- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- It’s not even an election year, but there’s a lot of campaigning going on in Arizona.
First, everyone has nominated Bruce Arians for his second straight Coach of the Year award.
Then linebacker Karlos Dansby stumped for himself to win the Defensive Player of the Year.
And, most recently, Arians endorsed Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim for Executive of the Year.
“I want to say this publically: If he doesn’t win Executive of the Year, something is wrong,” Arians said Monday. “People want to talk about Coach of the Year, I just coach the team. He deserves to be Executive of the Year. What he did in his first year is phenomenal. I’ve been around a little bit. It’s a great job, the faces he’s gotten and the players he brought in that have contributed during the season.”
Keim has executed 239 transactions this season, among them signing free agent gems such as Dansby and John Abraham, and trading for quarterback Carson Palmer. He was also responsible for drafting safety Tyrann Mathieu and running back Andre Ellington.
Since Day 1, Keim and Arians talked about churning the roster. The bottom handful of roster spots were never safe, and Keim, thanks in large part to his scouting background, would comb through the waiver wire and a list of free agents weekly searching for the next impact surprise.
“There’s no doubt we wanted new faces,” Arians said. “Once you start getting injuries, sometimes the guys that are on the street aren’t good enough to help you. We’ve brought in guys every Tuesday (for tryouts). The bottom half of the roster, the bottom 10 guys, we’re churning all the time, looking for keepers.”
Keim’s stiffest competition for the award comes from Kansas City General Manager John Dorsey, who rebuilt a team that went 2-14 last season. The Chiefs are 11-4 this season, a turnaround that started with Dorsey trading for quarterback Alex in March.
But there is more to Keim than his ability to find players and unearth the next best thing.
“He’s very approachable,” Arians said. “He does his job. He’s got a ready list of 10 guys at every position all the time. It’s a good collaboration, and it’s the best way to do it.
“You make all your decisions that are best for the Cardinals. They’re Cardinal decisions. Nobody’s ego is in the way. He’s just great to work with.”