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Cardinals’ Michael Bidwill happy with homegrown Keim, first days of Wilks

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill joins The Doug & Wolf Show on 98.7 FM Arizona's Sports Station for an in-studio interview on Feb. 13, 2018. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)
LISTEN: Michael Bidwill, President of the Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill may not have his franchise quarterback locked down, but he feels confident in the dead of the offseason with his two Steves atop the team’s leadership totem pole.

The team announced Monday that it had signed general manager Steve Keim to a contract extension through 2022, tying him to the success of his second coaching hire, Steve Wilks.

The 49-30-1 record the Cardinals posted in five years under Keim’s first coaching hire, Bruce Arians, gave Bidwill the confidence to sign the front office leader as Arizona enters Wilks’ tenure.

“I think Steve’s one of the better GMs in the National Football League. He’s done a terrific job. If you look at his wins and losses, he’s among the top,” Bidwill said visiting Doug & Wolf’s Newsmakers Week on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “This is about creating stability in the organization and making sure we take care of the folks that really deserve an extension.”

Arizona offered Keim the extension despite the Cardinals holding a team option on the general manager through the 2019 season.

Bidwill said the focus was on rewarding success and securing stability for the Cardinals.

“We had a long conversation about what we need to do, not only this offseason, but it’s about winning Super Bowls,” the president said. “It’s about bringing those trophies back to Phoenix. We can do it. We’ve been close before and now we’ve got to build the right kind of team through free agency, through the draft and have that sustained success.”

Keim joined the Cardinals as a scout in 1999 and worked his way up the player development department before becoming the general manager in 2013.

In his first year, he hired Bruce Arians as coach and traded for quarterback Carson Palmer. Twice in his tenure, Arizona set a team record for total wins over the course of a season.

“It’s a lot of satisfaction that we can home-grow our own success and our own leadership,” Bidwill said of Keim. “That Steve is really leading the way here is exciting. It’s not just the veteran talent, it’s the new talent, the college talent that’s coming in and then managing all the contracts with the salary cap that doesn’t give us a lot of flexibility sometimes and making sure we’ve got the right structure in place and the right coaches in place to make sure we can have success.”

WILKS HITS THE GROUND RUNNING

The Cardinals are adjusting to a personality change.

Arians’ gunslinging vibe is being replaced by Wilks’ all-business attitude.

Bidwill said the team facilities have already taken on the personality of the new Arizona coach.

“There’s a different vibe in there now. He is putting up some of his own words on the walls and things like that, that are inspirational to players and really reinforce the themes he has talked about at his press conference and with us individually,” Bidwill said. “I think Coach Wilks has come in — I think this is the beginning of his third week — and he has hit the ground running. He is organized, he is efficient. He talks about accountability.

“Holy cow. I mean, he has just been banging away at the decisions. Put together a great staff. That staff all fits his personality. Detailed, outcome-oriented and there’s been like a super efficient — it’s been all business and I really like it.”

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