Wilks keeps focus on trying to win games
As dark as the clouds are that hang over the head of embattled Cardinals first-year head coach Steve Wilks, he insists his own job security is the furthest thing from his mind. He's got too many other things to think about as his 2-8 team limps to Los Angeles this weekend to take on the 7-3 Chargers.
"I'm just trying to win a football game," Wilks said after the Cardinals slipped and fell to the lowly Raiders, 23-21. "I have so many other things to worry about right now that I'm not concerned with that right now."
Although Wilks tries not to listen to the outside noise, he hears it and there have been ongoing multiple calls for his firing from the Cardinals' fan base on social media. They're upset and he knows it. He also understands their anger.
"They should be (displeased)," he said. "Again, disappointed in our performance. Going to try to do everything we can to get on track. We have great fans, and they deserve better. I talked about that earlier in the year. We have to find a way to turn this thing around and get on the right track."
In an effort to avoid matching the team's worst start since 2006, Wilks has been trying to change things up on multiple fronts in not only the way he deploys his personnel, but how much time is spent on and off the field and in meeting rooms during the week. He's tried switching starting times and he's tried using more walkthroughs to keep players fresh.
So far, nothing's really worked. But Wilks believes it will turn eventually. The changes can only help.
"We're trying to change things up. We're trying to keep the guys engaged," he said. "We're trying to get them out of the meeting rooms, get them moving around a little bit. I am constantly trying to evolve and come up with new ideas."
What hasn't changed is the challenge Wilks continues to face with all the losing.
"It hasn't changed me from a standpoint of my approach with the guys," Wilks said. "I continue to be the same guy regardless of that because I think that is what they're looking for. They're looking for consistency, and it starts with me. Am I disappointed? Extremely. When I step in front of those guys, I need to make sure I'm leading them in the right direction, and I'm giving those guys the things that they need - the vision, expectations - and I do that the same with the coaches as well."
And what has he learned about himself during his first season as a NFL head coach?
"No. 1, you have to learn how to persevere," he said. "It's tough. You have to learn how to hit the reset button and not linger on things because, once again, one loss can turn into two. I try to pull out the positives and try to learn from the negative stuff and try to get those guys to see the big picture."
SERIES HISTORY: 14th regular-season meeting. Chargers lead series, 9-4. Arizona is playing its first road game against the Chargers since 2010 and is looking for its first road victory against the Chargers since 2001. The Cardinals won the last meeting, earning an 18-17 victory in the 2014 regular-season opener on Monday Night Football. Nine of the previous 13 games between the two teams were decided by one score.