Keim Time: Cardinals haven’t played as poorly since 2015 NFC title game
That’s what the Arizona Cardinals’ visit to the Philadelphia Eagles came down to on Sunday.
General manager Steve Keim knows there are unresolved issues. He joins Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station every Monday morning during the season. On this day, he reviewed what went wrong in the 34-7 loss to the Eagles in Week 5, what went right and addressed the road ahead as Arizona prepares to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s Keim Time.
Steve, good morning. Sometimes, you watch the film and it gives you a little hope. Sometimes you watch the film after a win and you might get frustrated. What did the film tell you … from your game in Philadelphia?
I would veer a little toward the frustration. Quite frankly, I don’t think we’ve played this bad since the NFC Championship Game two years ago (vs. Carolina). Disappointing in a lot of different ways. Starting off defensively, the third-down conversions that they made, 3rd-and-19, obviously that can’t happen. Poor tackling, simple coverage basics that you’re taught: playing the sticks, playing aggressive in coverage, not giving up first downs as easily as we did. Just really frustrating.
And then offensively, I don’t think it’s any question we had to try to run the ball effectively to get them off balance. Then maybe try to throw some play-actions, maybe hit some deep shots. When you can’t run the ball effectively, I think we all know — for a guy like me who has played the offensive line — when teams tee off and they know you’re going to throw the football quite a bit, not only is it difficult to pass protect, it’s difficult to pass protect knowing what’s coming. You’re going to be constantly getting pressure.
Long story short, they jumped on top of us early. Special teams certainly didn’t help, which was another disappointment, and the game got away from us pretty quick even though there were a few different times where we could have gotten some momentum and jumped back into it.
We watched your offensive line play. Is there hope that (injured) D.J. Humphries and Alex Boone (can return) — is there hope this offensive line can jel going forward?
Yeah, there is hope that once we get D.J. back and once we get Boone back, which, you know, could be this week, there’s no doubt in my mind it will improve. That being said, there’s some current players that will continue to play on this line who have to improve. They have to just take it upon themselves to get better. That’s happened … we’ve gotten better. Sometimes to be taken to the woodshed like this, if you’re going to use it for any positive, is to maybe put that chip back on your shoulder and realize you better get out there and start to fight.
After this game, it made me think about in 2008 when we went to Philly and got our butts kicked. It was 48-20 on Thanksgiving. Then (three weeks later) we went to New England, 47-7, and got our butts kicked. (Earlier in the year) we went to the Jets and same thing: 56-35. And for some reason, you may remember we went to the Super Bowl that year. Am I suggesting we will go to the Super Bowl? No. We have a lot of work to do, but there is something to be said for momentum and the team jelling and coming together. That’s the approach we have to take.
What did you think of Patrick Peterson on the sideline when he showed a lot of frustration?
There was part of me inside that loves it. I like to see guys that don’t want to lose. I like to see guys who are competitors. This is an emotional game. It’s hard to keep your emotions when you spend your whole year training for 16 games, and now the opportunity is here and things aren’t going as expected. It’s easy for yourself to get worked up and things to get away from you. It sincerely comes from Pat’s heart, because he wants to be the best and he wants to win. I do appreciate his competitiveness.
Steve, do you think the problems with the offensive line and the offense … do it you think it’s impacting the whole team?
I think it can certainly help put things in a tough spot, because if you’re constantly giving people a short field, you’re getting holding penalties or you’re giving up a sack or you’re constantly in 3rd-and-12 in your own territory, now you’re punting the football and you’re giving a team the ball at either the minus- or plus-40, and they have great field position and you’re putting your defense at a disadvantage.
It all works hand-in-hand. The thing about it is all three units were responsible this past week. They all had their blunders. There’s no doubt we got to get a lot of that cleaned up. Like I said, this week will be a big one for us to get out to practice and really try to fix some of our issues.
There’s a lot of people, and I don’t want to sugarcoat it or hide behind anything, I’m one of them — I’ve questioned Amos Jones as the special teams coach over the last year and a half. Obviously he wouldn’t be there if you and B.A. didn’t believe in him. What are the things that go on behind the scenes that us fans and media don’t see that, hey, Amos Jones is in the right spot?
I think there are always things don’t see — just like there are things at your radio station that go on behind the scenes that people complain about, but (98.7 FM executives) Mr. Sutherland and Mr. Hatch have it all covered and they believe in it. More than anything, me or Coach or Michael (Bidwill), knowing that the type of things that need to be taught are being taught. It’s just whether these players are correcting those issues or not.
And we’ve tried to really improve football IQ with our players, because that’s one of the issues we’ve had in the past. Once I think we can get some of that cleaned up and guys can play a little bit smarter, you’ll start to see some improvement. Again, week after week, if the same mistakes keep happening, quite frankly, if it’s anything, we need to continue to rotate players in and out of here and find players who can help us. If a guy continually makes the same mistakes and he’s not going to fix it, we’ll go ahead and make the decision and look at the ready list and bring in some guys — which we are this week — and make some changes.
Have you seen any change in Carson Palmer and his demeanor as the season has been unfolding here and all the hits that he’s taken?
None for me. I would say this: I don’t know that Carson played his best two games starting the season, but the last three games — and he’s taken a lot of shots — I thought he’s played very good, certainly under the circumstances. He’d like to have probably two or three throws back from yesterday, but for a guy getting hit like he is, he still hangs in there and makes some throws and continues to amaze me with some of the ball placement, and the resiliency that he shows after getting hit after hit and then still making a throw.
You know you’ve got a lot of good human beings, the people in that clubhouse. But how do you look at the leadership in the locker room right now?
It’s a lot of guys that are frustrated, which I think is a good thing from a standpoint of, if we had a bunch of guys downstairs collecting their checks and they didn’t care, I’d be certainly concerned. There are a lot of guys that are genuinely upset. That’s what you want. Now you know what you got to do: You got to use that frustration and use it for incentive, you know what I mean? Put it on your shoulder, be upset and go out there and fight — let’s get better.
Make sure that we’re looking at all the little things, whether it’s your preparation. How are you studying? Are you watching enough film? Are you in the classroom asking the right questions of the coaching staff? All those little things that can make a big difference in the players’ performance. We’ll continue to go back and look at those different things.
I don’t want to take anything away from Philadelphia, they’re a good football team. I was really impressed with their quarterback. That being said, we’re a better team than I think we showed, for a lot of reasons. Like I said earlier, in my opinion, it couldn’t have gone any worse in three phases of our football team.
The health of the offensive line right now: What are the expectations that D.J. will be ready to play this weekend of course, and (will you) have Alex Boone available as well?
It’s a week-to-week thing right now. Both guys I know have made improvement. At the same time, we have to be careful we don’t put them out there in harm’s way. We have to try to be sure that we don’t reaggravate any injuries and then next thing you know, you lose a guy for six or seven weeks instead of having to wait one or two more weeks for a player. It’s a fine line. We just have to continue to trust our medical staff, Tom Reed and Dr. Gary Waslewski and those guys. They do a really good job in forecasting what kind of injuries we have to deal with in rehabbing the players and getting them out on the field and ready to go.
We asked a lot of negative questions. What’s positive right now about the Arizona Cardinals?
What’s positive is we’re 2-3. A lot of teams are either 3-2 or 2-3. So we’re technically one game out of first place. But that’s the big-picture. Really for me, it’s the put your head down and work and be prepared to win against Tampa. That’s what we should concentrate on, every snap, every play of the next game.
In the past, man, you know me, I get upset. I don’t have a lot of patience. I have a good friend who’s taught me a lot about patience and those sort of things. I’m doing my best to work in those areas and stay focused and stay positive, but it’s a challenge in this position. Just hopefully we’re doing all the right things. I know this: We’ll continue to work on it and five.
How many deep snappers do you have coming in today (after Aaron Brewer suffered a broken wrist)?
Five, wow. Good luck finding your guy to fix that woe.
If we don’t like any of them, Wolf, we’ll bring you in this afternoon.
I thought Josh Mauro did an incredible thing (as emergency long-snapper). If you want to look at one positive, it was Josh Mauro to me.
Both of those guys (Mauro on punts and Evan Boehm, who snapped on field goals), you have to admire, not being in a position where they long snap. They do it in practice obviously a little bit, but to do it under pressure like that, I commend both of them.
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