The decision to go with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen over veteran Sam Bradford necessarily becomes the most noteworthy personnel decision made by new Cardinals coach Steve Wilks. But, as explained by Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic, Wilks has made clear his willingness to yank established players at will.
McManaman points to a sequence late in Sunday’s latest loss for the Cardinals. Starting running back David Johnson was pulled due to a mental error and, as Johnson was hearing about his blunder from position coach Kirby Wilson, rookie Chase Edmonds lost three yards on a critical third down and two.
“I was very confident in the call,” Wilks said. “I was very confident in Chase being in there.”
Plenty of fans don’t share that confidence, blaming the loss to the Bears on the decision not to use Johnson in that moment. Still, it’s all part of Wilks’ stubborn insistence on a true meritocracy.
“I think as a man, if you look in the mirror and say, ‘You know what? I’m not performing well,'” Wilks said. “‘Coach has given me every opportunity to be able to step up and play.’ I think I’ve shown to these players throughout the best 11 are going to play. We’re going to keep the best 53, whether you’re a draft pick or a free agent. The opportunity is there and one thing about it, there’s no favoritism. I want guys out there that are going to be out there making plays and that are going to help us win football games. And that’s the opportunity that you’re given each week.”
So far, the players who have played in the first three weeks collectively haven’t made enough of their opportunities to secure a win. And it gets no easier this week, when the Cardinals head to Seattle.