Heading into a rare game in which the Cardinals have been favored this season, General Manager Steve Keim appeared on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station, Friday morning with the topic of the many "hot seat" lists that have been written nationally, some of which contain coach Steve Wilks. So, Keim was asked, just where does Wilks stand as the GM sees it?
"Shoot, how many of those (lists) am I on?" Keim said.
"This is a results-based business," Keim added. "At the end of the day, not only do we internally have expectations, but the fans, I know, have expectations, and rightfully so. This year has certainly not gone the direction we anticipated. But (Wilks' status) is something I'm not even focused on right now. Right now, it's all about winning football games and showing progress. The type of progress that gets us excited and propels us into 2019, which again, I am starting to see a lot of things that excite me, not only on the offensive side of the ball, but defensively as well."
Along those lines, Keim had one clear thing at the top of his priority list as the season moves through the second half, that players push hard to make their case to be part of the roster in 2019.
"I want to see some of these guys take one step forward in this opportunity," Keim said.
-- The defense did some good things against the high-powered Chiefs offense, and Keim had some guarded optimism for the unit.
"Guys are becoming more comfortable within the scheme," he said. "There are still issues with coverage concepts and guys blowing coverages that are concerning. But they are still playing with a lot of urgency and a lot of energy."
-- Keim said he thinks safety Budda Baker (knee) will be a game-day decision, and called Baker "one of the bright spots" of the defense this season.
-- On the offensive line, Keim acknowledged that both tackles, D.J. Humphries and Andre Smith, struggled in Kansas City. The Cards must do a better job protecting QB Josh Rosen, and the GM reiterated the same thing Wilks has, that the Cards have to be creative in blocking schemes. Falling behind late and being forced to pass every down did not help. Starting guard Justin Pugh is out for the season now, and Humphries might not be able to play Sunday either.
"It's never a good thing when starters go down, particularly in a league where supply and demand is such an issue," Keim said. "Now all of a sudden you are playing guys who weren't even on the roster at the beginning of the year."
Keim did say he thought Oday Aboushi "played fairly well" after replacing Pugh.
-- Keim thought Rosen has improved in seeing the field on pass plays. "The first couple of games, he had some growing pains in terms of seeing the field and finding the open receiver," Keim said. "I think he is more and more comfortable with that. ... All the things I have seen from Josh, not only physically but the work ethic and intangibles, all the things in terms of preparation, he has shown to be a true leader."