Steve Keim should stay in touch with Wade Phillips in case Joseph flops

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams

There's a difference between "seeing" someone and "dating" someone. Presumably, "dating" starts after you've asked the person you've been "seeing" to officially be your partner, and the latter assumes monogamy. But there is a window, and we've all been through this, when you keep your options open. Between Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or text messages, we've never had more access to choice, and we'd be crazy to cut off all potential future partners just months into a relationship.

Steve Keim, embrace your inner playboy, baby. Send a "wink" emoji to Wade Phillips, or something.

In a recent interview with The Athletic's Ted Nguyen, Phillips, the former Rams defensive coordinator, sent a Bat-Signal up to the NFL, signaling the start to what former Browns general manager Michael Lombardi calls the "coaching campaign trail." Lombardi argues that in today's political NFL, coaches aren't hired, they're elected, and political rallies are held in the form of media fluff pieces. He's right. It's the same reason Vance Joseph sat down with The Undefeated for an in-season feature about wanting another crack at a head coaching job.

In millennial terms, Phillips posted a "thirst-trap," and it's time for Steve Keim to slide into his DMs.

Why now? Because the Cardinals ranked 28th in scoring defense last year, which is just 8 spots higher than the average ranking of Vance Joseph-coached defenses. Because Kyler Murray will need all the help he can get in a division with three quarterbacks that've taken their team to the Super Bowl. Because Isaiah Simmons can be a generational player, if used right. Because Kliff Kingsbury could use a coach with 44 years of NFL experience, instead of 15.

Vance Joseph has had control of an NFL defense for 4 consecutive years - since his inaugural year as Dolphins defensive coordinator in 2016 - and produced the league's 20th-best scoring defense, on average, while never coaching a top-10 unit. In that same time frame, Wade Phillips' defenses were ranked 13th in scoring defense on average. Phillips helped the Broncos rank 4th in scoring defense in 2016, only for Joseph to oversee the same unit fall to 22nd in 2017 - when Joseph took over as Denver's head coach.

Wade Phillips is probably the better coach.

I was supportive of Joseph returning to Arizona in 2020, because continuity and stability are at a premium right now. Coronavirus, protests, and the shortened NFL offseason have put a premium on Joseph's relationship with this roster. It's hard to play defense when you're learning a new scheme, even in a normal year. I still think we should give Joseph a chance, now that Steve Keim has given him real help across the defense through free agency and the draft. Keim himself admitted he "felt bad" for Joseph due to lack of talent last year. Joseph should have a chance to show that Isaiah Simmons really is the tight end "eraser" he claims Simmons can be, after Arizona gave up a league-high 15 touchdowns to tight ends in 2019. Joseph should have a chance to show he's a keeper. But Steve Keim should keep his options open in the meantime. It's the responsible thing to do.

For the record, the DMs are open.

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