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Steve Keim: Offense Has Chance To Be "Scary" Good, And Johnson Optimism

Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim, not surprisingly, was happy his team could get its first win last week. "More than anything you hope that it is infectious in your locker room," he said during an appearance on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station. It could certainly become infectious if the offense keeps trending in the way that it is.

After the Cardinals had more than 500 yards of offense in Cincinnati, Keim noted the Cards were fourth in the NFL in yards per carry rushing the ball, and seventh-best in the NFL in allowing quarterback hurries -- a pair of numbers that not only bode well for the offense in general but for the offensive line in particular. The team's 30 percent conversion rate for touchdowns in the red zone remains poor (Keim noted the league average is around 55 percent) and said that red-zone work is the key to the Cardinals going forward.

"If we clean up the red zone, it's going to be pretty scary in my opinion," Keim said.

-- On the subject of running back David Johnson and his chances to play Sunday while dealing with back issues, Keim said he talked to Johnson Thursday. "I'm encouraged by his rehab this week," Keim said. "I think he feels pretty good. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I certainly am encouraged."

-- Deciding to release cornerback Chris Jones in favor of waiver claim cornerback Trevor Williams -- who has battled injuries the last two seasons -- was simple. "My philosophy hasn't changed. How can we potentially get better? This was an opportunity to claim a player who has started a number of games in the NFL. We wanted to give him an opportunity. Corners are hard to find."

Keim said he wasn't sure yet if Williams would be available to play this week.

-- The signing of linebacker Ramik Wilson was about depth, not a surprise given all the injuries to the Cardinals' linebacking corps. Wilson can play either inside linebacker spot, as well as special teams, Keim said.

-- Keim talked about Andy Isabella, and was even asked specifically about Isabella being taken ahead of Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, and whether it was a system choice or simply because the Cards believed Isabella would be an outright better pro.

"In the evaluation process, and I can't talk about DK, there are a number of things that go into making the selection," Keim said. "That's all the information you have on a player's background, when it comes to medical, when it comes to off-field work ethic, when it comes to building around multiple routes and the route tree, there are so many things that go into it. When you watched Andy Isabella coming out, he played at a high level against big teams. ... We were comfortable with him, and again, we just have to give him more involved."

Keim said Isabella still has to be a better route runner and have consistency catching the ball, but he also needs opportunity. Keim noted the one sack against Kyler Murray last week, Isabella had broken free down the seam for a potential deep play (and, what is notable, Isabella also had a play like that earlier this season that was scuttled on a Murray sack.)

-- Back on the offensive line, Keim said he thinks, while right tackle Justin Murray has been up and down, "those other four, in my opinion, have played as consistent of football from an offensive line that we've seen in the last couple of years, with protecting. And we've put them in some tough positions."

-- Keim clearly is ready to bring cornerback Patrick Peterson back. Peterson's suspension ends this week and he will return Monday. "Maybe Sunday night at 12:01 (a.m.) I go to Scottsdale and pick Pat up," Keim quipped.

Steve Keim at a Bengals game in 2019