GM Steve Keim: Cardinals home-road splits may be a mental thing
Jan 14, 2022, 3:20 PM | Updated: 3:41 pm
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
An 8-1 record on the road this season put the Arizona Cardinals in odd territory.
They only managed 11 total wins this season thanks to a 3-5 record at home in State Farm Stadium.
Is it a problem heading into the postseason? A blessing in disguise? And is there a reason for it?
“I think that maybe it becomes a mental thing after awhile, unfortunately,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told Burns & Gambo on Friday. “There’s no doubt that when you look at this year, the way it played out, disappointed about the way we played at home at times.
“But I also don’t want to take away from what we accomplished to 11 games in the regular season, to go to the playoffs, all those things because I’m very, very proud of this football team and this organization.”
Another way to frame it: Arizona hasn’t won at home since Oct. 24 against the Houston Texans.
It’s been a minute since a home victory, but the Cardinals travel where the worries in that regard don’t. They face the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium in a Wild Card matchup on Monday.
At least, the home issues don’t follow Arizona if you assume it’s not coincidence. Is it a bigger deal how the Cardinals played at home or how they finished the year?
The Cardinals started 7-0 and then went 4-6 after that last home win — which included losing defensive end J.J. Watt against Houston. They posted a 4-1 road record in the back-half of 2021 with a lone loss at the lowly Detroit Lions.
So the road success generally held up for the entire season.
“Playing on the road, again, is a great task and something that all our players relish, and I’m not sure why,” Keim said. “The ability to play fast, with tempo and to play football at a high-executed level on the road has been fun to watch. I expect us to be good on Monday night as well.”
Keim on Arizona improving its red zone execution and if quarterback Kyler Murray might be a little more active with his feet: “I don’t want to say that that’s the gameplan, but knowing that it’s a big game and winner … goes onto the next step. I would expect him to play at a high level and play with his feet at times.
“I know he likes to play under the big lights. He’s done it his whole career … I think he really does relish this opportunity. I would expect him to play well and play lights out.”
On Cardinals vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson and VP of player personnel Quentin Harris receiving interviews for the New York Giants general manager search: “Those guys are obviously very special to me, being former players and being so close to them. … They have taken every task that we have given ’em over the years and excelled at a high level. To me, it’s a great compliment to the organization that they reached out and they had an opportunity to talk to these teams. I think they’re both going to be tremendous general managers.”