Cardinals Flight Plan recaps team’s effort to ‘raise the bar’ in first 7 games
The Arizona Cardinals may not be playing on Sunday due to the bye week, but the team is still providing content for their fans with a new episode of Flight Plan.
The latest installment of the Cardinals’ YouTube series gives fans access to sound and video from on the field and in the locker room, starting with the opening game against San Francisco and concluding with the thriller on Sunday night against Seattle.
Arizona turned heads across the sport early with wins against San Francisco and Washington, but hit a speed bump with consecutive losses to Detriot and Carolina.
“The only way we’re going to have success here is to have tough, honest conversations,” General Manager Steve Keim said in the video. “We have 53 guys in that locker room that I’m damn proud of and they want to be coached. They want to be challenged.”
“Sometimes through criticism, we all excel at our positions.”
Making matters tougher in the game against Carolina, which the Cardinals lost 31-21, was the absence of their defensive star Budda Baker, who was out recovering from thumb surgery.
When he returned against the New York Jets a week later, the team seemed to return to form as well.
“This has become his football team,” Keim said. “It’s not just a positional thing, it’s not just a defensive thing, it’s an Arizona Cardinal thing and Budda takes a lot of pride in that.”
“He is certainly the voice of this team right now.”
Keim’s feeling on type of player Baker could be for the Cardinals when he traded up in the draft to get Baker came true, later making him the highest-paid safety in the NFL.
“I told him a long time ago we were going to take care of him, and when we do I hope he would repay us,” Keim said. “Budda Baker isn’t a guy you have to ask to repay you.”
Baker certainly has repaid Keim and the Cardinals so far in 2020, with key plays in wins against the Jets, Dallas and Seattle to get the team back on track after the slide.
His play was even strong enough to earn the fourth-year pro the NFC Defensive Player of the Month, even though he missed the first game of October.
Two of Baker’s biggest plays of the season so far were interceptions that came in back-to-back primetime wins, which exposed the Cardinals type of play to fans around the country.
Arizona dismantled a hurt Dallas Cowboys club and pulled off an impressive comeback to hand Seattle their first loss of the season.
“When you look at the history of Seattle and Russell Wilson, those kinds of games come down to the very end and he usually makes a magical play and the Seattle Seahawks generally prevail,” Keim said. “The other night our team stuck with it, we went through some ebbs and flows, and were able to come out victorious.”
Quarterback Kyler Murray said if the team wants to be the best, they have to beat the best.
The Cardinals beat the best in the NFC on Sunday night, which effectively – as the title of the latest Flight Plan episode is named – raised the bar.