What Does Steve Keim's Hiring Mean for the Arizona Cardinals?
It all started at a young age for newly appointed general manager Steve Keim. According to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, at the age of nine Keim was fascinated by watching football as he would meticulously try to figure out who the better players were on game day.
This field of work fascinated him so much that he told his mother that he would one day be a general manager in the NFL. Keim is living proof that dreams do in fact come true as he was formally announced as the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals yesterday.
Plenty of patience and perseverance helped the former graduate of North Carolina State. Before coming into his new position, he had spent 14 years in the Cardinals organization. He joined the team as a scout in 1999 and was promoted to the director of college scouting in 2006.
Two short years later in 2008, Keim was promoted again to player personnel director. He now had a hand in certain choices being made throughout the organization, but it was ultimately Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt who had final say over the roster.
Now, it appears that both him and the newly-appointed head coach will work together in a collaborative relationship to try and get the Cardinals back into strong contention. Strong contention will start first and foremost with the addressing of two major positions on the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line and the quarterback.
If we want an idea of what Keim might bring as the Cardinals new general manager, look no further than what he told the media yesterday at his introductory news conference. He believes in the Ron Wolf school of collecting quarterbacks.
You can never have too many good ones. At one time I believe the Packers had Brett Favre and collected backups like Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck, Aaron Brooks and Ty Detmer. Having too much talent at the quarterback position is a wish Arizona has had since Kurt Warner retired.
When you have an abundance of talent in one specific area, it ultimately gives an organization options and flexibility. Think about it, a team can garner extra draft picks by shipping their in demand backups to other teams.
Not to mention injuries play such a huge role in today's NFL. The last thing any coach wants is a significant drop-off from the level of play in his starter to his backup. A prime example of this notion would be the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers just four days ago.
The drop-off in talent from Christian Ponder to Joe Webb was monumental. Expect Arizona to use one high draft choice on a prospect this year with the hopes of him developing into a future starter. But by the sounds of it, Keim will be rigorously combing for quarterback talent annually.
In terms of the offensive line, it would be wise to expect a totally different approach to building that unit. Rod Graves and Ken Whiesenhunt's approach proved to be an obvious failure in recent years, so it will be interesting to see how that changes going forward.
However, Keim did tell Urban that some pieces were currently in place. I figure a lot will have to do with the new coaching staff, more specifically, the new offensive line coach. Without question, his philosophy will be substantially different considering team president Michael Bidwill fired everyone on the offensive coaching staff besides Freddie Kitchens.
Outside of the few references he made yesterday, it's hard to tell what positions Kleim will address immediately aside from the offensive line and quarterback positions.
The coaching staff search may be a little more predictable given the fact more information is out there on the subject. As far as we know, current defensive coordinator Ray Horton is a strong candidate as he has had multiple "strong" interviews.
Arizona did request to interview Todd Haley of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he kindly declined:
#Cardinals requested interview with Todd Haley. Source close to Haley: "He loves Steelers job. He's very happy. No interview with Cards."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 9, 2013
A bummer for Arizona because the Bidwill family does indeed think very highly of Haley. It's hard to say if he would have been a true front-runner with the way things ended in Kansas City, but I think that situation says more about former general manager Scott Pioli than it does Haley.
Another known target is Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Gruden is scheduled to meet with the Cardinals on Thursday after he meets with the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday.
The last known candidate is Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who supposedly interviewed for the job this past weekend. McCoy has Mr. Bidwill interested because of the way he has handled quarterback adversity in Denver. In three consecutive seasons he has had three different quarterbacks to work with.
Given his ability to fight through adversity, maybe he could bring some stability and answers to Arizona's quarterback conundrum.
In my opinion, I still think Horton gets the job. He has reportedly had two strong interviews and the only questions that loom are in regards to his offensive staff. We haven't heard of any potential coordinator candidates, but we may find out soon enough.
One would expect the coaching staff to be in place before the season ends, unless of course McCoy is offered the job.
The one thing we do know is that the axis of power has shifted in the desert and further change is coming. The jury is still out on whether that change will ultimately be good or bad for the bottom dwellars of the NFC West.
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