(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Time for some links, mostly just injury stuff and scouting reports. Also some links from the Arizona Sports world with the news that has come out about roster moves the D-Backs and Suns have made during the offseason.
Big Plays From The Hyphen
Notebook: Stephens-Howling's impact; Denting Niners' run defense
49ers determined not to have mental letdown vs. Cardinals
The San Francisco 49ers clinched the NFC West title last weekend, but they don't expect to have a mental letdown against the Cardinals on Sunday. Their mind-set, defensive lineman Justin Smith said, is to finish strong and secure the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, behind Green Bay. "That's the only way you can look at it," he said. "We know it's going to be hard game down there (in Glendale). They're coming off a big win and playing pretty good football."
Cardinals-49ers scouting report, pick
Kent Somers breaks down Sunday's NFC West rivalry matchup between the Cardinals and 49ers in Glendale. Can Arizona avenge its 23-7 loss in San Francisco?
Cardinals have Niners attention - ArizonaSports.com
They've beaten the Cardinals five straight times and in seven of their last nine meetings. Yet, the Niners do not believe they have the Cardinals number. "I think as players you never buy into that," said defensive tackle Justin Smith. "You know they're professionals, you know the type of guys they have on that team, and we have a lot of respect for them. We know we're going to have to play well to go down there and beat them." The 49ers are the only team to have beaten the Cardinals over the last five games, a 23-7 decision in Week 11 that preceded Arizona victories over St. Louis and Philadelphia and has now followed with wins at St. Louis and against Dallas.
QB injuries affect future NFC West games - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona Cardinals: They face the Browns, who could be without quarterback Colt McCoy. McCoy suffered a concussion and an injured left hand against the Steelers. His status is uncertain. The Browns sent him home Friday amid questions about whether the team erred in sending McCoy back into the game Thursday night.
azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Looking at the nose tackles
It took nose tackle Dan Williams far longer to make an impact this season than it should have after he reported to camp in poor condition. But he was finally playing well when he suffered two broken bones in his left arm against the 49ers three weeks ago. With Williams out for the season,Nick Eason is starting, and rookie David Carter is backing him up. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton was asked if he was happy with the play of his nose tackles. "Am I happy?" Horton repeated. "Does that mean me satisfied or elated?" Satisfied. "I'm satisfied but not elated. We have a good rotation and they're doing what we expect, stopping the run. This will be a good test for our front seven. They (the 49ers) will run the ball." The 49ers offensive philosophy isn't complicated, Horton said.
Word From the Birds Blog - The "real" Heap and other Friday health
Tight end Todd Heap should play Sunday and perhaps show up on the offensive radar after all these weeks battling the bad hamstring.
Word From the Birds Blog - Friday before the Niners
The Cardinals are winners of four of their last five. Of course. But those four wins test the heart. A 99-yard punt return in overtime by P-Twice. A touchdown drive with less than two minutes left in Philly. Running out the clock with a couple of third-down conversions in St. Louis. And, of course, The Hyphen comes alive in overtime last week. At least the Cards are coming out ahead. Two teams have had a league-high nine games this season decided by seven points or fewer: The Denver Tebows, and your Arizona Cardinals.
Word From the Birds Blog - A Whiz at overtime
The first time the Cardinals went into overtime with Ken Whisenhunt as head coach, they should have won. If Sean Morey was just a little faster, or if the Cards didn’t have a bad penalty, or if Neil Rackers wasn’t going through his late-game issues, the Cardinals would have won — but instead, they lost to the 49ers, 37-31. Since then, though, the Cards have been efficient when their games have gone into an extra period. Including the playoffs, the Cards have won five of their last six overtime games. They toppled reeling Atlanta, 30-27, later that year in 2007, helping the Cards finish .500 that season. There was the famous blocked punt to beat Dallas in 2008 and the more famous Michael Adams forced fumble against the Packers in the 2009 playoffs. The Cardinals did lose in Minnesota last season — Derek Anderson had time and a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald on a down-and-in on the first play of the extra frame that probably would have set up a scoring chance, but the pass was low and behind Fitz — but have rallied for their St. Louis and Dallas wins this year.
Final Word: NFC West - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Putting streak on the line: The San Francisco 49ers have tied a franchise record by allowing no rushing touchdowns in their past 13 games. Since the 1970 merger, only the 1985-86 Chicago Bears have gone more games in a row (15) without allowing one. The streak began with a 38-7 victory against Arizona to close last season. It could end against the Cardinals as well. Beanie Wells has nine rushing touchdowns this season, tied for fourth-most in the league. The Cardinals have blocked well in the running game and they won't have to contend with injured 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis. Then again, the streak without allowing a rushing TD began the last time Willis missed a game.
Arizona Sports News:
Grant Hill staying with Phoenix Suns
Grant Hill has earned a Hall of Fame resume and Fort Knox riches. At 39, Hill still finds a thrill in basketball and he knew that accepting the Suns' one-year, $6.5 million offer to return was the right move when he felt "excited" after committing Friday.
Phoenix Suns waive Vince Carter, Gani Lawal
The Suns waived Vince Carter and Gani Lawal today.
ASU recruit Jahii Carson ruled ineligible by NCAA
Arizona State freshman Jahii Carson was ruled ineligible for game participation Friday, a blow for the Sun Devils as they try to rebound from last season's 12-19 effort.
Diamondbacks acquire starter Trevor Cahill, reliever Craig Breslow in trade with Athletics
Looking to dive headfirst through their window of opportunity, the Diamondbacks acquired right-hander Trevor Cahill and reliever Craig Breslow from the Oakland Athletics on Friday, opting for the certainty of established pitchers over the potential upside of prospects.
XTRA910 audio: NFC West Week 14 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Dan Bickley, Mike Jurecki and I discussed NFC West matchups and issues relating to James Harrison's hit on Colt McCoy during our weekly conversation Friday.
Andre Johnson Injury: Texans WR Ruled Out For Week 14 - SBNation.com
The Houston Texans will be without WR Andre Johnson this weekend when they travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals. Johnson suffered a hamstring injury last week against the Atlanta Falcons and it won't be healed in time to play on Sunday.
Colt McCoy May Have Suffered Concussion In Browns-Steelers Game - SBNation.com
Browns QB Colt McCoy took a hard hit from James Harrison in Thursday night's game against the Steelers but returned to the game. Now there are signs McCoy may have suffered a concussion from that hit.
Chad Ochocinco, Kobe Bryant Demonstrate The Proper Use Of An F-Bomb - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
A cuss word here and there can serve a purpose and make a point. Drop one in to a joke with the correct timing and it can make a funny anecdote a hilarious one. Throw too many around all willy-nilly, though, and the effect of the four-letter word is diminished. It's a fine line. So I was please to see two athletes, within minutes of each other, demonstrate the proper use of an f-bomb.