12-21-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Team Growth

Arizona Cardinals News:

Dockett, Campbell Lead Holiday Cheer
Defensive linemen host their annual shopping sprees for needy kids

Arizona Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt: Strong finish shows growth
It almost always is preferable to overcome rather than succumb, and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt thinks his team's rebound from a 1-6 start could have an impact this off-season and in future years.

Arizona Cardinals reclaim public's trust with win streak
Faith has been restored. The Cardinals have regained the public trust. Fans appreciate the head coach all over again. Do not apologize for your wild mood swings. In Arizona, we're all dealing with post-traumatic pigskin syndrome. "I think this shows everyone that we take this thing very seriously," quarterback Kevin Kolb said. "We came to work every day. We were trying to solve the problems. We were meeting longer, tightening up the details. You don't always find that desire in the NFL. The whole group wanted to do this."

Re-Focused: Browns @ Cardinals, Week 15 | ProFootballFocus.com
On the surface of things, a Cleveland Browns versus Arizona Cardinals contest didn’t appear to be something that would provide much excitement. Indeed you only needed to look at the respective quarterbacks on display to think this game could go down as one of those instantly forgettable end of seasons. Well credit to John Skelton, Seneca Wallace and their respective teams, because in front of a sellout crowd at the University of Phoenix stadium, we were given a match up that delivered more quality, tension and excitement than anyone could have predicted. Ultimately that was to the joy of the home fans, who saw their team overcome a 10-point deficit, with the Browns finally losing their battle to reign in the explosive Patrick Peterson’s punt returns. That said this game deserved to be remembered more for a break down in coverage or overtime punt return. No, this was a game that featured several impressive performance (and some not so), and it’s only fair we do our bit to highlight them.

Outside the huddle: Arizona Cardinals left guard Daryn Colledge
Each week, The Republic spotlights a Cardinals player for a series of on-the-spot, off-beat questions.

Four score: Gore, Lynch, Wells and Jackson - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The four starting running backs from the NFC West have combined for 4,090 yards and 33 rushing touchdowns through 14 games. They are heading toward the regular-season finish line at varying speeds.

Word From the Birds Blog - Playoff reality (or possibilties, depending on your view)
The Cardinals are the 10th seed in the NFC right now. Their playoff chances are very, very slim. They must win their last two games to finish 9-7 and have any measurable hope.

Word From the Birds Blog - Flipping the script
Ken Whisenhunt got a game ball from team president Michael Bidwill after the Cleveland game for setting the franchise record for coaching wins, an exclamation point on the Cards’ monumental climb from 1-6 back to .500 (because certainly, at 1-6, it didn’t seem likely Whiz would get the seven wins needed this season to set the mark). Whisenhunt was chatting with reporters when it was suggested the result had the season gone the other way — say, the Cards started 6-1 and then went on a 1-6 skid. "They’d be taking the game ball back," Whisenhunt said with a chuckle.

Word From the Birds Blog - The challenge of making a challenge
To sum it up, yes, Ken Whisenhunt thought the spot of the ball was wrong. The Browns Sunday ran Payton Hillis on third-and-1 for what was called a first down, although it looked like the Cards had stuffed him short of the line to gain and replays seemed to bear that out. The Cardinals’ coach thought about challenging but didn’t – three plays later, the Browns scored on their 76-yard touchdown pass – in a sequence that was a microcosm of the difficulty in making a challenge. "Let me tell you something, (challenging) is a tough deal," Whisenhunt said. "The whole world is looking at you and a lot of times, you don’t have all the information." Generally, Whisenhunt quickly checks with the upstairs coaches on whatever side of the ball isn’t involved in the challenge – for instance, if the Cards’ defense is on the field, he goes to the offensive coaches first. Then he would check with the defensive coaches. But it’s all done in a very tight window.

NFC West Stock Watch - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Rising: Cardinals 2009 draft haul. Second-round pick Daryl Washington is an emerging star. Third-rounder Andre Roberts caught a touchdown pass for the second week in a row. Fourth-rounder O'Brien Schofield collected two sacks, forcing a game-altering fumble on one of them. Fifth-rounder John Skelton posted another comeback victory, improving his record to 4-1 as the Cardinals' starting quarterback this season. Even veteran safety Kerry Rhodes, acquired from the New York Jets for a 2009 fourth-round pick, played a strong game Sunday. First-round pick Dan Williams is on injured reserve. Nothing the Cardinals can do about that.

John Skelton vs. Tim Tebow: By the numbers - ArizonaSports.com
All they do is win. While Tim Tebow gets the national attention, Arizona's John Skelton has also done a good job winning games while not looking impressive in the process.

NFL.com news: Cardiac kid: QB Skelton's led five Cards comebacks this season
He might need luck escaping Tim Tebow's mega-shadow, but little-known John Skelton is making a name for himself as a comeback artist in Arizona. Stripped of the grand uproar surrounding Tebow's antics in Denver, Skelton -- in just his second season -- has quietly quarterbacked the Cardinals to five wins in six games, four of them as the team's starter in place of injured Kevin Kolb.

Cards Daily - Inside the OT Drive
In overtime on Sunday against the Browns, there were a few big plays that helped fuel the Cardinals to a victory. Coaches and players break down that game winning drive.

Arizona Sports News:

Phoenix Suns defense remains a concern
The Suns have to change the way they defend, rebound and take care of the ball if they want to surprise anyone this season with a playoff run. Well, the rebounding looked strong early in the Suns' 127-110 loss Tuesday night in their preseason debut at Denver. With a strong debut from rookie Markieff Morris, the Suns dominated the early boards and thrived on second-chance points, but the continuity of personnel and offensive system did not show up as promised.

Phoenix Coyotes top Florida Panthers
Radim Vrbata and Ray Whitney scored goals to lift the Phoenix Coyotes to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. The Coyotes won for just the second time in six games. Mike Smith stopped 19 shots before leaving with 16:31 left in the third period because of a non-contact injury. Jason LaBarbera relieved Smith and made eight saves, including one on a penalty shot.

Arizona Wildcats beat Oakland Golden Grizzlies
Solomon Hill had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Josh Fogg added 17 points and Arizona outshot one of the nation's highest-scoring teams in an 85-73 victory over Oakland on Tuesday night.

NFL News:

2012 Super Bowl Will Be Streamed Online - SBNation.com
The NFL announced that for the first time ever the Super Bowl will be streamed online. NBC will also stream wildcard Saturday and the Pro Bowl.

NFL Power Rankings: How they voted - NFC West Blog - ESPN
When the NFC West looks down, it sees not only the AFC South, but also the once-mighty NFC East. The view is more pleasing than at any point since divisional realignment in 2002. Consider it a historic shift, a watershed moment, the week when light finally shined upon the no-longer-worst division in football -- except, of course, when power outages at Candlestick Park temporarily left San Francisco and Pittsburgh in the dark. The 49ers' 20-3 victory over the Steelers on "Monday Night Football" capped a 3-1 week for the NFC West, one that moved up three teams from the division in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 16.

NFL Coaches Hot Seat: Steve Spagnuolo Comes In At No. 1 - SBNation.com
Three NFL coaches have been fired during the season and more are inevitably coming at the end of the year. Here are five coaches who should be on the hot seat.

QBR ranks: Alex Smith the Pro Bowler? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Coach Jim Harbaugh was on a roll Monday night. What was it like inside the San Francisco 49ers' locker room before kickoff? "It was dark," Harbaugh said to laughter, alluding to the power outage at Candlestick Park. Harbaugh wasn't kidding later in his postgame media session when he promoted 49ers quarterback Alex Smith for Pro Bowl honors. Smith has an 11-3 starting record, a 16-to-5 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions and a 91.1 NFL passer rating. Smith took no sacks and committed no turnovers during the 49ers' 20-3 victory over Pittsburgh on Monday night.

Drew Brees, The Passing Record He's About To Break, And What A Monster Season Looks Like - SBNation.com
After 27 years, Dan Marino's single-season passing record finally appears likely to fall. So how is Drew Brees doing it? And how does his season compare to the monster quarterback seasons that have come before?

At age 30, with five concussions, Ben Utecht battling memory loss | ProFootballTalk
Former NFL tight end Ben Utecht says five concussions during his playing days have led to memory loss at the age of 30.

Tomlin won’t commit to starting Roethlisberger Saturday | ProFootballTalk
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin won’t apologize for leaving Ben Roethlisberger in at the end of Pittsbugh’s 20-3 loss to the 49ers. Big Ben wanted to stay in, so he did.

Colt McCoy's Concussion Likely To Cost Him Another Game - SBNation.com
For the second week in a row, Colt McCoy is unlikely to start for the Cleveland Browns due to a concussion. McCoy suffered the concussion in Week 14, after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from James Harrison. Harrison was suspended for the hit, but he'll be back on the field before McCoy is. The Browns' starting QB missed Week 15's loss to the Arizona Cardinals and is expected to miss the Week 16 game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Chris Johnson Injury: Sprained Ankle Not Serious, Titans Say - SBNation.com
Chris Johnson picked up a sprained ankle in the Tennessee Titans' game against the Indianapolis Colts, but the injury is not serious and he is not expected to miss time.

ANIMATED: Tom Brady Gets Crushed By Elvis Dumervil - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Tom Brady has had an excellent game for the New England Patriots against the Denver Broncos, but this particular third quarter play was not his best highlight. Despite the fact that Elvis Dumervil was rushing Brady on his right side, Brady didn't appear to see him. Then, he got absolutely crushed. Animated goodness after the jump.

Tim Tebow Takes Another Step To Becoming Denver Broncos 2012 Starting QB - SBNation.com
The Denver Broncos quarterback situation is a unique one, to say the least. When John Elway took an executive job with the Broncos Tim Tebow was the quarterback and Elway never seemed fully committed to him. Even during Tebow's winning streak, Elway had said he didn't know if Tebow was the quarterback of the future. But on Tuesday Elway spoke with the Associated Press and gave one of his strongest endorsements yet for Tebow as the 2012 starting quarterback.

Josh McCown To Start Over Caleb Hanie For Chicago Bears - SBNation.com
According to reports, Josh McCown will start for the Bears this weekend when they face the Packers.

Sam Bradford Injury: Rams QB Not Out Yet - SBNation.com
Sam Bradford won't let his ankle injury prematurely end his season, despite his St. Louis Rams having just two wins so far this season and no hope at making it into the NFL playoffs. The quarterback gets paid to play football and he plans to do his best to earn that paycheck as long as his injury allows.

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