With injuries and COVID, the Cardinals "put (DC) Vance (Joseph) in a tough position" against the Dolphins last week, GM Steve Keim said, and that's why this week the Cards and their defense will be in a much better place against the Bills.
Down Robert Alford (hurt in training camp) and Dre Kirkpatrick and Byron Murphy, the Cards were using "guys that are essentially practice-squad players" in coverage, Keim said during his segment on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station. But for the Bills, Keim said Murphy has returned, Kirkpatrick should play and added that newcomer Johnathan Joseph will be active and contribute as well.
"The good thing about Johnathan Joseph, he's not just a perimeter corner," Keim said. "He can play the nickel, can play inside and outside, he has a ton of versatility. He really plays well in the zone. He's a guy who brings a lot of flexibility for us. He also is a good tackler in space."
-- Keim said he never did hear the postgame press conference of Kyler Murray after the Dolphins loss despite it getting so much attention for its brief words, but the GM also said he had not problem with that mindset.
"This guy despises losing," Keim said. "The fact he takes it so personal is something I actually love."
-- Keim was also played an audio clip of former NFL linebacker Bart Scott saying Murray came across as selfish and never holding himself accountable after losses (which, again in a quick aside, I have listened to every one of Murray's pressers and he blames himself first almost every time, so that's just not true.)
Keim said he spends a ton of time around Murray in both the facility and the practice field and "I have absolutely zero concerns with his leadership."
-- Asked about some of the playcalling decisions coach Kliff Kingsbury made in the Dolphins game, Keim backed his coach. "I'm never in position where I feel like I need to question coach Kingsbury," Keim said. "He was hired for a reason. He is a brilliant football mind in my opinion and I have a lot of faith in his playcalling. I have full confidence in him.
"If the ball is in two people's hands at the end of the game, I'm always going to bet on Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury."
-- Keim backed kicker Zane Gonzalez. "Kickers can be streaky," Keim said, saying Gonzalez still has potential to improve. "He's made big kicks for us as well," Keim added. "I expect him to bounce back this week."
-- Even though he didn't fill the stat sheet, Keim continues to be high on the play of outside linebacker Haason Reddick, and he raved about the debut for Markus Golden in Golden's return to Arizona, saying the veteran made his presence felt. "He was exactly what we anticipated with that trade," Keim said.
-- For those asking about cornerback Prince Amukamara's status, he remains on the practice squad and "there is really no timetable for him yet," Keim said. (A quick aside -- the signing of Joseph rather than promoting Amukamara probably says a lot about the depth chart right now.)
-- The Dolphins loss was disappointing and it proved again to Keim "our own worst enemy sometimes is us." But he is still happy with a 5-3 record at the season's midpoint. He added that he wants to see the Cards clean up errors, cut out penalties and "grow from our mistakes" and if they do that, they have a chance to get to the postseason and perhaps make a run.
-- Keim said the Cardinals send in plays to the league every week questioning how they were called on the field, and this week, they did send in the plays about which both Patrick Peterson (a PI flag) and Budda Baker (lowering the helmet) were upset. Keim called it a good checks and balances system. He did not say how the league responded.
-- Isaiah Simmons could help this week against a Bills team that provides matchup problems. But he likes the fact Simmons played more snaps last week and praised Simmons for his effort, even on specials teams. "He'll just get better and better."