Kyler Murray is ultra-competitive, and Steve Keim acknowledged "I love the fact he hates losing." But the Cardinals General Manager, during his appearance on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station also said that some of the other body language cameras have caught when the quarterback is upset during a game is something Murray -- like anyone in a position of leadership -- will need to work on.
"I think it would go for all of us, not just Kyler Murray, because I have to challenge myself when we lose that I am a leader in this organization and I can't show my frustration the way I want to sometimes," Keim said. "It's challenging. When your life and your career is attached to results, it's extremely difficult.
"That's not excuses for Kyler, myself, Kliff (Kingsbury), Michael (Bidwill), any of us in this organization. At the same time, that's a challenge all of us have every day. None of us are perfect, but we will continue to make sure we grow, as people, as employees, and we give kids out there the right role models to look at."
-- Keim talked about kicker Zane Gonzalez and his recent struggles with end-of-game kicks.
"My trust level is Zane has to get back out there and make that kick," Keim said. "Now, that being said, I'd like to see us get that third-and-2 (on the play before the New England miss), and not even put him in that predicament. Bottom line is he gets paid to kick the football and he has to make that kick. He's got to make kicks in critical situations. Zane has got a lot of talent. Sometimes this happens with kickers, it's not an excuse, but we have expectations of Zane and feel he will get back out there and bang it through on the next one."
-- When it comes to Murray running the football, Keim said it's about the Cardinals running it better, whether that is Murray or Kenyan Drake or Chase Edmonds. As far as the various stats out there saying the Cardinals struggled to win when Murray doesn't get at least 31 yards rushing, Keim noted that some teams are going to set up the defense to specifically stop that part of the Cards' offense and the Cardinals have to respond.
"I can tell you by watching the tape every week there are opportunities that as an offense we leave out there," Keim said. "It comes down to execution. I know we've talked about play-calling and all those different things, but if the play works and it's successful, the coach looks like a genius. But there are also times where there are are opportunities out there and we're not executing or executing at a high level."
-- Keim said he is still looking for "complementary football." For instance, against the Patriots, the defense played "pretty well" and the offense had its moments, but for the first time, the special teams had its issues and it was costly.
-- In terms of rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons Keim certainly sounds like a GM confident the Cards made the right pick.
"I see a big athletic freak that I saw at Clemson that can cover ground, close like a bullet, strikes with a ton of impact," Keim said. "I've been very, very happy with his play, especially the last two weeks."
-- The matchup this weekend between DeAndre Hopkins and Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey is "one of those deals, you put your feet up grab the popcorn and let's roll." But when it comes to Murray targeting Hopkins more, especially with the idea that sometimes, Murray just throws it up to Hopkins even if coverage is there and letting the All-Pro make a play, Keim preached patience.
"That is one thing for a tandem working together, you have to build that trust and relationship," Keim said. "Not having an offseason certainly hurt those guys. When you go back and watch Houston tape, there were a ton of plays where DeShawn (Watson) and Hop would connect and it was off-schedule, it was broken plays, and it was that trust those two built over time."
-- Keim gave an update on Larry Fitzgerald -- kind of -- as Fitzgerald remains on the COVID reserve list.
"Talking to him, it seems like he is doing well, so we will see where that is at today, but we are certainly hopeful," Keim said. Hopeful that Fitz can play this against the Rams? "That's sort of out of my pay range," Keim said. "Or maybe in my pay range, but out of my expertise."