NFL.com’s Schein: Arizona Cardinals have league’s best GM/coach duo
Feb 26, 2015, 11:46 PM | Updated: 11:47 pm
The Arizona Cardinals named Steve Keim their general manager in Jan. 2013. Not long after he and the team tabbed Bruce Arians to be the head coach.
Since then, the two have helped shape a roster that has won 21 games over the last two seasons, withstanding injuries and defections to quickly become one of the best teams in the NFL.
Earlier this week, the two were rewarded with new contracts by team president Michael Bidwill.
It made sense, because it allows the team to have stability at the top. It also means they will keep the duo that ranks atop the entire NFL, according to NFL.com’s Adam Schein.
It is rather remarkable what these two have accomplished over their two years in the desert. Arians just won AP Coach of the Year by a landslide. Keim has been recognized as Executive of the Year by numerous outlets. Playing in the toughest division in the NFL, the Cardinals have gone 21-11 in that span.
Think about all the injuries and adversity that has hit this team, especially this past year. Both quarterbacks went down. Darnell Dockett didn’t play a down after suffering a preseason injury. Daryl Washington let the organization down by getting suspended for the entire season. No team in the NFL has persevered through choppy waters better than the Cardinals. Keim and Arians constantly turn over the bottom of the roster to adjust to injuries.
Keim and Co. consistently find players to step in and contribute in a positive way. As Arians told me on “Schein on Sports,” my SiriusXM Radio show: “I trust Steve and his staff. He finds the guys. He signs them on a Tuesday, and I say, ‘OK, great — now let’s go coach ’em up and plug ’em in.’ ” It’s not that easy — but the Cardinals certainly make it seem that way.
Some would knock the Cardinals for not having a quarterback — and admittedly, I am not a Carson Palmer fan. But you have to acknowledge that Arians has maximized Palmer (when healthy) and resurrected his career. Keim has wisely resisted the urge to reach for a quarterback in the draft, trusting Arians to get the most out of Palmer while he addresses other needs and unearths gems (like John Brown in Round 3).
Schein places Arians and Keim ahead of an impressive group of duos, including Super Bowl winners in Baltimore’s John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome, Seattle’s Pete Carroll and John Schneinder, Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson and New Orleans’ Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis, among others.