Keim Time: Cardinals to look at free agents, roster options in Week 4
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim watched his team jump out to a quick lead in the first half of Monday night’s game against the Cowboys, only to go on to lose 28-17.
Part of the reason for their struggles was the offensive line. Part of it was a failure to “finish plays,” as Keim put it.
On Tuesday morning, Keim offered positive thoughts in that he did see encouraging things after watching game film, and he also knows he’ll likely see some injured starters return in the near future.
But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to test the waters of free agency and the waiver wire.
The GM discussed that and more in this edition of “Keim Time,” his weekly interview with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
What’s your number-one concern after watching the film of Monday night’s game?
Well, sometimes, when we lose, my level of frustration is at an all-time high. For one of the first times, I will say this: There were some encouraging things that I took away from this game, especially after watching the film early this morning. The offensive line obviously did not play well. But you can look at the way our quarterback played, the way Larry Fitzgerald played, and under those circumstances, I don’t think either of those guys could have played any better. Just disappointed for both of them because they played their hearts out and ultimately they weren’t rewarded with the win.
After watching the tape, do you feel like you have to make some moves with this team or just let it settle, knowing you’re going to get some offensive linemen healthy?
I think that’s the key point, is — there’s a level of frustration, but instead of having to worry about the changes, fortunately I think we’re going to be getting a few players back and back this week. I’d like to think that D.J. Humphries will return this week, there’s a good chance Mike Iupati will return this week. So there’s two offensive line starters.
And we just have to get better. There’s no doubt about it that last night’s offensive line play was unacceptable. Not only from a technical standpoint when you look at guys’ footworks, their sets, their hand placements — but just the fact that in this game, as we know, it comes down to one-on-one situations and being challenged at the point of attack, and you have to win those battles.
At right tackle, where is your confidence that that’s where Jared Veldheer belongs for the rest of the year?
Well I don’t think it has anything to do with right tackle. I think the fact of the matter is he’s got to get better. He’s got to improve all of those little things I just talked about: his footwork, his technique, his hand placement, and get back to basics. Sixty-four thousand people saw it last night and Jared’s a prideful guy and I expect nothing less from him to be in here this week and make some improvements.
Can you give us a couple examples of where you think Carson Palmer shined?
Well I think ball placement, accuracy, decision making — I think in every way I thought he played exceptional. Not only that, again — under the circumstances with having a couple few play-makers down, injury wise, with not having David Johnson, not having John Brown, J.J. (Nelson) had some hamstring issues. To be able to do what (Palmer) did under pressure and create with his feet and his arm at the same time, and some of the balls that he fit into tight windows to give our receivers a chance, I thought was exception. There’s no doubt in my mind that he played as well as he could possibly play under those circumstances.
What do you do this week to try to improve as a GM against San Francisco?
Well the first thing after every game is to assess the injury situation. Bottom line is you’ve got to know about players’ availability. If there’s some issues, whether it’s at guard or tackle, we have to make some roster moves. But for the most part, I feel like we’re getting healthier. You can never use injuries as an excuse. But we’ll continue to look at the waiver wire, we’ll continue to bring in free agents off the street — we’re bringing in four players today — and we’re constantly looking to turn this roster and look for improvement. I think the bottom line is, again, taking away some of the positives. In a loss, I saw some encouraging things. I thought our defense played lights-out for the most part, I’m extremely happy with the way they stopped the run through three quarters, we were physical at the point of attack, we ran through to the football. Two of those plays were Dak got out of the pocket was disappointing because in those situations, Justin (Bethel) and Ty (Mathieu) did not turn and find the football. It’s all about finishing. In this game, some of the small things that happen can change the fortune of the game. It’s finishing.
From an offensive standpoint, it affected our special teams. When you have poor offensive line play and you’ve backed yourself up, and you had that kind of pressure, now all of a sudden you’re punting out of your end zone and you’re flipping the field and you’re giving them a short field to play with, which, again, is a problem that we have with momentum. Getting up early on a team and being able to stay on top of them. It was very similar to what we did in Detroit. We have a way, for some reason, of allowing teams to stay in the game, to get momentum, then their intensity all of a sudden matches ours, and we’re in a dogfight. We have to learn how to use that momentum to jump on top of people and put them away.
Last night it was mentioned that there could be issues with Alex Boone going forward. What was the prognosis on him?
He has some type of a (pectoral) strain. I don’t know the extent of it. I know he has to get an MRI. The one thing I know about Alex in the short time he’s been here is he’s extremely tough. He’s the type of guy who will play through pain. I think it would have to be pretty severe for him to miss time.
But I thought he played solid for a new guy. Of the offensive linemen, he scrapped, he competed. I thought A.Q. (Shipley) did a nice job, as well, at times. We’ve just got to get better, get back to basics this week.
Where’s your level of concern with Phil Dawson missing three field goals in three games?
Like an other position, when you don’t produce, there’s always concern. The thing that gives me confidence is Phil’s body of work. The fact that he’s been such a consistent kicker for his whole career. At the same time, it doesn’t minimize the fact that we have to be concerned with missing those type of kicks. Knowing Phil like I do, I’m sure he’ll be back in here working this week to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
What’s the biggest thing you want to see this week? What do you want to see against the 49ers?
Playing in front of our home crowd, to me, it’s keeping the momentum, jumping on top of them early, keeping a foot on them. Being able to put people away and taking advantage of our home field advantage. Like I said earlier, it’s the little things. It’s finishing plays. It’s attention to detail. Those are the things that continue to bite us. I don’t think it’s a lack of effort. I think our guys are playing hard, they’re playing physical. It’s the little things and finishing plays that I’d like to see improve.