Keim Time: There are no disappointing wins
The Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers 23-20 in their first game after the bye.
It seemed like the Cardinals were going to roll to victory, as they opened up a 14-0 first half lead, but four turnovers (three in the second half) kept the 49ers in it the whole way.
After taking a 20-10 lead lead into the break, the Cards were shut out in the third quarter while the Niners added a field goal to close the gap to seven. The final turnover (a Carson Palmer interception in 49ers territory) led to the 49ers tying the game at 20 on a four-yard Colin Kaepernick scamper with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
Palmer and the Cardinals had enough time for redemption, as they were able to march down the field and have Chandler Catanzaro successfully kick a 34-yard field goal as time expired to avoid a potential catastrophe.
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim joined Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM to discuss his thoughts of the game, and what the outlook of the season is.
Do you think this was a disappointing win?
“Oh no, I don’t think there are any disappointing wins. I would say that’s the one thing that I’ve learned in this position, is to respect and appreciate every win. When you think about the big picture, you look at the end of the year record and when that happens nobody worries about style points or which game you won how. I mean it’s really the end result of wins and losses and this was a win. And I would say more than anything there were some encouraging points, or things I saw on tape like some of the plays Michael Floyd made and some of the confidence he built. Same thing with Chandler Catanzaro with the game-winning field goal, so there were a lot of positives to take away and there’ll be a lot of teaching points that I’m sure B.A. will tell you are good for our team to move forward with.”
How did John Wetzel play?
“He played good. You know I don’t know that San Francisco has a great edge presence in terms of pure pass-rushers, but I would say John played a solid game, you know what you’re getting with him. He’s physical, he plays smart, he plays hard and he’s extremely efficient. Technically he’s very sound, so I thought he played a good football game. In terms of running the football, watching the tape this morning, you got a lot of eight and nine-man boxes and there was no doubt what San Francisco did was take away the run and make us beat them throwing the football, so we threw the ball a lot, had some success, 376 yards passing by Carson (Palmer), and again really, I think it was determined what we were going to get from them, and that was throwing the football was going to be our success.”
Were you disappointed in the run game despite there being nine defenders constantly in the box?
“Well I mean it’s one of those things, do you want to run into a wall constantly or do you, again, have a lot of open shots in the passing game. And there was no doubt to me the game was closer than it should be because of the miscues and the turnovers. I mean we’re talking about a fumble by Carson where he should’ve gotten rid of the football, a fumble by J.J. Nelson on a first down and a ball that was deflected off his chest that would’ve been another first down. So we had our opportunities, the turnovers certainly didn’t help, but again there were some positive signs. Larry Fitzgerald continues to be a warrior and a guy who makes big plays in critical situations, and then again, some of the plays that Michael made to me were very encouraging.”
Is David Johnson the best running back in the NFL?
“Well I certainly believe he belongs there up in that conversation; I’m obviously biased. What he does again, not just running the football, the things he does in the passing game, how smooth he is and the mismatches he creates, to me is what makes him a special player. The crazy thing about David is you watch him on tape, there are so many things you see that he can even improve on, so the sky’s the limit for him. I know he’s a great kid, he works his tail off and he’ll just continue to grow and get better.”
Did your confidence in Floyd or Catanzaro ever wane this year?
“I wouldn’t say it waned, you know obviously in the first half of the season we were all disappointed. The good news about both those guys is they kept a good attitude and they continued to go to work and I think B.A. said it, I think Carson said it, we saw the way Michael worked and how disappointed he was, so for him to come out and have a game like that, and to see the smile on his face in the locker room last night again was exciting for us.”
How did the offensive line play?
“I thought very good from a protection standpoint but again as you know Wolf, when you’re getting those kind of fronts in the run game, it does pose some problems. The way they’re built, they’re a bigger, physical run-stopping style of defensive line, so I think some of the guys they have up front pose some problems in the run game, whether it was defeating combination blocks or whether they were able to slip and hit some gaps on us. From a protection standpoint I thought Carson had a lot of time.”
What do you think of your team right now?
“When I look at the big picture, (I’m) disappointed with some of the things in the first half, but now that we have a clean slate and you look at the rest of the NFC, I’m excited at the opportunities ahead of us. And again, if you wanted to talk about style points yesterday we didn’t play perfect, but to finish a game like that and to gain some confidence, because there were two other games, the New England and the Seattle game that we didn’t finish and we had opportunities. So you look at the last three years and you look at 10, 11 and 13 wins, we won a lot of ugly games like we did yesterday. So again I think that was some of the positive points I think we need to take and move forward with.”
Is Markus Golden 100 percent healthy right now?
“As far as I know, I don’t think anybody’s 100 percent as you know Wolf at this point in the year, but you know I thought he created some pressure yesterday. Obviously Chandler Jones had an excellent game with two sacks and continues to be a force off the edge. But you know Markus is a guy who’s banged up like everybody else and he’s tough as nails and playing through things, but he had some nice rushes yesterday, and the one thing that Colin Kaepernick did a nice job yesterday (was) a couple times he got loose, beat the contain and beat us with his feet. But for the most part, I kind of like what we’re doing defensively, especially on those outside linebacker rushes.”
Do you think Tyrann Mathieu will play in an upcoming road game?
“Well I think he’s got a chance. You know again, I haven’t talked to our trainers this morning but I do know from talking to them last week Ty is a quick healer and he’s certainly working on the strength of that shoulder. And I wouldn’t bet against him, just like I haven’t in the past, and he’s a warrior as well and a guy that if he obviously has a chance to go, there’s no doubt he’ll play.”
Where is your optimism on signing Jones to a long-term contract?
“Well you know I would say this about him without getting into the dialogue of the negotiations, but when you make a trade for a player that you don’t know personally, your’e not sure how it’s going to go. Although you see what you see on tape, he has been a great teammate, he’s been fantastic in the locker room, he works extremely hard on and off the field, so just when I look at the person and the player, he’s been a great fit for us and hopefully we can get something ironed out long-term.”
Would you use the franchise tag on Jones if a deal can’t be done?
“Well that’s always an option, but that’s not the reason we made the trade. We made the trade with the mindset that the guy’s going to have success, which he has, and if he could potentially be a fixture here long-term. So hopefully again, we’ll get something ironed out, but you know I’ve been doing this long enough now where I understand how negotiations go so you can never tell.”
What’s the most surprising thing to you about the NFC right now?
“Probably the parity. You know again, when you look at a few teams that have good records, but then there’s a majority of us that are kind of hanging around .500, and the second half of the season is going to be interesting to see the way it plays out. But again, I like where we’re at, I like where we’re headed and especially the attitude of this football team and they worked extremely hard over this off week and I have no doubt that heading into the Minnesota week we’ll have a good week of practice as well. We came out relatively injury-free as well.”