Keim puts math, science to the test

Posted by Darren Urban on January 8, 2013 – 9:28 pm

When Steve Keim was 9 years old, he was already fascinated by watching games and figuring out which players were better — so much so that he told his mom he wanted to be an NFL general manager one day. She “sort of snickered,” Keim said Tuesday — the day he was named the Cardinals’ general manager.

“If you only worked on your math and science as hard as you did knowing these players, you may end up being successful,” his mother told him.

“I heeded my mother’s advice,” Keim said.

Now, I can’t speak to Keim’s ability in either, but the math would have come in handy all those years on the road as a scout (lot of expense reports to tally as well as numbers to crunch on potential draftees). As for science, well, there’s always a thought that finding and developing a quarterback is a science. Wait, that’s as much art as science, right? And some luck.

Anyway, many are asking what exactly has changed with Keim at the helm, since he was already here and already had a hand in decisions that were being made. Obviously there is a belief by Michael Bidwill that Keim can get the job done. And before, there were two people above Keim swaying choices — Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves. Like anyone, the freedom given once someone ascends to the top job can change — at least somewhat — how he makes a choice. I’m not saying it will change Keim, and I don’t know exactly how much power he had before. Bidwill made it clear Keim and the head coach will “have a collaborative relationship.” With a strong GM and a strong coach, “what they tend to do is they improve each other.”

— When it came to the draft, Keim was the one absorbing all the input from the scouts and coaches to give a player a final grade. But the decisions on who to pick was a group effort. Bidwill said that will stay the same. It doesn’t look like director of player personnel Jason Licht is going anywhere else. I’d expect him to remain Keim’s right-hand man, perhaps with a promotion at some point. I do expect the Cards to consider adding more bodies to the player personnel department too.

— It was interesting to hear that Keim believes in the Ron Wolf line of thinking in terms of gathering QBs. Once upon a time, Wolf, with the Packers, had Brett Favre and still collected Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck, Aaron Brooks and Ty Detmer. All were used as backups and/or trade bait. The Cards will take one solid prospect right now, but maybe they can get there, QB-wise.

— I do expect, with a new GM and new O-line coach — no matter who it is — to have a new approach to building that group, although Keim did say he thought some pieces were in place.


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34 Responses to “Keim puts math, science to the test”

  1. By Jerrytown on Jan 8, 2013 | Reply

    I think this is a great hire. Props to Michael Bidwill for making the right choice here….now lets see what they do about the head coach. It’s nice to have a fresh start with the leadership of the team, I think we needed to try a different approach. Keim is a smart football guy who knows talent, I’m excited to see how he shapes the team. Go Cards!

  2. By Blake Allen Murphy on Jan 8, 2013 | Reply

    It’s a Quarterback league. If Keim can find a franchise QB for the Cards and get other teams to pay for our backups: he’s more than done a good job.

    Great hire for Arizona, great job by Bidwill, can’t wait to see what’ll happen next!

  3. By tyman on Jan 8, 2013 | Reply

    Good Hire

  4. By Cactus jeff on Jan 8, 2013 | Reply

    Bickley and MJ were not impressed with the hiring of Keim. First impression was not strong either, he sure doesn’t sound like Ron Wolf. Ugh

  5. By Eazy E on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Keim or Brown I both like so it didn’t really matter to me which one we got but it does matter to me about the head coaching position. On the guys we interviewed, Horton would be #1 followed by McCoy at #2 Gruden #3 and Haley #4. I would also like to see Lovie get a look if he would keep the 3-4.

  6. By djjackson81 on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    HC hire is next hope it’s McCoy or Horton
    Then it’s QB FA hopefully Alex Smith.
    Draft will be great with Keims direction and knowledge

  7. By Brad on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    If Keim had anything to do with drafting Lindley then we’re in trouble…

  8. By D on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Good for Keim, did anyone ask him if he would consider changing their draft thinking to Need over Best player available?
    Pieces in place for the Oline should be Sendlein, Massie, Brown and a backup in Potter. Now they need to upgrade the Left tackle spot and upgrade both both G spots. Since changing 3 spots on a Oline in one offseason is hard to do, I see the Left Tackle and Right G the spots to be upgraded.

    If they can’t get Juan Castillo at the Oline coaching duties, I would also look at Mike Tice availablity once that mess in Chicago is worked out. If Horton gets the HC job, then I would see more emphasis on the Oline and Running game….something Whiz talked about 6 yrs ago but never addressed it or did by missing on taking Beanie way too early in the draft and get bite by the injuries on Williams.

  9. By Rich on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Its the right thing to do. Especially since there is no head coaching candidate they are considering who will demand autonomy.

  10. By canadian redbird on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Personnel hiring in the past vs. moving forward

    Darren, do you have an idea of which persons in the organization were responsible for the drafting of players/ free agents/ trades in the past and if there was one person that had the final say? The reason for my question is that Bidwill in his presser stated when asked how things would change with Kiem steering the ship, said that it would now be a Cardinal decision or a collective approach. What is your take on this comment and do you feel that Bidwill is too involved in the player personnel moves of this organization?

    I like the Kiem hire, I also think that because Horton hasn’t been hired already that the Cards have their sights set on an assistant presently involved in the playoffs.

  11. By Darren Urban on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Canadian —

    RE: “Cardinal decision”

    That’s the way it has been working already — HC, GM, scouts get into meetings and they has out grades for the draft. That won’t change. Those swaying the conversation — GM, HC — are changing. As for Michael Bidwill being too involved, other than being the guy that sets the organization’s overall budget, he isn’t involved in personnel choices. Like any boss, he is kept in the loop, but he isn’t saying “Get this guy” or “I don’t want this guy.”

  12. By Steve on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Keim may be a great hire, I don’t know.

    But please someone say something to him about chewing gum with his mouth open in front of cameras. It looks like white trash.

  13. By Darren Urban on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Gum

    Don’t know why I am even responding to this, but he didn’t have gum in his mouth. What are you talking about?

  14. By truths4all on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Brad –

    RE: “Lindley”

    Lindley could still turn out to be the first NFL QB with a college completion average of 55% who improves to a NFL completion average of over 60%.

    Just saying it could still happen, but really its not likely after what he has delivered so far in real games.

  15. By joe67 on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Now, Keim gets Horton, Horton gets Norv Turner, Turner helps to get Phillip Rivers.
    New Scenery for him, close to where he is now, and working with Turner as OC.
    Might take a player like a Dan Carter and a 2nd round pik, but you have to give to get. Chargers need to make some changes, and are.
    Just a thought.
    Any other thoughts on that possibility.

  16. By Dynosoar on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    From the main page article Steve Keim Gets GM (or something like that).

    Keim interviewed for the Rams’ GM job last year … But he said loyalty and trust were things his parents instilled in him, and while he learned a lot doing interviews elsewhere, he learned as much flying back to Arizona.

    “I realized this is my home and I am a Cardinal at heart,” Keim said.

    this is all I need to know to be behind Steve 100%. I have two MLB teams I like , the Reds 1st and the A’s 2nd. Several years ago I thought “I ought to have a second NFL team from the AFC like in baseball.” (No I won’t say who I chose.) i even bought a jersey after choosing my second team.

    I couldn’t do it. I tried. My loyalty is with the Cardinals and there just isn’t another team. My children who all chose different teams will even pick up on my passion and root for the Cardinals, even when their team is playing our team. Well, my son is beginning to root for his Packers even when they play us, but for several years he wouldn’t. Good for him to find his own loyalties.

    I wish there was a coach candidate out there who grew up a Cardinals fan. That would be awsome!

    Lovie – uhh no. Haley – no.

    Let’s not bring in a winning season coach, let’s get someone that will do for us what’s been done in San Francisco and for our defense, take us to the top.

    Gruden (Jay) – maybe, McCoy – a little more than maybe

    Horton – Yes!

    U. Meyer – Yes
    C. Kelly – Yes
    B. Kelly – Yes
    Saban – being a Tennessee fan I say NO!, but if he left the Tide he’d be a Cardinals coach so I could support him and I’d say Yes! (and let’s bring E. Lacy with him.)

  17. By Dynosoar on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply


    Rivers in Cardinals red, I can imagine that and I like it.

  18. By clssylssy on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    What happened to all the big talk about “change”? Our new GM is a leftover man who was a part of our failure this past season, and “yes man” to the owner; no big surprise about this hire. What happened to the guy from the Redskins, a team who actually had a successful draft and has a proven track record for evaluating and signing talent? I have to assume that an inhouse hire was cheaper than going outside to get someone with a fresh perspective. From all the talk about the need to restructure contracts, it would appear that what we will be able to afford in the FA will be more of the same ole thing we’ve had in the past. Only players on their way out will be interested in coming to Arizona and any hope for a better offense is wishful thinking. Throughout this entire process I haven’t heard anything about goals, measureable objectives, or time frames. philosophies or the kinds of things that large and successful organizations consider when searching for candidates for top positions…this apparent lack of an analytical approach to fixing what has been broken is most troubling and gives me cause for doubt.

  19. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Great choice! Steve has certainly “put in his time” with the Cards and is very desrving of the opportunity. Nobody would know the organizations strengths and weaknesses better than him.

    As far as those saying, “just more of the same,” ask yourself this question. If your boss was fired today, and you were promoted to their position tomorrow, wouldn’t you have a laundry list of things you like to change/tweak once you had the power to do so?

    Again, Steve’s worked long-and-hard within this organization for this opportunity. He deserves a shot. His philosophy that he shares with Ron Wolf about QBs certainly wasn’t practiced by Graves/Whiz, so there’s on big change right there that’s coming.

    And if Steve doesn’t get things back on track in the next few years, he’ll be shown the door, and I’m guessing he’s going to give his all to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    Congrats Steve!

  20. By syncro9z on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, conflicting reports that Haley is interviewing today? confim???

  21. By Darren Urban on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    syncro —

    RE: Haley

    Haven’t been able to confirm, although more and more reports are coming out saying it is happening.

  22. By Louisville Card on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply


    So when has the redskins been known for great talent evaluation and FA pickups. They drafted RG3 this year and Morris which are great picks. Other than that they’ve consistently swung and missed on every FA they’ve picked up. They made the playoffs this year but they have been a perpetual bottom dweller in the NFC east.

  23. By MIKE G on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well! Thought the Cards did a nice job promoting Keim. He has been with the organization and knows the team. Glad they did not hire an outsider. Also happy that the GM is in place before the coach. Could be a good omen for Horton in that the Cards are promoting within. I hope the Card’s consider an interview with the SF offensive coordinator. Hey Darren– If no outside coach wow’s Mike Bidwill during the interview process –do you think Horton has a real good chance to become coach????

  24. By Darren Urban on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Horton

    As I have said many times, I believe he is in the mix.

  25. By Bill L on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    “Thought some pieces were in place”………..some………some……..SOME? Well, seeing as it is impossible to replace 7 O-line in one year, maybe that is true. But, NO pieces are in place Long Term. 2, TWO….OTs are needed this draft at 1 and 2……Brown is not salvageable even at RT……speed rushers eat him alive, and he isn’t getting quicker or they slower. Maybe Sendelein will be the last to be replaced……but if the Cards want to build a competive team the draft s/b #1-LT, #2-RT, #3-G/C………..SOME?!!!!!!!!!!

  26. By E.Cardinal in Canada on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    I think it’s a great hire,he obviously didn’t have last say on any draft picks but input on all of them..there have a ton of talent …if you put an elite QB on this team as is, you would be looking at a playoff team for lets add Horton the innovator as head coach, he’ll pick the right OC,Rob Ryan as DC, move up if possible to add a tackle like Joeckel and give Kolb another chance to see if he has it..

  27. By mike hadzinski on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    All I Want to know is if he wanted Floyd over Decastro ????? Bottom line

    Darren this is IMO Do you think Johnny Manziel Reminds you of THE SNAKE???

  28. By Darren Urban on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Mike Hadzinski —

    RE: Manziel/Plummer

    I could definitely see that. Same body type. Same kind of passer. Better runner than Jake.

  29. By sarah on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    Honestly I think Wolf would have made a better GM, guy knows his football and the Cards inside out.

  30. By MIKE HADZINSKI C.M. PUNK on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    it’s that joe montanta style lol

  31. By MIKE HADZINSKI C.M. PUNK on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply


    I just hope STEVE KEIM stock piles picks away for this kid(johnny manziel) and IMO we have the guy to get us two #1picks to do it? just sayin no more on that until next year……

  32. By clssylssy on Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

    @LouievilleCard…ROFL! You do know that’s exactly how many view the Cards but, we managed to still “shock the world” and make it all the way to the big dance! It’s like that in the NFL, “any given Sunday” etc. However, there are teams that go about building a dynasty and there are those that can’t stay a course longer than two or three years with a coach before bailing at the first sign of adversity.. The Redskins since bringing Shanahan and Bruce Allen aboard struck paydirt in getting not just one but two “football guys” with expertise at managing the cap and acquiring some solid talent even after they were penalized $30M by the league (still under appeal), i.e. they were able to build a playoff team on less money than the Cards have spent in the last few years. Both Shanahan and Allen had a vision and went about building their vision mostly through the draft, trading, wheeling and dealing to get higher and extra draft picks suppplemented by FAs, acquiring such talent as::RGIII,Cousins,LaBrius,Crawford, Kerrigan,Bernstein,Compton, Morris, Claiborne etc. What most fans don’t seem to understand (or owners for that matter) is that rebuilding takes time to get it right and every time you change a coordinators or coaches with a different scheme you will have a certain number of players who can’t get it and will have to be replaced. Continually having do-overs just keeps the wheels spinning without advancement. The Cards made a change and enjoyed the most successful years in franchise history only to throw it away because of a few years of bumpy road. Now we are once again in “do-over” mode without focus, a plan or even the proverbial map!

  33. By cardsalltheway on Jan 10, 2013 | Reply

    Arizona: The only NFL team with a domed cranium for a GM, are we the only team that has one? If not, how about a tanned skinhead? If so, I hope he stays in the background. One word…Toupee! Nonetheless, anything is better than the Ken W./Graves duo. What NFL team would actually hire that dynamic duo responsible for the worst offensive NFL team of 2012? Will it be luck or cronyism that saves their faces in 2013?

    “Honestly I think Wolf would have made a better GM, guy knows his football and the Cards inside out.”

    Ha Ha Ha!!! The problem with your that is that Wolf wouldn’t have fired Ken W. so nothing would’ve changed on Cardinals land. Ken W. would’ve continued to tell our new GM(Wolf) what to do, Wolf would’ve still brown-nosed Ken W. I would think Wolf is a bit worried about who’ll be hired for the dynamics of thy show for it could change if/when Wolf isn’t able to find it within himself to respect or brown-nose a younger head coach – it could get more difficult to pretend or act for She Wolf?

  34. By clssylssy on Jan 10, 2013 | Reply

    @cardsalltheway…what makes you think that Keim is a change from Graves? He is an inhouse hire and part of the same cast of characters responsible for the 2012 season. FYI the shaved head/WWF looks is in and a “rug” would only be the source of jokes by media personnel who already have enough Cards material.
    We actually had a very impressive beginning, the pieces were beginning to come together…now, we get to “retool”? I’m not even going to go there! LOL!

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