TEMPE, Ariz. — When Steve Keim walked off field at Seattle a year ago, the scoreboard read: Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0. Keim, then Arizona’s vice president for player personnel, felt sick.
A few weeks later, Rod Graves was fired and Keim was promoted to general manager. At the news conference announcing his hiring, Keim promised he would never forget that feeling in Seattle.
Last Sunday, he left the same stadium after the Cardinals beat the Seahawks 17-10, ending Seattle’s 14-game home winning streak. He was “at peace” and “content.”
Not for long.
It’s nice for a second,” he said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press, “but I’m too concerned with how did we lose five games — how do we get better.”
The 41-year-old bear of an ex-college football lineman has overhauled the roster of a team that limped home to a 5-11 season by losing 10 of its last 11 games in 2012. Heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale at home against San Francisco, Arizona is 10-5, has won seven of eight, and has a shot at tying the franchise record of 11 victories in a season.
The Cardinals might not make the playoffs, but it’s still quite a turnaround.
“If he’s not executive of the year I think it’s a crying shame,” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “The job he’s done as a rookie GM, turning over our roster and then finding guys I think are keepers. I’m not afraid to play young players, or new players, as long as they’re capable, and Steve’s done a great job of bringing us capable people.”
Keim worked up from the scouting ranks of the Cardinals for 15 years. When general manager Rod Graves, Keim got the job.
He’s since made 192 roster moves. Twenty-eight players on the 53- man roster are new to the team this year. Half the 22 starters weren’t with the Cardinals a year ago.