Kyler Murray didn't play poorly against the Lions last week, but he didn't play well, his three interceptions (and nearly a fourth) derailing a chance for the Cardinals to start 3-0. But General Manager Steve Keim has no concern for his quarterback, because of the situation -- Murray is going into only his 20th NFL start this weekend, he started just one full season in college, and prior to that he split his attention between football and baseball.
Murray is still learning.
"He looks like a young guy who is still trying to improve," Keim said Friday during an appearance on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station. Because of Murray's competitiveness, Keim said, "I would expect him to bounce back in a big way."
Among the other topics Keim discussed:
-- On the availability of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is dealing with an ankle issue, Keim sounded optimistic. "Hop knows his body better than anybody," he said. "When you look at his history, the fact of the matter is he just doesn't miss football games. If I was betting on Hop, I'd bet he'd go, but only he knows his body."
-- Last week's loss hasn't sit well with him, because of all the things the Cardinals didn't do very well. "The fact we still had a chance to win the game at the end was surprising because the way we played," Keim said.
"You have to be critical in this business," Keim added. "Find out where you can improve. Really disappointed with the way we played overall."
-- Keim acknowledged there have been times when he has been concerned about the way the defense has played "streaky, or we lack finish," like at the end of the Detroit game. But "Vance (Joseph) has done a good job of improving this defense. We still have a ways to go."
-- Keim said he was "bullish" that linebacker Chandler Jones will get his sack numbers up (Jones has one sack so far.) But with the attention Jones is drawing from opposing blocking schemes, that is an area where teammates have to step up, he said.
-- Adding veteran safety T.J. Ward was about thinking long-term this season. Because of testing protocols, the timeline is extended when bringing players in. "Sometimes you make roster moves that are proactive rather than reactive," Keim said, adding "you want to stay ahead of the curve."
-- Keim said he has no concerns about the development of Isaiah Simmons, saying opposing offenses will dictate Simmons' role week to week right now and emphasizing again "I think he has a bright future."
-- The GM said it was "nice" to see the production and improvement from second-year wide receiver Andy Isabella.
"The first year, like we said before, he was sort of drinking water through a fire hydrant," Keim said. "Coming into the season, watching him in training camp, even though he didn't have a lot of touches early on, just seeing him you felt like the light came on and he was heading in the right direction."
-- The Cardinals have done a good job as an organization with the COVID protocols in place, Keim said, and anything the league asks for the Cardinals will do. (The Titans had two more players test positive Thursday.) As for the new agreement between the players and league that players cannot leave the city during the bye week in order to test and stay safe, "I think it's worth the sacrifice."