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Keim Time: Cardinals look to rebound from London loss after bye week

LISTEN: Steve Keim, Cardinals GM

The Arizona Cardinals had a bye week to digest the status of their team.

Without their starting quarterback and running back for the time being, the Tuesday trade deadline adds intrigue to a team with its back against the wall.

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim joins Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station every Monday morning during the season. On a Tuesday edition coming off the bye — and a week removed from a loss to the Los Angeles Rams in London — he reviewed what went wrong in the team’s last outing, a 33-0 defeat. Keim also discussed the health of David Johnson and Carson Palmer, and what’s already a very active trade deadline.

It’s Keim Time.

Was it all work, work, work, or did you get time with the family during the bye week?

Oh, got a little bit of time to relax, did some scouting. Went over to see ASU and USC. Got some time to decompress but — happy Halloween, man.

Did you like what you saw from [USC QB] Sam Darnold?

Yeah, absolutely. I don’t want to get into talking about college players too much, but there’s no question that the young man possesses a lot of tools. Would have liked to see ASU play a little better, but they’ve done a good job this year and I think a lot of credit goes to Coach Graham and how they’ve improved.

Would you like to rank the 2018 quarterback class with us right now?

No, I think we can go on to the next question.

You guys already proved you’re buyers, going after Adrian Peterson. The trade worked great against Tampa Bay, didn’t pay a lot of dividends against the Rams. As you sit here today, hours before the trade deadline is over, do you consider yourself buyers or sellers?

We’ve been active in talks. Really, for a trade to come to fruition, there has to be so many things that make sense, whether it’s the finances, the compensation. So, as often as you talk about trades — because there’s a lot of conversations — very rarely do teams pull the trigger because of one thing or another. We’ll continue to work the phones, but it’s one of those things where everything has to line up for it to work out.

Were you surprised by all the action, by all the trades that are happening? Not only in the NFC West, but across the NFL.

No, I don’t think anything surprises me much anymore. I think that in some aspects, the amount of injuries that teams have incurred have, to some degree, increased the amount of trade action this year. Teams that feel like they’re heavily in the hunt (are) trying to fill positional needs. But again, it’s a dicey situation because a lot of times, you’re trading for a player, and not only is there draft compensation involved, but there’s a specific salary or contract structure that you have to take on, which can be difficult.

There are some people that feel that the injury factor has a lot to do with the CBA. If that’s true, do you think that the trade deadline is going to more active as the years go by, if the unfortunate is true that there’s going to be more injuries?

That’s just all projection. I don’t think there’s been any scientific study that proves that. There’s no doubt that the more time you have with guys in the offseason and the training and all the things that go into it, I think would certainly help from an injury standpoint.

But when it comes to soft tissue stuff and some of the other stuff that players incur, I don’t know whether it’s the way they train in the offseason or the attention to detail, their diet has so much to do with it. Those are the things that we’ve taken so many steps in the right direction to try and study that side of it. But I don’t think there’s been any real conclusion on why those injuries are taking place.

Steve, if you had to do it all over again in terms of going abroad, going to London, would you do anything differently? Would you sit down with B.A., would you sit down with the organization and say, you know what, next time … we should do A, B and C? Would you do anything differently?

Not one thing except to play better. And I will tell you this: I was hesitant about the thought of playing overseas but what an experience it was. When Michael Bidwill brought that to my attention, again, I wasn’t sure what to think. After going through that experience, it was just phenomenal. One thing that opened up my eyes — and I had no clue — was the international excitement the fans had. We went to a pub to speak and there were fans from Germany and Sweden and all over England. It was just amazing to know there are so many people abroad that are huge Cardinals fans.

And that was probably the biggest disappointment for all of us, was to see all that excitement overseas, to see 85,000 people packed into a stadium and to have such a poor performance leaves a really bad taste in our mouth.

As you watch the film, as you’ve thought about it, as you’ve talked to Bruce Arians, what happened in London game-wise that went so wrong?

I think it started with the fact that we didn’t run the ball effectively to start the game. You get into a situation where you’re having to throw the football a lot and when you’re doing it against a front like theirs, you know, with (Michael) Brockers and Robert Quinn — the kind of guys who are making $10 and $14 million, and one’s about to make $19 million, there’s a reason for that. They get paid, too. Those guys have tremendous talent especially when it comes to rushing a passer.

As a former offensive lineman, there’s nothing worse than when you get into constant passing downs and they know what’s coming and those guys are just teeing off. It’s almost impossible to pass-protect, down-in and down-out, again, without being able to run the ball effectively and having some balance.

It all started with that. Defensively, I don’t think we played with a lot of energy, I thought we tackled poorly. Really, in my opinion, didn’t do anything really well. That’s something that I know starting today out of practice we’re going to clean up and make sure that we fix some of these things because the way we played in Europe was just flat-out unacceptable.

How is David Johnson’s rehab and recovery going right now?

He’s doing well. He’s healing. It’s one of those injuries that, it is time consuming once you have that type of injury fixed. I think it’s one of those deals where it takes X-period of time. We’ll continue to monitor it and see if he can get back at some point of the season.

As it relates to IR and Carson Palmer, does his return completely depend on his injury status or does your spot in the playoff race matter whether Carson Palmer come back? Do you feel a sense of loyalty that if he’s ready to go you play him anyway even though you don’t need to see anything for him as it relates to 2018? How does his injury affect Week 16 and Week 17?

Well, I think there are so many moving parts, it would be hard to say right now. With his injury, again (he’s) another guy, who knows how fast he’ll heal? He could heal a lot faster than others and that’s what’s so great about the IR-to-return. You know, you have the six weeks to practice, eight weeks to play. There’s a chance he could heal faster and be back and ready to go. A lot of that depends on how we’re playing as a football team, I’m sure. That’ll all be taken into account.

There’s no doubt we want the best for Carson. We’re not going to put him in harm’s way, either. It’s something we’ll continue to monitor over the next four, five weeks.

How’d the surgery go?

Went well. Went excellent. Had it done in L.A. Talked to him and his wife last week, he’s recovering well. That’s the one thing about Carson Palmer, guys, is I think you guys would all agree: Over the years, there’s nobody that I respect more for their toughness than Carson. When we traded for him five years ago, I had no way of knowing how tough of a guy he is. In my opinion, they don’t come much tougher.

Steve, your thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots?

I think it’s a solid move. It’s a small sample size for Jimmy. You have to take swings at the plate, and that’s what San Francisco did. They have a lot of cap room. His contract is set to expire after the season so that’s one of those deals that they have a chance to watch him over the next seven or eight weeks and see what kind of player he is an how he fits into their system. That’ll be interesting to see.

What’s a bigger risk to you, your style of general manager: Drafting a rookie quarterback in the first round or making a trade for the Scott Mitchells of the world, the Rob Johnsons, in this case, the Jimmy Garoppolos? You’ve seen something at an NFL level, plenty of preseason tape, but still an unproven commodity?

I would much rather draft and develop if you had your way, especially a young one that you believed in because you can grow with him. It not only helps you as a team from a salary cap structure. You’re paying a guy minimal money and you can build a team around him as far as the salary structure.

If you trade for a player who is a veteran and has not done it on a consistent basis yet, you’re still having to pay them X-amount of money, which is scary. Whether you can put something in place contractually, which isn’t long-term guaranteed, but you’re still talking about guys nowadays getting anywhere from 18-to-20 million dollars stamped based on a résumé, which isn’t very long.

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