Cardinals GM Steve Keim apologizes to fans, promises changes

Dec 18, 2017, 8:32 AM | Updated: 4:10 pm
Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, right, talks with general manager Steve Keim during pr...
Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, right, talks with general manager Steve Keim during practice at the NFL football team's training camp Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Steve Keim, Cardinals GM

Frustration can be a great motivator for change — especially in the National Football League.

Two years ago, the Arizona Cardinals were one of the top teams in the league and advanced to the NFC Championship Game. Expectations were heaped on the organization to continue that level of play, but it hasn’t happened.

Since then, the Cardinals are 13-16-1. They’ll finish with a non-winning record for the second straight year and will be spectators when the playoffs begin in January.

The architect of not only the NFC Championship participant in 2015, but this year’s team, general manager Steve Keim, is understandably frustrated after a second straight touchdown-less game in a 20-15 loss to the Washington Redskins.

“This is the game that I think I’ll look back and point to as one of the more frustrating games, not only this season, but of my tenure as a general manager,” Keim told Doug & Wolf Monday morning on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “It’s really difficult to process the lack of execution. I didn’t see a lack of effort, which has been a recurring theme. Our team continues to fight and play hard.

“But so many times when there were situations where it was an overthrown ball or a dropped pass or a missed block and again, the red-zone woes were concerning. There were many, many plays to be made and that’s not only Blaine’s (Gabbert) fault, but there were many others to be blamed in the process, that guys just weren’t getting it done.”

The Cardinals entered the red zone six times in the loss to Washington, but came away with only four field goals, and turned the ball over once.

“It was a frustrating game,” Keim said. “I’m disappointed, and the fact that we were eliminated from playoff contention is a disappointment. I apologize to our fans and everybody in our organization. Moving forward, we have a lot of work to do. It’s going to be a busy offseason. We’ll continue to evaluate this team the last two games and I promise the product on the field in 2018 will finish much stronger.”

But how exactly will that happen? The Cardinals, after a disappointing 2016 season, kept their veteran core together, hoping that the season was an anomaly. Injuries and ineffectiveness for a second straight campaign have indicated it wasn’t.

Keim promised sweeping roster changes heading into a new campaign.

“I would say that’s an understatement,” he said when asked if he was willing to make big changes.

There is also a large element of unknown when it comes to the Cardinals’ future. There has been speculation on the future of head coach Bruce Arians. The 65-year-old has had health issues during his five-year run as head coach, and could choose to retire. Quarterback Carson Palmer, who has been on injured reserve since October, is under contract for 2018, but also could ride off into the sunset. And veteran receiver and face of the franchise Larry Fitzgerald signed an extension for next year, but hasn’t made official whether or not he will actually come back.

“As soon as the season is over, we’ll have conversations and a lot of that stuff will play itself out,” Keim said. “Regardless of the circumstance, we will be prepared for anything that may happen. It’s no different from 2013 when I took over and Michael (Bidwill) and I hired Bruce Arians and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work and produced three seasons of double-digit wins and teams we were extremely proud of.

“To me, it’s always fun and exciting to get back to the grind and get back to building a football team. Again, I’m just disappointed that we fell short in 2017.”

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