ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals’ Bidwill puts faith in GM Keim before head coaching search

Dec 31, 2018, 1:14 PM | Updated: 1:18 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)

TEMPE, Ariz. — During his introduction as the new leader of the Arizona Cardinals last January, now-fired head coach Steve Wilks infamously called his challenge a re-tool, not a rebuild.

Less than a full year later, Arizona president Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim spoke on Wilks’ firing and another quick turnaround expected of his successor following a 3-13 season. The Cardinals executives used it as an opportunity to rattle off a bullet-point set of reasons why the Cardinals’ head coaching opening — one of eight in the NFL as of Monday — should be attractive to candidates.

One of those talking points is Keim’s own future after his job security reached hot-seat status over the course of 2018.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in Steve going forward,” Bidwill said, jumping in on a question posed to Keim regarding the GM’s responsibility in the failures this past season.

Bidwill listed off Keim’s track record after being elevated to GM in 2013. Arizona has gone 52-43 with two playoff appearances since, in part thanks to Keim’s hire of Bruce Arians and trade for quarterback Carson Palmer.

Keim sticking around for 2019 is, of course, just a point of stability.

Bidwill and Keim also said they believed having the No. 1 overall pick, potentially nine or 10 draft picks depending on compensatory slots awarded, and the current talent on the roster should provide key selling points for interested coaching candidates.

“If I look back and I think to myself in November and December that you’re the general manager with the number one pick in the draft, it’s embarrassing as hell. In April, we’re not going to feel that way,” Keim said.

The Cardinals will keep their cards close to their vest as they enter a coaching search, Bidwill said.

Despite looking at a future with a rookie quarterback in Josh Rosen and the offensive-focused trends across the NFL, Bidwill wouldn’t answer what attributes or backgrounds would be prioritized as the team hopes to lure the best candidate away from the other job openings in the NFL.

Arizona, Bidwill said, has reached out to a few coaching candidates who are currently without jobs.

He said the team would formally go through the process of requesting to speak with coaches of other NFL squads later Monday. Among those candidates is Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the Cardinals requested an interview with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

Bidwill refused to set a timeline on making a hire.

The Cardinals hope their cap space, upcoming draft picks and returning talent like Rosen, rookie receiver Christian Kirk, running back David Johnson, cornerback Patrick Peterson and pass-rusher Chandler Jones can be enticing.

And they hope the possibility that Keim could lose his job is a narrative no more.

“When I look back at last year, obviously I didn’t get it right,” Bidwill said. “I take responsibility for it. We’re going to make sure that we get it right this time around and look forward to starting that search with Steve right away.”

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