Steve Keim: Cardinals finding success with 'fine wine' players

TEMPE, Ariz. -- So much for a youth movement.

The Arizona Cardinals have been led so far this season by a trio of veterans all now 30 years or older. Carson Palmer (35), Larry Fitzgerald (32) and Chris Johnson (30) have combined for seven of the Cardinals’ 13 offensive touchdowns in 2015.

“These guys are like fine wine,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Monday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “They just get better with age. It’s been really fun to see, to see these guys play at such a high level.”

As much as has been said about Fitzgerald’s move inside, Keim helped put it into a better perspective. He said by playing inside and outside, Fitzgerald has a better overall understanding of the offense and has learned to read coverages better.

Keim was asked to respond to unnamed skeptics around the league who questioned the two-year, $22 million deal Arizona gave Fitzgerald in February.

“I just think you just got to trust in yourself in what you believe in,” Keim said. “I always felt like Larry was a huge part of what we’re trying to do here. And again, you can’t get consumed and concerned with what everybody else thinks.

“Same thing when we made the trade for Carson Palmer. Some people thought he was done and used up, and I think he’s proven people wrong. You just got to live in your world and continue to stay focused and think good things will come.”

Keim mentioned another elder statesman during his radio appearance, saying it was “really fun” to see 32-year-old Frostee Rucker “move the line of scrimmage.”

Other notes from Keim:

  • Keim said the Cardinals came out of Sunday’s win over San Francisco injury free.

  • Keim praised the scouting department, from vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough on down, for finding talent at schools like Pittsburg State (John Brown), UC-Irvine (Darren Fells), Presbyterian (Justin Bethel), Northern Iowa (David Johnson and Xavier Williams) and Delaware State (Rodney Gunter). “These guys from top to bottom are as good as any in the league, and it’s showing up on the field,” Keim said.

  • Keim agreed with coach Bruce Arians’ decision to start Bobby Massie at right tackle ahead of Earl Watford. “He’s a little bit more polished as a pass protector, but we thought Bobby played really good yesterday. He got after people and finished some blocks,” Keim said.

  • Right guard Jonathan Cooper played “excellent,” Keim said.

  • Tight end Jermaine Gresham drew heaps of praise from Keim for his role in the run game by setting the edge. “Some of the things that he can do compared to the tight ends we’ve had in the past has really, really made some major improvements as far as the run game goes,” Keim said.