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Steve Wilks: 'Premature to talk about changes'

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Outmanned. Unprepared. Sloppy. Outworked. Lousy. Deplorable.

Pick any negative word, and you could probably use it to describe the Arizona Cardinals' performance Thursday night in a 45-10 shellacking versus the Denver Broncos.

"Definitely embarrassing effort tonight," coach Steve Wilks conceded after the loss. "Our fans deserve better than that. ...unacceptable. We've got to find ways to get this thing corrected, and correct it soon."

Both sides of the ball for Wilks' squad were manhandled.

The defense -- Wilks' side of the ball -- gave up a trick-play touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, and allowed 309 total yards, including 131 rushing yards. Outside of Patrick Peterson's gorgeous interception of Case Keenum, there weren't many positive plays for the Cards' D. Running back Phillip Lindsay's gallop to the end zone in the third quarter displayed an uninspired, run-down defense missing tackles and playing out the string.

The Arizona defense was worn down and put in horrific positions by an offense that couldn't move the ball and coughed it up seemingly every other possession. Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen got rattled after two early pick-sixes and turned the ball over five times on the night.

Rosen became the first rookie to throw two pick-sixes in the first quarter of a game in NFL history, per NFL Research. He is also the first player to throw two pick-sixes in the first quarter of a game since Week 3, 2015 (Colin Kaepernick). Yes, the protection was poor all game (some of that was on the rookie QB not seeing where the pressure was coming from). Rosen was under pressure on 42.2 percent of his dropbacks, per Next Gen Stats. However, all three of his interceptions came when he was not pressured.

All the ugly play leads to questions about whether Wilks will make changes with a long week and a bye coming up in Week 9.

"You guys are going to ask me about changes, that's premature, to talk about any changes right now," Wilks said. "Everybody's going to be evaluated across the board, and as I said before, we got to find ways to move this in the right direction."

The man sitting on the hottest seat is offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who was coincidentally (or not) fired by the Broncos last season after just 10 games.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday on Good Morning Football that McCoy is the coach currently "in the crosshairs."

After the loss, Wilks danced around questions about McCoy's future.

"I didn't say Mike McCoy at all. When we talk about changes, I'm talking about changes that could be personnel, it could be players, it could be whatever it may be, it could be scheme," the coach said. "So when I say it's premature, it's premature to talk about it at this particular time without going through the evaluation."

Perhaps Thursday night is premature, but this weekend could be an appropriate time to move on. Waiting for the Week 9 bye to make a move just prolongs floating down the river in the same sinking raft. Instead, with a long week ahead, Wilks could give QB coach Byron Leftwich (Bruce Arians' former assistant is presumed to be in line for the gig if/when McCoy is fired) the chance to get his feet wet next Sunday versus the 49ers, then head into the bye week fully in charge.

Under McCoy's leadership the Cardinals' offense has been an unimaginative, dull, mistake-prone operation. Blame Rosen for the turnovers, sure. Blame the line for blown blocks. Blame receivers for stopping routes. But blame the coordinator for underutilizing his best players, rarely getting David Johnson in space, and the entire unit not looking prepared to play.

Yes, immediately after a loss is "premature" to fire a coach or bench a player. After Wilks wakes up and watches his team's horrific loss again with fresh eyes, perhaps the timing will be perfect for the winds of change to blow through the desert.

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