Cardinals fire coach Steve Wilks after one season

Cardinals fire Wilks after 1 season (1:21)

Chris Mortensen breaks down why Arizona fired head coach Steve Wilks. (1:21)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Steve Wilks era in Arizona is over.

The Cardinals fired Wilks on Monday, a day after finishing 3-13 in his first season as head coach for their worst record in 18 years.

"It was a very tough decision but when I looked at the record, when I looked at the lack of competitiveness, the games of that record and the direction we were going in, I felt like it was in the best interest of the organization to go in a different direction," team president Michael Bidwill said. "And certainly the performance, it's a results-oriented business, and if you don't win, everybody knows what happens."

Wilks, 49, was hired Jan. 22 for his first head-coaching job after one season as an NFL defensive coordinator, but this season has been consistently turbulent.

Bidwill took responsibility for the hire gone wrong.

"When I look back at last year, obviously I didn't get it right. I take responsibility for it, and we're going to make sure we get it right this time around," Bidwill said. "Look forward to starting that search right away."

Bidwill said he was not impressed with Wilks' plan for 2019 but declined to go into details on what he didn't like specifically.

"I just didn't feel like it was a plan that I wanted to get behind that would turn us around and get us back to the type of football that we expect and our fans deserve," Bidwill said.

Both the offense and defense have been among the worst in the NFL, and the Cardinals started the season 0-4. Bidwill said he began having concerns about this season after a Week 2 shutout against the Los Angeles Rams, after which the Cardinals had been outscored 59-6 through two games.

The Cardinals' first two wins came against the San Francisco 49ers, who finished 4-12, and they beat the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 2.

Wilks' downfall began with quarterback Sam Bradford's ineffective play. Signed to a one-year deal worth as much as $20 million, Bradford, who was injured for much of 2017 but signed by Arizona as its starting quarterback about six weeks before the team drafted Josh Rosen 10th overall, struggled mightily during his short tenure as the starter, throwing for just 400 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions in three games. Wilks replaced Bradford with Rosen late in the fourth quarter of the Cardinals' Week 3 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Wilks then fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy after a Week 7 blowout loss to the Denver Broncos on national TV.

Neither move helped.

The Cardinals lost to the Oakland Raiders (who entered the game at 1-8) in Week 11 to fall to 2-8. It marked just the fourth time since 1990 that the Cardinals started a season with just two wins in their first 10 games.

A week later, Arizona was blown out by the Los Angeles Chargers 45-10 -- the second time this season it lost by that score.

Bidwill said he wanted to give Wilks the entire season to turn the team's fortunes around before making a decision on his future.

Despite the difficult season, longtime Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald expressed his appreciation for Wilks in a tweet:

Injuries didn't help Wilks' case this season. He lost his entire projected offensive line by Week 14.

Throughout the season, players complained about the same mistakes happening week after week and said there were players who didn't follow coaching, especially on the defensive side of the ball, which was Wilks' specialty.

A major fracture for Wilks and the Cardinals' front office was the transition from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3. The Cardinals finished last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game.

"At the end of the day, you have to cater to your defensive strengths and put your personnel in the right position to succeed, and again I don't want to get into all the details, but it was pretty easy to see, whether it was combination coverage busts or things that went on in every level of the defense were concerning," general manager Steve Keim said. "The fact that it didn't get right sooner than later was a real sticking point."

Bidwill considers the Cardinals to be the most attractive opening among those teams looking for new coaches because of Rosen, a "nucleus of talent," sitting first in line for waiver claims and having the first overall pick in the draft, which Keim wasn't pleased with.

"It's embarrassing as hell," Keim said. "I promise you in April we're not going to feel that way. We're going to have that first pick in every round, we're going to have the No. 1 claim order, and right now, based on the formula, we're going to have 9-10 picks based on the compensatories."