The Cardinals got their general manager.
They stayed in-house, promoting Steve Keim to the position from his former position of Vice President of Player Personnel, a position Keim held since 2012.
“We’re very excited about it,” team president Michael Bidwill said. “Steve has earned this position, he’s handled every task we’ve given him with tremendous professionalism, with a degree of enthusiasm and passion and commitment to the Cardinals.”
It’s been a long road to general manager for Keim. He’s been with the organization for the past 14 years. He joined the team as a college scout in 1999 and moved his way up from there.
Keim moved from scout to Director of College Scouting in 2006. From there he was promoted to Director of Player Personnel in 2008, then the VP/Player Personnel position.
Keim was up for the Jaguars general manager position along with Falcons Director of Player Personnel Dave Caldwell. Ultimately though, Keim says his heart is with the Cardinals.
“Me and my wife talked, my family talked [and] this is where we wanted to be all along, I made that clear to Michael Bidwill from the start,” Keim said.
Keim said his dreams of being a general manager in the NFL started at an early age: nine years old to be exact. He told his mother that he wanted to be a GM, and she laughed.
Now here he is, 31 years later and general manager of the Arizona Cardinals.
Keim said he wants to bring a higher level of confidence to the organization, and also to instill a “winning mentality.”
“We want to make sure that this community, this organization [buys] in and we make sure that this team is as competitive as we can be,” Keim said.
Even though the team hasn’t hired a head coach, Bidwill is already envisioning how Keim and the head coach will co-exist.
Bidwill used the leagues’ successful franchises as an example, noting the strong relationships between the head coaches and general managers on those clubs.
“What they tend to do is they improve each other and they make the team better,” Bidwill said. “They come to team decisions, and that’s the view I have.”
“We’re going to have that here,” Bidwill said. “We’ll make Cardinal decisions, and we’ll be a better team for it.”
Bidwill says Keim’s role as general manager won’t be like Graves was when he had the position, because they’re two totally different people with different styles and visions for the organization.
“Steve’s approach is going to be his own unique approach,” Bidwill said.
Keim knows the team has talent. He’s directly responsible for bringing in guys like Patrick Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett and Adrian Wilson.
Keim says the Cardinals aren’t a “re-build,” they’re more of a “re-tool.”
“We have a ton of core talent in place,” Keim said. “I think we do need to make some changes in some different areas.”
Most of those areas would be on the offensive side of the ball. When you’re dead last in the league in total offense, things have to be fixed and fixed in a hurry.
Keim was asked about the quarterback position – a major point of contention with this team – and what can be done to strengthen it.
“That is the million dollar question,” Keim said. “The consistency and the durability are questions, so that is something we are going to address with the new head coach and that is something that is obviously on the top of our list.”
Keim also talked about the offensive line and the running game, two more parts of the team that weren’t all there this season.
“One thing about the offensive line, I think we have some pieces in place,” Keim said. “The level of physicality, the ability to run the ball consistently, that is a huge issue, and that needs to be fixed.”
Keim is confident that any and all team issues will be corrected as the team looks toward the 2013-2014 season.