ARIZONA CARDINALS

Former NFL executive Joe Banner praises Cardinals front office for calculated moves

Nov 9, 2021, 9:25 AM
Arizona Cardinals new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim (R) talk to the med...
Arizona Cardinals new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim (R) talk to the media at the Arizona Cardinals Training Facility on January 9, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)


Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury credited general manager Steve Keim following the team’s 31-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday.

Despite injuries to key players, Arizona took care of business with backup quarterback Colt McCoy and running back James Conner charging the offense.

Both veterans signed one-year deals with Arizona during the offseason, as Keim and his staff looked to bolster depth with veteran talent on short contracts.

That plan has resulted in an 8-1 start for the Cardinals, the best record in the NFL.

“The guys that step in, they step up,” Kingsbury said postgame. “Steve’s done a tremendous job bringing in great leadership and we’ve talked about that at length throughout the first part of the season, but he has. Whoever comes in, guys don’t hesitate to make plays and cut loose.”

The work of Arizona’s front office caught the attention of Joe Banner, a former longtime NFL executive most prominently with the Philadelphia Eagles and contributor to the 33rd Team football analysis outlet.

Banner comprised a midseason review of front offices, praising and criticizing three each. He gave accolades to the Cardinals not for just this season but the last few years that led to this.

I also think Arizona has made some really smart and calculated moves the past few seasons. They let Kenyan Drake go to Las Vegas on a two-year $11 million contract and replaced him with a much cheaper option in James Conner going into 2021. They also let Dan Arnold leave via free agency and were even able to upgrade at tight end at the deadline by adding Zach Ertz after Maxx Williams was lost to injury.

Overall, I think they have created a very strong core that is supported with both cheaper veterans and players on rookie contracts.

Banner went into the Cardinals’ decision to hire Kingsbury and draft quarterback Kyler Murray first overall in 2019.

Of Kingsbury, Banner gave him great credit for game planning last week and helping McCoy succeed. He wrote that it is unusual for a coach with a losing record in college to win in the NFL, but he noted that Kingsbury has the third-best record of eight coaches hired in 2019. He trails just the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Bruce Arians and the Green Bay Packers’ Matt LaFleur.

The former executive then said it took courage to draft Murray first given all the skepticism about his height and the fact that Arizona took Josh Rosen the year before.

… Not many teams would have just given up on their first round quarterback after one season. They deserve a lot of credit for that because it is very unusual for a general manager to make that kind of public admission that he messed up a quarterback pick that badly.

A lot of teams would be afraid to take that heat, but it has paid off immensely for them.

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 26: Jessie Lemonier #52 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a fumble recovery ag...
Wills Rice

Cardinals claim LB Jesse Lemonier off waivers, release DL LaRon Stokes

The Cardinals announced that the team has claimed LB Jesse Lemonier off waivers from the Lions and released DL LaRon Stokes.
17 hours ago
(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals donating 200,000 meals to United Food Bank

The Arizona Cardinals and Albertsons/Safeway are partnering to donate 200,000 meals to the United Food Bank.
17 hours ago
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals calls a play during the first half against the ...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals Corner podcast: Is Kliff Kingsbury ready for a gauntlet schedule?

Following last season's epic collapse to end the season, a lot of the focus and criticism shifted toward head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
17 hours ago
An Arizona Cardinals helmet on the grass during Arizona Cardinals training camp on July 30, 2021 at...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals sign 6 players to roster following tryouts at rookie minicamp

The Arizona Cardinals signed and released six players following tryouts at rookie minicamp, the team announced Monday.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals' Keaontay Ingram (30) runs drills at the NFL football team's rookie minicamp, Fri...
Wills Rice

Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram excited to prove himself on the field

Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram said he is ready to prove that the running back position is still the engine of the team.
3 days ago
Running back James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football against the Houston Texan...
Wills Rice

PFF’s Cole: Cardinals’ James Conner is a fantasy football post-draft winner

The Cardinals added to their offensive arsenal in the 2022 NFL Draft, but PFF thinks RB James Conner came out as the fantasy football winner.
3 days ago
Former NFL executive Joe Banner praises Cardinals front office for calculated moves