9-8-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Opening Night For The NFL

Tonight, after a lockout shortened offseason the NFL will finally be back with the start of the regular season. Be excited everyone.

Hoping to see a good game tonight, and then it is on to Sunday and the beginning of the Kevin Kolb era.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Arizona Cardinals 2011 Season Preview: With Kevin Kolb, Is This A Playoff Team? - SBNation.com
SB Nation is previewing the 2011 season for all 32 teams and up today is the Arizona Cardinals.

Peterson Moves Up
Notebook: Cards young at CB; Defense will "cater" to Wilson's return

"We're Going To Pressure"
Unveiling of Horton's defense comes against rookie Newton

Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson set to play Sunday vs. Carolina Panthers
Strong safety Adrian Wilson hasn't hit anyone on a football field since the Pro Bowl last January. That's expected to change on Sunday.

Arizona Cardinals low on Forbes' value list - ArizonaSports.com
The Arizona Cardinals are the 24th most valuable team in the National Football League.

Arizona rookie Peterson gets start at cornerback - ArizonaSports.com
A teammate's injury has accelerated rookie Patrick Peterson's ascent into the Arizona Cardinals' starting lineup.

Arizona Cardinals want QB Cam Newton to feel the pressure
The Cardinals say they plan to pressure Cam Newton on Sunday not because of his age (22), inexperience (rookie), draft status (first overall) or his employer (Panthers, 2-14 last year). Rather, it's the position (quarterback) that Newton plays. At his introductory news conference in February, Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton promised to blitz on the first play of the season. The proclamation didn't come with a disclaimer. "We're going to pressure," Horton said after practice Wednesday. "That's what we do, and I don't care if they know it. We're coming after them." Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, they are all the same to Horton when it comes to his philosophy.

Word From the Birds Blog - Peterson and Horton promises plus post-practice
Cornerback Patrick Peterson is the starter now, and he has also been tabbed as the Cards’ top punt returner — which he said to him was just as important. Peterson established in college he was a dangerous return man, and he is confident that facet of the game isn’t much different. "Guys get down there the same, guys tackle the same," Peterson said. "It’s all about me getting down and making plays." Of course, teams stopped punting to Peterson after a while. "It’s probably a little bit too early for that," Peterson said.

Video: Skip Bayless doesn't rattle Peterson - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona Cardinals rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson showed veteran moxie in rolling with a potentially sensitive question from ESPN's Skip Bayless during "First Take" on Wednesday. As a bigger corner, Peterson told Bayless he would have no problem moving to safety in the future if his weight became an issue, but that isn't the plan and the Cardinals haven't spoken to him about it. This could have been a sensitive subject for a cover cornerback, but Peterson handled it deftly when Bayless asked about it.

Chat wrap: Fitzgerald, Sims-Walker, WRs - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Austin from Katy, Texas wants to know whether I think Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson will have the better season in 2011.

NFC West: Injury situations that matter - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona Cardinals: Strong safety Adrian Wilson practiced without limitation Wednesday one month after tearing a right biceps tendon. Amazing, indeed. The meaningful question remains unanswered. To what degree is Wilson at risk for aggravating the injury, perhaps in a manner that ends his season? Reports suggested Wilson suffered the tear near his elbow, where only one tendon attaches (two attach near the shoulder). A complete tear near the elbow would require surgery to repair. Wilson obviously doesn't have a tear to that degree. The other significant injury for Arizona will not show up on the team's official report. Rookie running back Ryan Williams is out for the year, putting added pressure on Beanie Wells to stay healthy and produce this season. Backup quarterback John Skelton remains limited by an ankle injury, but Rich Bartel was arguably the better option in the No. 2 role anyway, at least right now.

Tillman's legacy an inspiration for all
In the days after Pat Tillman was killed in action in Afghanistan, a makeshift memorial popped up outside Sun Devil Stadium. Among the photos, flowers, thank-you letters and soldiers' boots was a note from an 8-year-old boy that read: "I know you don’t want to be a hero, but too bad."

Arizona QB Kevin Kolb eager to play opener against Panthers - ArizonaSports.com
After a long offseason that included a lockout, a new labor deal and the quickest and probably busiest free agency period in recent history, regular season football is finally back, and new Arizona QB Kevin Kolb is ready to go.

Chester Taylor says Bears used him wrong, welcomes move to Arizona - ArizonaSports.com
Welcome to Arizona, Chester Taylor. "It's hot. I got to get used to this heat." Taylor braved the elements in his first Cardinals practice Wednesday. He was signed Monday after being released by the Bears over the weekend. "I'm glad to be here. I believe it's a great opportunity, a better opportunity than I had with the Chicago Bears." Taylor lasted just one season in Chicago, rushing for 267 yards -- not the kind of production they expected after signing him as a free agent following four seasons with the Vikings. Taylor believes the Bears didn't use him right and that's why he welcomes the chance with the Cardinals.

Cardinals coach Whisenhunt excited for home opener - ArizonaSports.com
The wait is finally over. The Arizona Cardinals, after a busy offseason which saw a flurry of big moves, are preparing for the regular season opener. That fact is exciting to head coach Ken Whisenhunt, and he believes his team feels the same way.

DC Ray Horton: 'We are going to be a pressure team' - ArizonaSports.com
When he was hired as the Cardinals new defensive coordinator back in February, Ray Horton made a promise. "I am here to say right now, the first call is going to be a blitz. No question about it." Seven months later, with the season opener approaching Sunday does that promise still hold true?

Word From the Birds Blog - Playing a new kind of Panthers
The Cardinals have made games against Carolina a habit over the past few years. In coach Ken Whisenhunt’s four previous seasons in Arizona, the Cards have faced the Panthers five times, with three of them having memorable side themes.

Cards Daily: Panthers Prep; Bartel Makes the Squad - Video
Coach Whisenhunt and QB Kevin Kolb talk about game planning for the Carolina Panthers and Damien Anderson talks with Rich Bartel about finally making a 53 man roster for the first time in his career.

Cardinals Underground - Carolina Preview
Paul Calvisi, Damien Anderson, and Darren Urban take a look at the week one depth chart and more as the Cardinals prepare to take on the Carolina Panthers in the 2011 season opener. Anderson fills in for Ron Wolfley.

Arizona Sports News:

Arizona Diamondbacks bounce back to take series against Colorado Rockies
The Diamondbacks recovered from an ugly loss the night before to claim a series victory with a 5-3 win against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night, doing so on a night their division rivals once again lost and dropped another game back in the National League West.

ASU players excited for Black Out against Missouri
Black Out Friday began for Arizona State football players in January, quarterback Brock Osweiler said. That was four months before the official unveiling of ASU's new black uniforms and helmets, which the Sun Devils will wear for the first time Friday in a Black Out game against Missouri expected to draw more than 60,000 to Sun Devil Stadium.

Arizona Wildcats to face No. 9 Oklahoma State without Juron Criner
Since Oklahoma State bowled over Arizona to end 2010 with a 36-10 drubbing in San Antonio, the past 8 1/2 months have been arduous for the Wildcats. The Wildcats worked some frustration and kinks out Saturday in routing Northern Arizona, but they still have not defeated a Football Bowl Subdivision team since October. Time seemingly has moved like a slow creek for the Wildcats' chance Thursday night, when they will sink or swim on ESPN as they face No. 9 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. The Wildcats have been itching to give the Cowboys their best shot. Unfortunately for them, they can't. UA's best player, wide receiver Juron Criner, did not travel with the team, and coach Mike Stoops declined comment about it Wednesday.

Eyes of college football on the state of Arizona before the weekend - ArizonaSports.com
Arizona has a big opportunity over a 30-hour period before the weekend even is upon us. Rise up Wildcats. Rise up Sun Devils.

Russian jet carrying hockey team crashes, 43 dead
A private jet carrying a Russian professional hockey team to its first game of the season crashed shortly after takeoff Wednesday, killing 43 people - including European and former NHL players - in one of the worst aviation disasters in sports history. Two people survived the accident. The crash also was the latest tragedy to befall the sport of hockey - following the sudden, offseason deaths of three of the NHL's tough-guy enforcers that has shocked fans. The team's coach, Brad McCrimmon, once played for Phoenix. NHL.com is reporting that the Russian Times confirmed that McCrimmon died in the crash. McCrimmon, who ended an 18-year career by playing part of a season with the Coyotes, was the team's head coach. Assistant coach Igor Korolev, who also played for the Coyotes, as well as the Phoenix Roadrunners, also was killed.

NFL News:

Peyton Manning Officially Ruled Out For Texans Game, Colts' Bill Polian Says - SBNation.com
It's official: QB Peyton Manning's streak will end on Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts line up to play the Houston Texans. Colts executive Bill Polian confirmed Manning is indeed out for Sunday's game.

Colts Owner: Peyton Manning 'Out For Awhile' - SBNation.com
After much speculation, Indianapolis Colts executive Bill Polian went on local radio Wednesday and confirmed that the team has officially ruled QB Peyton Manning out for Sunday's Week 1 game against the Houston Texans. It should not have been a surprise but it was hard to digest considering the guy had started every NFL game he's been in dating back to 1998. The next question in the Manning story is how long he'll be out. Colts owner Jim Irsay touched on this subject in two tweets on Thursday morning.

ESPN, NFL Extend Monday Night Football Agreement Through 2021 - SBNation.com
ESPN and the NFL announced an extension to their Monday Night Football agreement which will allow ESPN to air MNF games through the 2021 season.

NFL stadiums directed to show real-time fantasy football statistics at stadiums - ESPN
So you're in the stands at an NFL stadium, you left your hand-held device in the car and you have no idea how your fantasy football team is doing. If only they'd show out-of-town fantasy football statistics on the scoreboard. Fantasy? Not anymore.

48 NFC West starters since Manning debut - NFC West Blog - ESPN
For a fuller appreciation of Manning's durability and consistency in starting 227 consecutive games, I went through Pro Football Reference counting how many quarterbacks had started for current NFC West teams since Manning made his regular-season debut. There have been 48. That figure includes 14 for the St. Louis Rams, 13 for the 49ers, 11 for the Arizona Cardinals and 10 for the Seahawks.

ESPN picks: Revoking disrespect card early - NFC West Blog - ESPN
You know it's coming if and when NFC West teams win games in Week 1. There's a decent chance winning head coaches will make reference to all the doubters out there. It's become the norm. I can just hear Ken Whisenhunt following an Arizona Cardinals victory over Carolina with something along the lines of, "There's been a lot said and written about us, much of it negative, over the last year or so. As long as the 53 men in that locker room believe, that's all that matters." Sorry, NFC West coaches. Someone needs to revoke your disrespect cards for Week 1.

Manning investigating options, no surgery yet | ProFootballTalk
Our night wouldn’t be complete without one more Peyton Manning update. Despite an unsubstantiated report on Indianapolis radio that Manning already underwent a third neck procedure, SI’s Peter King reports that it hasn’t happened. Yet.

John Beck says he’s "pissed" not to be Redskins’ starter | ProFootballTalk
Speaking for the first time since losing the Redskins’ starting quarterback competition to Rex Grossman, John Beck described himself today as "pissed," but not dejected.

NFL Blackout Rules: Jaguars And Buccaneers In Danger Of Losing Local TV Coverage - SBNation.com
An outline of the NFL blackout rules and how two teams - Tampa Bay and Jacksonville - are affected in Week 1

Report: New deal may be needed to solve Dez Bryant’s money troubles | ProFootballTalk
As Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant prepares for a regular season in which, if he stays healthy, he can make the right kind of headlines, he is wrapping up an offseason in which he made the wrong kind of headlines. Though he has yet to be arrested, he continues to exude a sense of financial irresponsibility, with lawsuits arising from a bad habit of buying things without paying for them.

VIDEO: Tom Brady's UGG's Commercial, A Troll's Masterpiece - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Tom Brady endorses UGG's shoes. This was pretty hilarious to everybody when it was first announced, and it's pretty funny again now, because he's starred in a new commercial for the company, which is set to debut on TV soon. Here is that, and let's talk about all this below.

San Francisco 49ers 2011 Season Preview: The Jim Harbaugh Era - SBNation.com
The NFL season is almost upon us which means it's time to preview every team's chances this year. Up today are the San Francisco 49ers, who hope the Jim Harbaugh era delivers a playoff appearance.

St. Louis Rams 2011 Season Preview: How High Can Sam Bradford Go? - SBNation.com
SB Nation is previewing the 2011 season for all 32 teams and up today is the St. Louis Rams.

Seattle Seahawks 2011 Season Preview: Defending The NFC West - SBNation.com
SB Nation is previewing the 2011 season for all 32 teams and up today is the Seattle Seahawks.

Hugh Douglas: Jack Del Rio "needs to be punched in the face" | ProFootballTalk
Former NFL defensive end Hugh Douglas, who spent a year playing for Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville, says Del Rio’s handling of the quarterback situation is so shameful that physical violence would be justified.

NFL power rankings - Week 1
Here is an updated version of my NFL Power Rankings as we get ready for Week 1, which starts Thursday between the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints. I'll update my Power Rankings every Tuesday throughout the season. Previous ranking in parenthesis:

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