Will anything change with the Cardinals?
That’s the question many Cardinals fans are asking in light of Michael Bidwill’s decision to reward General Manager Steve Keim and Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury with five year contract extensions.
The Cardinals have consistently decided to tout their successes from last season over confronting their failures. At the podium during the NFL Combine, both Keim and Kingsbury went out of their way on more than one occasion to remind everyone they were better last year but rarely offered any genuine emotion on their disastrous finish.
Instead of using last year’s collapse as a spur for change the Cardinals are using it as a shield to deflect criticism.
And yes, it’s an absolute iron-clad fact that the Arizona Cardinals have improved as a team the last three seasons but that’s where my vision diverges from the Cardinals.
The Cardinals see last year as validation for their leadership and I see it was a repudiation.
The Cardinals see last year as the beginning of something bigger and I see it as the peak of something underwhelming.
The Cardinals believe September, October and November football weighs more than December and January and I think December and January football are the only things on the scale.
The Cardinals think nothing should change and I think something has to change.
The problem is, there isn’t much that can change now. Sure, the roster and depth chart will. Some free agents will come and some free agents will go but that’s not the kind of change I’m talking about. That’s superficial football change.
I’m talking about the kind of change that springs the culture of the entire organization.
Steve Keim isn’t going to change. He knows Michael Bidwill values relationships over results. Why would Steve Keim change when he had the single most disastrous calendar year of any General Manager in professional sports modern history in 2018 and was rewarded with four more years of employment and a second major contract extension today.
Kliff Kingsbury isn’t going to change. He failed at Texas Tech and was rewarded with an NFL head coaching job. Could he change his approach? First of all I don’t think he’s capable of changing his approach. It's not like he can go from a coach with the energy of a substitute teacher to a drill sergeant. Plus, any reason to really change evaporated when he was rewarded for guiding another failed stretch run.
Will Kyler Murray change? All indications are that he’s not interested in that path. He’s been more successful than Keim or Kingsbury so why should be bear the brunt of the Cardinals failures?
Michael Bidwill decided to accept modest progress because it validated his own ego. Most Cardinals fans aren’t willing to do the same.
The only question that matters now is:
If nothing changes, how is anything supposed to actually change?