Playoff hopes in Arizona were dashed last season when the Cardinals lost five of their final seven games and finished the year with an 8-8 record.
Falling short last year hasn’t lowered the bar for this year. Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim told Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic that “my expectations are certainly to go to the playoffs” and that he believes they’ve built a team capable of reaching those goals.
“I do. I think there’s no doubt,” Keim said. “I think last year we were a playoff team. Again, I think we didn’t play up to standards when it comes to discipline and penalties and all the things that we knew we had to improve upon. Physicality at times, tackling, all those things that we needed to address. I think this offseason with the additions that we made we certainly put our best foot forward with leadership and accountability and attention to details, as well as the physical traits we needed, which were taking the top off the defense, having guys that were physical on defense that can run and cover. I think we’ll certainly play up to expectations this year because all those additions, as well as the guys we’ve drafted in the past few years, particular the quarterback [Kyler Murray], that have continued to grow and develop into the player we certainly thought he was coming out.”
Given the competition in the NFC West, the Cardinals could miss the playoffs even if they show the improvement that Keim is hoping to see this year. If that’s the case, the question for the Cardinals will be whether head coach Kliff Kingsbury is the right man to put the pieces together for a consistent winner in Arizona.