Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim: Kicking issues ‘cannot happen again’
They say winning solves everything. That might not be true in all cases.
The Arizona Cardinals got back in the win column Sunday with a 20-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Following a terrible performance in their last game — a 33-0 shutout at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams — and a bye week, it’s exactly what the team needed.
But the ‘W’ doesn’t cure all the Cardinals’ ills. Not even close.
General manager Steve Keim was pleased with the win, but identified more than a few areas that need to be cleaned up in the season’s second half.
“Starts with you’ve got to score in the red zone when we’re down there,” Keim told Doug & Wolf Monday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “There continues to be red-zone issues.”
The Cardinals scored only two touchdowns in five red-zone trips Sunday and had a turnover and a missed field goal.
About that missed field goal?
“The field goal unit, to me, is a major disappointment — not only from a kicking standpoint, but from a blocking and technical standpoint,” Keim said.
For the second straight game, the Cardinals marched down the field on their opening drive only to see veteran kicker Phil Dawson miss a field goal attempt. Against the Rams in London, Dawson hooked a 32-yard attempt wide left. Sunday in Santa Clara, he clanged a 38-yarder off the right upright, squandering another scoring chance.
“(Dawson) has to be held accountable,” he said. “It was a low snap. I don’t know the technicalities on field goals as well as the specialists themselves, but my opinion is when you’re getting paid, you’ve got to make those kicks. I don’t think that’s any secret.
“Again, it was a low snap. I thought (holder) Andy Lee got it up. I know there is some timing and some rhythm issues, but that’s something we have to look at and get fixed here very quickly.”
It’s hardly an endorsement for the 42-year-old Dawson, who has now missed six attempts this season — the most in the league. But with a game looming Thursday night against Seattle at University of Phoenix Stadium, the time isn’t quite right for the organization to look to the outside to fix the situation.
“That certainly messes with it,” Keim said. “The short period of time and turnover is going to be an issue. The hard part is that the preseason and everything we saw from Phil moving forward, it felt like he was going to be a huge addition to this team and bring consistency to that spot. And for whatever reason, things are not clicking right now.
“So we just have to go back to the basics and really dig in and see what’s going wrong and make sure that we fix it, because it cannot happen again.”
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