Keim: Cards need length to combat TEs

TEMPE, Ariz. -- There were very few holes in the Cardinals' defense this past season, but none were as glaring as its inability to stop tight ends.

General manager Steve Keim certainly noticed, and he said Thursday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis that finding length and depth in the secondary is a priority.

"Obviously there are some areas that we've talked about before: having a longer, athletic cover guys who can address the tight-end situation," Keim said. "We gave up big yards to tight ends."

That's not all the Cardinals gave up to tight ends.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, players listed as tight ends caught 17 out of 29 touchdowns given up by the Cardinals in 2013 and accounted for 1,247 yards -- about 31 percent of opponents' receiving total. Those came on 98 catches, more than a quarter of all receptions by Cards' opponents.

While left tackle is among the Cardinals' highest priorities this offseason, finding a way to slow tight ends could be the difference between playing in January and hitting the golf course. Especially against NFC West rivals.

Tight ends for Seattle, San Francisco and St. Louis accounted for 549 yards and eight touchdowns on 36 receptions. Seattle's Zach Miller and St. Louis' Jared Cook each caught two touchdowns against Arizona while San Francisco's Vernon Davis had three.

Keim's comments were made after he was asked about the Cardinals pulling closer to Seattle and San Francisco. That gap has undoubtedly shrunk, but it won't get any smaller if Arizona can't defend their tight ends.

How Arizona stacked up against tight ends: