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First Combine For New Combination

Posted Feb 20, 2013

New GM Keim, new coach Arians sort out potential draftees, free-agent plan in Indianapolis

The annual Scouting combine runs this week in Indianapolis as teams prepare for offseason roster moves.

INDIANAPOLIS – There are potential draftees to interview and workouts to watch, but Steve Keim has other plans at this week’s Scouting combine as well.

The new Cardinals general manager has specific meetings with vice president of player personnel Jason Licht and new director of football administration Mike Disner on the schedule. Potential free-agent targets are one of the topics, as well as the fit of some of the college players.

But when Keim took over in January, one of his main goals was for the trio to get into more forecasting of the immediate future, and that also is on the Indy docket.

“I wanted to take a deeper look at the free agency market and the depth at each position as opposed to the draft at each position and have a little more calculated plan as far as how we approach those,” Keim said.

Those plans, especially on the free agent end, still must be weighed against the financial impact – Disner’s main role is working with the salary cap – but with free agency approaching March 12, the first part of 2013 roster makeup is coming soon.

The first wave of Cardinals’ personnel left for the combine Monday, with coaches streaming into Indianapolis through Friday. It will be Keim’s first combine as a general manager and Bruce Arians’ first as a head coach, as the pair continue work to repair a team that went 5-11 in 2012 and still is searching for answers at quarterback.

The group went through free-agent meetings and evaluation of the current roster in the days leading up to the Scouting combine.

“I can’t imagine (the relationship) being any better,” Arians said. “Working with the scouts and Jason and Steve have been outstanding. Seeing the scouts and coaches mix right away, that was one of the things that drew me to Arizona. I felt that relationship with Steve and Jason and (president) Michael (Bidwill) that we would do it together and the successful ones do it that way.”

As for the trip itself, Keim doesn’t see it any different than any of the previous 14 he had attended as a member of the Cardinals’ staff. There is more on his plate, he acknowledged, but he doesn’t see that as a detriment.

“Being in this position, I actually feel it is more of a challenge that you want to get to know every player as much as you can,” Keim said.

Arians and Keim are each scheduled to meet with the media in Indianapolis Thursday. The nighttime interviews – 15 minutes each – between players and teams and the medical evaluations of those potential draftees are the most important information to come out of the few days in Indy. The game video of these players, broken down and evaluated many different ways, creates the main skeleton of the draft grade.

That too will be a part of the meshing of Keim and Arians as this new era gains traction, something Keim is already pleased with.

“When you have a common goal in mind and put those egos aside, as long as you have common goals in mind things will go smoothly,” Keim said. “It doesn’t mean you won’t have disagreements. Already in the (free agent) meetings there have been some disagreements. At the same time, we made a pact through the interview process, the hiring process that personnel decisions, once we will put a guy on the board, it was a Cardinal grade. That’s one mindset, one common goal and we will stick with that Cardinal grade.”


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