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Steve Keim: CB Marco Wilson Has Looked 'Fantastic'

GM says he hasn't felt as good about a team before a season since 2015

The cornerback room has some questions to answer in games, but Cardinals GM Steve Keim had the strongest words about rookie Marco Wilson so far when he talked about his Friday afternoon.

"He has looked fantastic in camp, in preseason games, practicing every day he's lining up against Hop, And A.J. and Rondale and Kirk, four of, to me, the stronger receivers in the National Football League, so he gets challenged every day and has answered every test so far," Keim said during the first of his weekly appearances on the "Burns and Gambo" show on Arizona Sports, 98.7.

Keim didn't say much new about the Malcolm Butler situation, other than to say he was surprised by Butler's decision to retire. He also said there was a chance one of the practice squad cornerbacks -- Rasul Douglas or Antonio Hamilton -- to be a practice squad promotion this weekend.

-- Keim, not surprisingly, holds optimism about reaching the playoffs. "I feel like we have a chance to be a really good football team, but we have to execute," Keim said, adding "this is probably as good as I've felt about a team probably since 2015."

-- Keim was asked how big a year it is for Kliff Kingsbury, and he noted it wasn't just for Kingsbury but for the organization as a whole. "Expectations are high, not only locally but also nationally and certainly within our building," Keim said.

-- More directly, Keim was asked what improvements Kingsbury needs to make to come back in 2022. "I don't look at it that way," Keim said. "I look at the positives. The changes we have made with the players in that locker room. Self-policing the locker room with the accountability stuff. J.J. Watt, A.J. Green. Rodney Hudson. Matt Prater. Guys who have been there and done it. Those young guys on the roster, the Zaven Collinses, the Rondale Moores, those guys get to a point where they are seasoned pros by midseason not only because they have been in the NFL for a few months but they have been around true pros. That to me is what is exciting to see, and then the ascension of Kyler Murray and all he has done."

-- Keim reiterated that linebacker Jordan Hicks would have a "strong role" and that the flexibility of Isaiah Simmons allows all three of those linebackers -- including Collins -- to play together. The Cards are a long way from Hicks' trade request in the offseason.

"We were honest with (Hicks) through the process, and it was because we had such respect for him as a person," Keim said. "What he brought to the table in our locker room ... Jordan Hicks is a true pro. He's handled everything professionally, and he's also been a great mentor to those two young linebackers."

GM Steve Keim talks with WR Christian Kirk before a preseason game in 2021