Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim: Play with passion or ‘you’re not going to be on this roster’
If you’ve got any connection to the Arizona Cardinals, you’ve probably asked yourself one question over and over again during the 2016 season: What the heck has gone wrong with this team?
After winning 34 games, making two playoff appearances and advancing to last season’s NFC Championship Game in the span of three years, the Cardinals have taken a huge backward step in 2016.
The latest setback came Sunday in Miami, where Arizona bungled their way to a 26-23 loss in the rain in a game they absolutely had to have to keep any hope of a third straight postseason appearance alive.
General manager Steve Keim spends more time on the above question than most, and he’s the man tasked with addressing it moving forward.
“I really do feel our core talent on offense and defense is in place,” Keim told Doug and Wolf during his weekly radio visit on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday morning. “There’s some guys who I still have high expectations for and look forward to moving on with.
“But at the end of the day, the one thing the coach and I will sit down and do, and I can guarantee you this: After the season — and these last three games are critical, for a lot of reasons — number one, I want to identify who loves it. Which guys are passionate about the game and who are our top competitors.”
Passion (or lack thereof) is hard to identify at times and it certainly wanes among players during a season that was expected to end in another push toward the Super Bowl, but instead will have the Cardinals at home in January watching 12 other teams compete for the Lombardi Trophy.
Despite that challenge, Keim had stern words for many on the Cardinals roster.
“If you’re not going to compete and you don’t play with passion, you’re not going to be on this roster in 2017,” he said.
Keim says he’ll use player exit interviews as a tool in determining the future of the Cardinals’ roster.
“That’s always helpful for me. The more communication I have with guys at the end of the year can help me put my finger on where some of the issues were,” he said. “I’m not down in the locker room all the time. There’s no doubt, my goal is to put 53 guys in that locker room who all care and are passionate about the game.
“So if there are times that I find out that certain guys don’t put in the time to prepare and film study and all of those things, we will certainly move on quickly. It’s hard enough to win in this game, let alone with guys that don’t care.”
The Cardinals will wrap up the home portion of their schedule Sunday when they host the New Orleans Saints at University of Phoenix Stadium.