GM Steve Keim on Cardinals’ skid: ‘Our stars have not played like stars’

Oct 9, 2020, 8:53 AM

Larry Fitzgerald #11 and Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals stand on the sideline during...

Larry Fitzgerald #11 and Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals stand on the sideline during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at State Farm Stadium on August 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has picked his opportunities in past years to call out his team, and that moment has arrived a quarter of the way through 2020.

After two promising wins suggested the Cardinals had more to give, they gave less in Weeks 3 and 4.

With a visit to the New York Jets scheduled for Sunday — barring any changes after a Jets player tested positive for coronavirus — it’s a pivotal moment for Arizona as it tries to keep pace with the 4-0 Seattle Seahawks and 3-1 Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West.

Keim believes the Cardinals haven’t shown up lately.

“I do believe in them, but at the same time I am very, very disappointed with the way we’ve played the last two weeks,” Keim told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf. “It comes down to making plays and executing. To be quite frank with you, we got a lot of guys making a lot of money and that’s the way you build a roster — you’ve got to allocate a lot of money in particular spots. When you see players who are making an exorbitant amount of money, those guys have to be productive.

“In my opinion, our stars have not played like stars so to speak.”

Cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is in a contract year, and starting quarterback Kyler Murray are among the players Keim said haven’t met expectations.

Pro Football Focus cited Peterson for allowing five first downs and 70 yards in last Sunday’s 31-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers, and while those numbers don’t account for coverages, the general manager was not letting his eight-time Pro Bowler off so easily.

“Yeah, I mean I think he’s got to play better,” Keim said. “He’s got tremendous skills, he’s been an All-Pro the majority of his career, he’s a captain. We’ve got high expectations for Pat. We’re looking forward to him to bounce back this week.”

As for Murray, Keim said the quarterback’s missed deep throws early in losses to the Detroit Lions and Panthers were correctable but momentum-killers.

“Could be footwork, could be, whatever it is, attention to detail,” Keim said. “He’s a much better pure passer than that.

“It really is just a chain of events … It really seems to throw us out of rhythm. We have to get him hot early on, get him going, obviously get the ball in No. 11’s (Larry Fitzgerald’s) hands and get Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) going as well.”

At 37 years old, it’s speculated Fitzgerald is seeing a significant downturn in his career. But the receiver was one of the best players in training camp and has 14 catches for 88 yards on 18 targets. Whether it’s Murray’s decision-making or coach Kliff Kingsbury’s play-calling not pushing the ball his way, there’s room to suggest Arizona is neglecting him.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Chandler Jones has a single sack in four games after posting 19.0 a year ago.

Keim feels both Jones and Fitzgerald will break through given more opportunities.

“Larry was open for a 40-yard completion the first series against Carolina and Kyler just missed him,” Keim said. “Chandler just had three or four opportunities to get sacks this weekend, he was right there. Unfortunately, Teddy Bridgewater got the ball out quickly.”

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