Keim Time: The games are ‘all big from here on out’

Oct 18, 2016, 10:35 AM | Updated: 11:15 am
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Steve Keim, Cardinals general manager

The Arizona Cardinals took down the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, 28-3.

David Johnson led the way for Cardinals, as he had 22 carries for 111 yards and three touchdowns. The win brings the Cardinals to .500, but the road won’t get any easier as the Seattle Seahawks come to town in Week 7 for a Sunday night showdown.

General manager Steve Keim joined Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Tuesday, as he does the day after every game, to discuss what he took away from the Jets game and what he thinks about the Cardinals’ matchup with the Seahawks.

What comes to your mind when you think of the Cardinals being 3-3?

“Missed opportunities, but I do like the resiliency of our team and the way we’ve fought back, and the one thing I think about last night, is (I) can’t thank our fan base enough. The energy that they created in that stadium was a huge difference in that football game and it really put the Jets in a tough position on offense, and it showed with the false starts and those sort of things. I think a couple of things that got me excited was, last night particularly on defense, (it) was the first time I’ve seen our defense play fast, they played loose and they minimized mental mistakes, particularly in the secondary from a coverage standpoint, and when we play like that defensively it certainly puts the offense in a tough position.”

Is there another running back in the league that can compare to David Johnson? 

“Well I know he has a unique skill set, because of his ability to create mismatches in the passing game and I really think the one area where he’s evolved is as a pure runner. Evaluating out of college, there were some questions about his ability to run behind his pads and finish between the tackles because he was more of a perimeter runner at Northern Iowa, but he has really, really improved his patience and his vision, and some of the things he does with his lateral jump-cuts for being a big back are really, really impressive.”

Are you more impressed with the player or person of David Johnson?

“You know what, it’s a combination of both. Sometimes when I talk to him, because he is such a good person, you wonder if he’s real. He’s articulate (and) he carries himself as a professional. I know he’s a great husband and he’s a to-be father, and he’s again a true professional in the way he carries himself. B.A. certainly gives him a hard time now, he coaches him up, which he should, because there still are areas of David’s game where he can improve. But the things he does for this offense really, really does put offenses in a bind because of the pressure he puts on them from a pass-catching standpoint as well.”

Are you seeing a transition in your defensive unit right now?

“Well I don’t know about in transition; I would just say a defense more than anything to me that’s really starting to gel. And again, early on in the season, you know, guys had really good performances from an individual standpoint, but last night watching them play together as a unit is what impressed me. Chandler Jones last night was unbelievable. Even though he may not have registered a sack, he affected almost every play. Fitzpatrick got the ball out quick, but between Chandler and Markus Golden, those guys created a ton of pressure, were in his face, and again the speed that we played with at the second level, (Deone Bucannon) played well, Kevin Minter played a good football game, and then again from a coverage standpoint, (there were) two guys that I thought did a really nice job. Tharold Simon, a guy we claimed off waivers from Seattle; he’s long, he does a nice job of tackling in space, and then Marcus Cooper continues to play with some consistency.”

Is Tyrann Mathieu back?

“I don’t think he’s 100 percent yet. I think he’d be the first to tell you that, just from a movement standpoint, some of the stuff in coverage, when he’s in the slot as a nickel, some of his change in direction and his anticipation. He’s still not quite 100 percent, but you definitely see signs of improvement, and like B.A. said, when he’s able to play in that box and to play in the nickel, he has so much more impact on the game, just not only vocally, but his ability to be disruptive, whether he’s blitzing off the slot, or he’s playing in coverage, but he is definitely getting closer, there is no doubt about that.”

How do you think Earl Watford and John Wetzel played?

“I thought they did an excellent job, particularly against a stout front with three first-rounders and those guys have only given up one rushing touchdown prior to our game, and our ability to come off the ball and create lanes, and you know Todd Bowles is a heck of a defensive coach. He understands how to attack offenses, they did some things to us from a blitz standpoint with a lot of A-gap pressure, blitzing off the slot as a nickel, it wasn’t going to be easy, but I thought those guys stepped up and played extremely well for the circumstances they were put in.”

What was the team’s mentality when it came to the run game and why were they successful against the Jets?

“I think it’s Bruce being a tremendous football coach and understanding offensively what our strengths can be, and how to attack defenses, and he’s been doing it a long time and he’s had a lot of success in his career and will continue to have success. And I think that just the fact that what David does to a defense, there was no doubt in my mind that he wants to establish the run and there’s no doubt that that makes the play-action game much easier. Bruce and his staff do such a great job of putting the game plan together and I certainly differ to them whenever those kind of question are asked.”

Did you talk to the coaches about the game plan and protecting Carson Palmer?

“B.A. and I are always on the same page and the lines of communication are always open, and he’ll come down and we’ll talk about who’s going to be active, who’s going to be inactive, kind of some of the areas he’s going to attack, defensively what his thoughts are, as well as Harold Goodwin and James Betcher and the rest of the staff, but there’s no doubt we’re trying to establish the run, because it does, it makes everything easier in this game. The game of football has changed a little bit and has become more of a space game at a lot of different levels, but there’s no doubt that good old-fashioned football and being able to run the ball with consistency is certainly a plus.”

Is the team healthy coming out of the game?

“You know as far as I know we are, but again, I don’t talk to our medical staff or Tom Reed until mid-morning after the games and I just basically got through the tape myself.”

Do you think Michael Floyd’s confidence is returning?

“Well it’s great to see, and I think it’s one of the things, I don’t know if it’s confidence or not but, just to be able to have the opportunity and get him going is going to be a huge benefit for us in the second half of the season, as well as John Brown and everybody else on our offense; Jaron Brown continues to show up. Last night I was extremely impressed with the energy that J.J. Nelson showed when he came in. There was a series where he made two or three huge plays and put us in a position to score. So we have a lot of different players that can affect the game and that’s a good problem to have.”

How do you label Sunday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks?

“The next game’s always the biggest to me, and I think that’s the mindset you have to have as an organization, is one game at a time. We got through the Jets game and put a W on the board, and now the focus is turned to Seattle, and there’s no doubt they are all big from here on out.”

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Keim Time: The games are ‘all big from here on out’