Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim praises tackles, concerned about interior offensive line

Nov 10, 2014, 4:41 PM | Updated: 4:41 pm
LISTEN: Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals General Manager

There are many reasons that the Arizona Cardinals own an 8-1 record, the best mark in the NFL.

Many will cite their defense, which despite numerous personnel losses, continues to thrive. Others will talk about turnover margin. The Cardinals are tied with the New England Patriots for the best ratio in the league at plus-12.

What you won’t hear a lot of talk about is the offensive line, particularly the tackles. Jared Veldheer and Bobby Massie have played very well this season, and have drawn praise from general manager Steve Keim.

“One of the primary reasons that we are 8-1 is because of the play of our offensive tackles,” Keim told Doug and Wolf Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I thought Jared Veldheer did an excellent job in holding Robert Quinn to one sack — and that sack really wasn’t his fault.

“I thought Bobby did a nice job.”

But for as good as the tackles played, Keim did express concern over the three interior offensive line positions.

“Inside with the three interior guys, they were up and down,” Keim said. “At times, those athletes got the best of us and again, early in the game, I was concerned with our intensity level.

“I think that’s got to pick up, particularly with the stretch of defensive players we’re going to face down the road.”

Keim’s concern about the interior linemen has led some to speculate that Jonathan Cooper, the Cardinals’ first-round pick in 2013, could be inserted into the lineup to replace left guard Ted Larsen, who has started all nine games this year.

Head coach Bruce Arians tersely shot down that thinking following Sunday’s game.

“Any time you’re 8-1, there is a certain chemistry,” Keim said. “A lot of times, coaches don’t want to mess with chemistry, which I certainly can’t argue with.

“The other thing is, I’m the general manager. It’s my responsibility to add the players to the roster and help pick the players. But I’m always going to defer to the coaches when it comes to playing the players. It’s not my place to step in and tell Bruce Arians or Harold Goodwin who to play from a personnel standpoint. That’s a decision those two have to make, and if they think it’s in our best interest to play the two guards we currently have out there right now, that’s what I’m going to go with.”

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