It has been an "emotional" week for the Cardinals organization, General Manager Steve Keim acknowledged, after the passing of owner Bill Bidwill.
"We lost an amazing man and a guy I greatly admired," Keim said Friday during his appearance on the "Doug and Wolf" show on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station.
But there is still a football game Sunday in Cincinnati, a crucial game given that the Cards are still winless at 0-3-1 and the Bengals are also without a win (0-4). While Keim said every game is important and that this isn't necessarily a must-win moreso than other weeks, he did acknowledge bigger picture he knows the team's record is a reflection about the job he is doing as GM.
"This is a results-based business," Keim said. "When you take these (GM) positions and certainly the position I'm in, you have to have thick skin and be prepared for the criticism that, quite frankly, a lot of times it's accurate. You don't want to get too high on the highs, when you are Executive of the Year, and you don't want to get too low on the lows. You've got to stay consistent, you've got to stay confident in yourself -- which I do -- and I'm excited with some of the things we are doing.
"The wins aren't there right now, which is not acceptable. But at the same time I do see some good things going on and I am glad we made some of the decisions we made this offseason."
Keim said his expectations are always to win. "That's the business we are in," he said. "I don't make excuses and I don't think we as an organization make excuses. So to our fans, we have to get better. continue to grow, and my expectation is to try and win every week."
-- Keim addressed the release of veteran safety D.J. Swearinger, comparing it to the previous release of veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree. "When you look at a veteran player and a guy who maybe isn't living up to expectations, and at the same time you have a couple of young players that you are excited about and you want to give an opportunity -- and that's the only way we will know about the two Thompson rookies. ... What we have seen out of practice from those two makes us think they will have success."
-- On the development of Kliff Kingsbury as a head coach, "I think his creativity has been on display, but it's no secret, we have to convert in the red zone, that's very obvious," Keim said. "Defensively we've given up too many big plays, and there are times we haven't stopped the run consistently. There are a number of things that have been reoccurring things we have to clean up, but I am very excited about some of the things Kliff has done as a coach that gives me reason to believe -- much like our quarterback -- that as he learns new things week to week and changes his playcalls and his approach and becomes more comfortable as a head coach in the NFL, I think he'll be a really good coach for years to come."
Keim added that while Kingsbury can tweak his approach a bit in the red zone, "as I watch the tape, it really comes down to execution. There are times when the plays are there to be made and we just haven't made them." He also said the Cardinals need to run the ball more consistently. "Kliff has grown as a playcaller, and at the same time, he and the coaching staff are getting a better feel how to use the personnel we have in place."
-- Keim's confidence in Kyler Murray hasn't changed. "You have to make sure he has the right supporting cast around him, you have to make sure he continues to grow as a player, making good decisions," Keim said. "You see his arm talent, his ability to run the football. It's now the little things, the consistency, he has to dial in and improve on, and that will come in time."
-- Keim said he wasn't sure when WR Christian Kirk (ankle) will be back, but he said he knows Kirk is the type of player who will speed the process as much as possible.