Michael Bidwill: Cardinals will continue leaning over their ski tips
The Arizona Cardinals’ problems in 2018 weren’t limited to the ousted coaching staff.
Roster holes that went unplugged and the lack of talent at backup positions when injuries struck both played their part in a 3-13 record.
Of the positives coming out of a disappointing season, Arizona has boasted that its top position on the waiver wire would help things. General manager Steve Keim has walked the walk when it comes to believing that can make a meaningful impact.
At the tail end of 2018, the team added safety D.J. Swearinger off waivers, bracing the team for the possibility Tre Boston could leave in free agency. Of late, the Cardinals picked up linebacker Tanner Vallejo, who was waived by the Cleveland Browns, and signed two former Falcons, outside linebacker Brooks Reed and corner Robert Alford.
Altogether, the moves indicate Arizona wants to get ahead of the curve, adding talent to the roster before the draft or free agency begin.
“Look, I don’t think we’ve been too aggressive,” Cardinals president Michael Bidwill told Doug & Wolf during 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Newsmakers Week. “We are going to be aggressive and bold, there is no question about that. We are going to continue to keep our foot on the gas and lean over our ski tips here as we go through the offseason.
“Three-and-13 is certainly a great motivator. Failure, and especially epic failure like last year … certainly remains a great motivator for me to get this turned this around fast and to keep as much pressure internally on the people who make decisions to push things forward. I can tell you, across the board, every woman and man in our organization is working hard, whether it’s on the football side or the business side, to get this flipped quickly.”
Bidwill also rehashed the hiring process of the Cardinals’ staff around head coach Kliff Kingsbury. A few highlights from his conversation with Doug & Wolf are below:
On Kingsbury’s credentials: “We hired one of the brightest offensive minds in football, period. So much of the college game has morphed into the pro game. He’s a play-caller who has been successful at the highest level. His average of offensive scoring per game over his eight years — six years as a head coach (at Texas Tech) and two years as an offensive coordinator (at Texas A&M) — is 39.6 points per game. And that was against some pretty tough competition. We needed to marry him up with a great defensive coordinator.”
On how hard the coaching staff has been working: “(Kingsbury) gave them about a week off to go back home, pack up your stuff, get it moved out. They’ve been meeting. I mean, I went over there to meet the newest member of our staff yesterday and it was like, ‘OK, we’ll be with you in a couple hours’ because they were in the offensive meeting room just going over tape and going over gameplan stuff. I’m excited. (I said), ‘I don’t want to interrupt you, just keep doing your thing.’
“They’re watching a lot of tape in there. The door’s been closed a lot of the time since he’s been on board. They’re all detail-oriented guys that are teachers, all teachers. I’m super excited about what I’m seeing him do.”
On Kingsbury’s interview and what stood out: “He was the only coach in the interview who said, ‘Can you bring video and set up the video? Because I want to go over what we’re going to do with Josh. Where he wasn’t successful last year, we’re going to make him successful.'”
On doing preliminary research before interviewing Kingsbury: “We put a lot of effort in and a lot of research in even before the search started, and we were looking for the kind of qualities of the head coach we wanted … This was not a snap decision at all.”
On new defensive coordinator Vance Joseph: “It was a great, great interview. I was only in there for about 10 or 15 minutes, and it was going over my head at that point. I’m not the Xs and Os guy.”
On if he was surprised Larry Fitzgerald would return for 2019: “I had a pretty good feeling. The thing that excites me … he has the enthusiasm and the drive that he had his rookie year, that he had five years ago. He wanted to come back.”