriguing pieces and a quarterback of the future in place. Assuming Wilks is let go, here are five candidates to be the next head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

5. Freddie Kitchens

Kitchens stepped in as offensive coordinator in the middle of the season for the Cleveland Browns when Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were fired, and Baker Mayfield has been markedly better.

In six games (five starts) amid the power struggle between Jackson and Haley, Mayfield completed 58.3 percent of his passes with a passer rating of 78.9 while averaging 6.6 yards per attempt. In six games since Kitchens stepped into the run the offense, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner is completing close to 71 percent of his passes with a 109.3 passer rating while averaging 8.7 yards per attempt. The Browns are also 4-2 in those games, as Mayfield has multiple passing touchdowns in four of the six games.

Kitchens could be a candidate for the Browns’ head coaching job at this point, but he may get some interviews elsewhere too. Based on that work with Mayfield, the Cardinals should have some interest.

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