Arizona Cardinals: It’s time to trust Steve Keim
Steve Keim has a plan for the Arizona Cardinals. Do you trust him?
Trust is easy when things are going well.
The first three seasons of the Steve Keim/Bruce Arians era were a revelation. Following a 5-11 season that ended the Rod Graves/Ken Whisenhunt era, Keim and Arians led the charge of what appeared to be a new dawn of Cardinals football.
A 10-6 season in 2013 was followed by an 11-5 season and a playoff berth in 2014. Though injuries derailed the Cardinals’ 2014 postseason, the team came back strong in 2015, finishing with a 13-3 record and a trip to the NFC Championship game.
This, however, is where the plot thickens.
After a humiliating 15-49 dismantling in the 2015 NFC Championship game, there was an air of uncertainty around the Cardinals. Sure, many prognosticators had them pegged as contenders in 2016, but something about that playoff loss conjured whispers and old demons.
Are these just the same old Cardinals?
Is Carson Palmer lacking the “clutch gene” in the playoffs, like his postseason record suggests?
Unfortunately, the 2016 season did nothing to exorcise these malevolent spirits of the past. Despite a truly spectacular breakout season by star running back David Johnson, and despite finally having a legitimate pass rush, the Cardinals sputtered to a record of 7-8-1.
And then there was free agency.
The Cardinals had benefited from a number of players who had outperformed their contracts, and it was time to pay the Piper. Unfortunately, the coffers were nearly empty. The Cardinals brass had to ration its limited cap space, and watch a slew of defensive starters sign elsewhere.
Calais Campbell, Tony Jefferson, Kevin Minter, D.J. Swearinger, and Marcus Cooper were some of the more notable players to depart. While the signings of Antoine Bethea and Karlos Dansby helped to slow the bleeding, the attrition was disheartening.