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Steve Keim: RB Kenyan Drake Was On Radar, And P2's Game

Steve Keim was in the office of director of pro scouting Adrian Wilson last week, talking about Kenyan Drake.

"We were looking at him for free agency (in 2020)," the Cardinals General Manager said Friday during his appearance on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station. "When the opportunity presented itself for the trade with the Dolphins, we certainly jumped."

Drake rushed for 110 yards in his Cardinals' debut Thursday night. That the Cardinals were talking about him potentially for 2020 may allow some insight about what the Cards will do with Drake after the season. Drake is still scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

"We did our homework on him," Keim said. "More than anything, we felt like organizationally we felt like he was a perfect fit for this team. A guy who could get isolated in space, had tremendous footspeed and straight-line explosiveness, caught the ball well out of the backfield. He was somewhat of a mirror image of the guys we currently have, but also brings some other skills to the table."

How Drake would fit long-term into a backfield with David Johnson and Chase Edmonds remains to be seen. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said Thursday night he was hopeful Johnson will return in the Cards' next game, at Tampa Bay.

-- Keim on Patrick Peterson's game Thursday night: "There are a number of things that go into coverage, and that starts up front with pressure. If you're not getting pressure, it's going to reflect on those guys on the back end. I think there was some miscommunication on a number of snaps. But at the same time, the bottom line is for us to be able to compete and to win against teams like the 49ers, we need our best players to play at their best. Last night was obviously not Patrick Peterson's best."

Keim was asked about Peterson's effort, compared to communication.

"I think it's a combination of communication, there are things technique-wise he is still trying to feel his way through, coming back off suspension," Keim said. "I expect him to bounce back. That's what big-time players do. He'll have a great opportunity against (wide receiver) Mike Evans in Tampa."

-- Not surprisingly, Keim said he was disappointed in the defense and the inability to get off the field on third downs. The 49ers converted 11-of-17 Thursday night and Keim noted eight of those conversions came when the Niners needed five yards or more. "It comes down to generating pressure, it comes down to playing tighter in coverage, and those are two areas in which we have to vastly improve."

Keim talked about the youth in the secondary, and DC Vance Joseph's tough task of deciding to ratchet up the pressure and potentially expose the secondary. "We've just got to get better on that side of the ball," Keim added.

-- More Keim on the pass defense's struggles: "I think that's on me. It's my job to put together the best roster we can moving forward. The way I look at it, I have to do a better job of putting players on this roster that give our coaches a chance to succeed."

-- In terms of Kliff Kingsbury's decision-making against the 49ers, in particular the two plays that used timeouts at the end of the first half and the end of the game, Keim said "I support our coach."

"The bottom line is you can second-guess a number of different things, but I think much more has gone right for Kliff than has gone wrong," Keim added. He also said Kingsbury's offense is looked good and it's just starting to "scratch the surface."

Steve Keim before a 2019 preseason game