Sometimes, it’s best to go straight to the man in charge.
And when it comes to the Arizona Cardinals’ roster, that man is Steve Keim.
Arizona’s general manager since January 2013, Keim has overseen a transformation that has led to 21 wins over two seasons. His deft touch with the draft and free agency has led to the team becoming a contender in the NFC.
Lucky for us, Keim happens to be a weekly guest on the Doug and Wolf Show, right here on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. And since what he has to say is important, we thought it would be a good idea to put his words into print, allowing you to read what the GM is thinking. So, without further ado, here’s this week’s edition:
How do you process this game?
Going back to early in the week, when I had a chance to study the Ravens on tape a little bit– never did I anticipate this would be a cake walk. They still have a pretty good offensive line, they’re physical, they’re well-coached by John Harbaugh. So I knew it would be a challenge and a test, particularly when you’re getting a team’s best on Monday night. The thing that is probably the most disappointing is to go up 26-10, miss an extra point which is unacceptable, which makes it a three-score game. And then to have a punt blocked where you have, in consecutive series, a special teams meltdown. That part of it was it was most disappointing but at the end of the day, we came out of it with a win in a tough fashion at the very end. It was nice to see one of our players step up. I thought quite a few of the vets had good nights, in particular Dwight Freeney had a good night. It was fun to see some of his rushes coming off the edge. Then, Chris Johnson, Frostee Rucker and obviously Carson Palmer was efficient last night as well.
Dwight Freeney, Chris Johnson and Jermaine Gresham are all on one-year deals. You have to be happy with their production, right?
Yeah, no doubt. It says a lot about those guys in particular. Their character and their work ethic. Particularly someone like Dwight Freeney who came off the street and in two weeks, I mean the guy hasn’t played a lot of football and certainly didn’t go through camp in the offseason and is able to still have that inside stand. Last night, he put it on their left tackle and came up with a huge sack for us.
When you see mistakes, how do you look at it in the context of you won the football game?
Well I mean you won the game and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. I would have been a lot happier had it been 27-10 like it could have potentially been. At the end of the day, one of the big the differences in comparison to the two that we lost was the turnover battle. We were plus-two in that area and even though we weren’t great in the red zone, we got a little better and more than anything, we didn’t turn the football over and to me, that’s most important.
How did Carson Palmer play?
Efficient. I thought he did a nice job and took away some of the things that they gave us. That being said, again, the Ravens have a scrappy defense I thought they did a nice job playing some coverage on us. I thought our line protected fairly well for the most part. At the end of the day, Carson, if you give him time, he is going to pick you apart and make some plays. It’s just unfortunate some of those drives were stalled, whether it was a protection breakdown or a dropped pass. But I thought Carson played efficient, I mean 20-for-29 and when you come out with a win, you’ve got to be happy.
What did you like about the offensive line and what frustrated you?
From a protection standpoint, I thought we did a nice job and what I thought was nice at times being physical in the run game. One thing that will always continually haunt any offensive line is breakdowns in protection or communication issues. And I think we’re still a work in progress and we still haven’t played our best football up front yet. I think once the season continues to mature, I think you’ll see guys like (Mike) Iupati and (Jonathan) Coop(er) and all those guys get on the same page where the communication is excellent and they’re just going to get better and better as a group.
John Harbaugh was talking about the phones going out on the last possession, what do you know about that? When did you find out?
This morning on the way to the airport. I don’t know a lot about it. I know that happens from time to time in different stadiums. That’s above my pay grade. I don’t know a whole lot about it.
How much do you scout the next opponent? Do you do that yourself or is that more of your staff?
More of our staff but I will take a look at those guys. It’s always good for me to brush up on every team we play, particularly before we play them to kind of have an idea of what we’re facing. I don’t get as much into the schematic part of it as much as I do trying to see where they are from a talent perspective, to see where their strengths and weaknesses are. Our coaches do such a good job of exploiting other teams’ weaknesses. I just try and find out where their talent is and potential guys coming up into unrestricted free agency and that sort of thing to keep an eye on.
What did you like about the Steve Smith and Patrick Peterson matchup?
Just the way those two competed back and forth. Steve Smith is the kind of guy you’re not going to hold to zero catches. He’s still savvy as can be and still has really good foot speed and acceleration out of his breaks. I think it was great competition, it’s great for Pat because he’s the type of player he is. He wants to face the best player week in and week out. I thought it was great battle last night.
On Chris Johnson’s 62-yard run, what did you think? Did you think his forward progress had stopped?
He did exactly what he’s coached to do. And that’s what all players are coached to do and that’s to play through the whistle. Until you hear that whistle, the ball is not dead. I thought it was a heads-up by a veteran guy. Looking back at that play, the only thing I wish now is that he waited for John Brown to come down and make that block, to slow up a little, bit cut back and score a touchdown. Chris has been a great pickup for us, a great addition, not only on the field and in the locker room. He’s got great character and he’s smart as can be and he is a lot of fun to watch.
Chris Johnson has still got the jets doesn’t he?
No doubt, I would say this, watching Chris earlier in his career, he doesn’t have the blazing top-end speed he once had but he still has tremendous feet, balance, lateral cut ability, and really, really good patience which, to me, is what makes a great back sometimes is that ability to see and laterally cut and make people miss.
So if Chris Johnson’s agent was willing to accept a fair offer, I’m assuming would too, then.
I may or may be going to see his agent. That remains to be seen.
It was good to see Andre Ellington make some plays wasn’t it?
It was. He’s that one guy you can forget is a playmaker. When he gets his opportunities, he makes things happen.
Any news that you think might break in the next two hours?
Not that I can think of, unless I can make some things happen on the plane. We’ve got to get healthy, Jerraud Powers got a banged up a little last night, we’ll find out more from our medical staff about where we stands but for the most part, we came out of this game healthy.
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