The Arizona Cardinals finished the first half of the season with a 2-6 record. Here's a look at how they have fared and what's ahead:
First-half rewind: Basically, everything that could go wrong for the Cardinals did. Sam Bradford struggled mightily and was benched leading to Josh Rosen's debut in Week 3. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's playcalling was stale and ineffective, which cost him his job after Week 7. Both of Arizona's wins came against an even-worse 49ers team. The 2018 version of David Johnson hasn't looked like the 2016 version. The run defense has been porous. Patrick Peterson requested a trade. It took the Cards until Week 8 to get their first home win, the same amount of time it took Larry Fitzgerald to get his first 100-yard game of the season. Steve Wilks' first season as a head coach didn't start well and likely won't get any better with Arizona's schedule getting tougher. Grade: Bring on 2019
What is your team's biggest hole to fill? For the first time in years -- maybe ever -- it's not quarterback. The Cardinals need to find Larry Fitzgerald's successor. He's 35 and playing in his 15th season. There will be speculation that this is Fitzgerald's last year. Even if it's not, the end of his career is coming soon. With their quarterback of the future, Josh Rosen, already playing, the Cardinals need to give him a game-changing primary target and that person isn't on the roster yet.
MVP: How Rosen goes the rest of the season, so will go the Cardinals. Rosen has a chance to turn the second half around, especially under interim offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. During a game-winning drive in Week 8, Rosen showed signs of progressing with big-time throws. He's 2-3 in five starts, giving Arizona both of their wins.
Biggest surprise: David Johnson's lack of productivity. He hasn't looked the same as he did in 2016, when he had 2,118 yards from scrimmage. Through eight games this season, Johnson has 601 yards from scrimmage. Two years ago, at this point, he had 1,112. He has struggled in the run game, but part of it was McCoy's playcalling. Johnson has consistently missed open holes and has been a liability in pass protection, but McCoy didn't use Johnson as a receiver like former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians did. That'll change under Leftwich, but whether it leads to more yards for Johnson is still a question mark.
Hurdle to overcome: The Cardinals need to keep Rosen upright and healthy. He has already been sacked 16 times in six games behind an offensive line that's already dealing with a slew of injuries. With Rosen as the team's future at quarterback, the Cardinals can't afford for him to get hurt.