1-6-12: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Rams Interviewing Horton

FLAGSTAFF, AZ - AUGUST 04: Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton of the Arizona Cardinals watches practice during the team training camp at Northern Arizona University on August 4, 2011 in Flagstaff, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Time for todays links, including one on the Rams getting permission to interview Ray Horton for their HC job. Hopefully he stays right here though.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Cardinals' Horton to interview with Rams - ArizonaSports.com
Over the years of Ken Whisenhunt's tenure as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, there has been a lot of turnover with his coordinators. This year, Ray Horton became Whisenhunt's third defensive coordinator in his five years at the helm. And there's at least a possibility that Whisenhunt will need to search for another d-coordinator for the 2012 season.

Sources: Cardinals expected to talk with Todd Haley
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is expected to talk to former Chiefs coach Todd Haley about a position on the Cardinals coaching staff, according to NFL sources. Haley, the Cardinals offensive coordinator from 2007 through 2009, was fired by the Chiefs in December when the Chiefs had a 5-8 record. Haley was 19-27 as a head coach and his Chiefs team won the AFC West title in 2010. Haley and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt have been friends for years, and Haley was offensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009 when the Cardinals won consecutive NFC West titles. It's unknown what title Haley would have should he return to the Cardinals, but he likely would be placed in charge of the offense again.

Arizona Cardinals coaches analyze, evaluate season
It doesn't take hours of video analysis to determine, in general, the Cardinals' weaknesses in 2011. The NFL keeps statistics and ranks teams on such things. And judging by sold-out crowds and television ratings, many viewed the flaws live and/or in HD. On offense, the Cardinals were poor at converting on third down, scoring points and avoiding turnovers. They were inconsistent in both running and passing. On defense, they didn't force enough turnovers, yielded far too many big plays and didn't perform well at the goal line. But general impressions are not what coaches are seeking when reviewing video from the 8-8 season. They wanted specifics. Why, exactly, were they so bad on third down? Did they rely too much on certain plays? Were they asking players to do what they couldn't? Were there players who performed better or worse depending upon situations and play calls? Why did they give up too many long pass plays? Poor pass rush? Bad technique in the secondary? Poor play calls?

Word From the Birds Blog - Adding bodies for the offseason
The Cardinals added nine players to the offseason roster Wednesday, signing them to "futures" deals. That included six from the Cards’ practice squad: C Ryan Bartholomew, CB Korey Lindsey, DT Ricky Lumpkin, RB William Powell, TE Steve Skelton and LB Quan Sturdivant (WR Jaymar Johnson, the seventh member of the practice squad, was not signed). The Cardinals also brought in three new players: G Chris Stewart, who spent a little time with the Jets last season;, pass-rushing linebacker Antonio Coleman, who spent time with the Bills and Giants (and is pictured below); and tight end Martell Webb, who was briefly with the Eagles, Jets and Bucs.

Word From the Birds Blog - Talk of Haley’s return, and Keim’s future
Everyone was wondering – including me – if the Cardinals would have interest in bringing back Todd Haley to the coaching staff. Well, apparently there is. Kent Somers reported tonight Ken Whisenhunt will talk to Haley about coming back. There are no openings as of now, but that obviously can change quickly — and there also is nothing that says the Cards can’t just add another coach to the staff. It would make sense that Haley would come back to run the offense, but if that happened, I don’t know how offensive coordinator Mike Miller fits into the equation. Right now, Miller is OC, while assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm has a say in the running game and, of course, Whisenhunt has an offensive background.

Word From the Birds Blog - Talk of Haley’s return, and Keim’s future
Everyone was wondering – including me – if the Cardinals would have interest in bringing back Todd Haley to the coaching staff. Well, apparently there is. Kent Somers reported tonight Ken Whisenhunt will talk to Haley about coming back. There are no openings as of now, but that obviously can change quickly — and there also is nothing that says the Cards can’t just add another coach to the staff. It would make sense that Haley would come back to run the offense, but if that happened, I don’t know how offensive coordinator Mike Miller fits into the equation. Right now, Miller is OC, while assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm has a say in the running game and, of course, Whisenhunt has an offensive background.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Evaluating Haley's possible return
It's not a surprise the Cardinals plan to talk to Todd Haley about returning to run the offense. The Cardinals were at their offensive peak in 2008 when they went to the Super Bowl with Haley calling plays and coordinating the offense.

Chat wrap: Interest in Packers' Matt Flynn - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mackay from Utah says he's taking heat for saying Arizona's Daryl Washington is better than San Francisco's NaVorro Bowman. He's a Cardinals fan seeking an second opinion.

Rams to interview Ray Horton | ProFootballTalk
Another name has surfaced in the St. Louis Rams’ head coaching search: Ray Horton. The Rams have received permission from the Cardinals to interview Horton, Arizona’s defensive coordinator, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

Were the Cardinals guilty of 'extra stuff'? - ArizonaSports.com
Many thought the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks would just play nice in their season finale last Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium. After all, both teams had been eliminated from playoff contention and were playing mostly for pride...and second place in the NFC West, for whatever that's worth. But credit goes to both teams, they played hard for well over 60 minutes, with the Cardinals winning 23-20 in overtime. Things got chippy along the way, and Seahawks' coach Pete Carroll came out and accused the Cardinals of doing some "extra stuff" to Seattle runnning back Marshawn Lynch at the bottom of piles.

Division 'honors' for four Cardinals - ArizonaSports.com
The Arizona Cardinals aren't headed to the playoffs despite going 7-2 over their last nine games, but today, four players received "honors" from NFC West blogger Mike Sando of ESPN.

Whisenhunt: Wells sat Sunday in preparation for future - ArizonaSports.com
Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells was able to battle through a right-knee injury and gain 1,047 yards this season, but Coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to sit him out the last game of the season on Sunday. However, the coach said Wells got a lot out of his 2011 season.

Larry Fitzgerald one of 2011's top offensive players - ArizonaSports.com
If you're anything like us, chances are you never get tired of hearing about Larry Fitzgerald's greatness. Easily the Cardinals' best player, the Pro Bowler just finished up an 80 catch, 1,411 yard and eight touchdown season, and his impact truly goes beyond just the stats.

2011 PFF Offensive Player of the Year | ProFootballFocus.com
#5, Larry Fitzgerald: Larry Fitzgerald may have achieved more, while working with less, than anybody else on this list. To record 1,411 yards and eight touchdowns on his 80 receptions with the quarterback duo of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton throwing at him is truly remarkable. Fitzgerald amassed more yardage and touchdowns than the rest of the Arizona wide receivers put together and did it on 34 fewer receptions than they combined for. The fact that Arizona finished the season at .500 owes a huge debt to Fitzgerald’s consistent quality, and his season is being largely overlooked because Arizona’s 1-6 start rendered them done from an early stage. Fitzgerald has every trait you look for in the perfect receiver, and remains an All-Pro caliber player year-in, year-out.

Season-Wrap Live Chat
Recap of the chat with Darren Urban

Exit Interviews with Jeremy Bridges
OL Jeremy Bridges took control of the microphone to ask some of his teammates the hard hitting questions most journalists wouldn't dare ask on the final day of player availability. (or care to for that matter)

Arizona Sports News:

ASU basketball suspends Keala King, Chris Colvin, Kyle Cain for games against USC, UCLA
Arizona State will be without three key players for tonight's road contest at USC. Starters Keala King and Kyle Cain, along with reserve guard Chris Colvin, have been suspended for "unacceptable conduct" and did not make the trip to Los Angeles. Their status will be revisited next week, which means they also will miss Saturday's contest against UCLA.

Shorthanded ASU basketball pulls out victory at USC
Despite three players being suspended, the Sun Devils overcame their woes at the Galen Center in a 62-53 win against USC.

Travis Wear, UCLA hand Arizona basketball first Pac-12 loss
Shortly after the Arizona Wildcats spotted Josh Smith sitting out UCLA's pregame warmups Thursday, UA coach Sean Miller sent out a quick warning. "He told us the other guys would play better," UA guard Josiah Turner said. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Miller was right. Without the 300-pound-plus Smith, UCLA turned instead to David and Travis Wear for 34 points, and the Bruins beat Arizona 65-58 at Honda Center.

Controversial goal propels Kings past Coyotes in overtime
The Los Angeles Kings have been leaving goalie Jonathan Quick very little room for error the past six weeks because of their struggles to score. They finally got a goal 38 seconds into overtime from defenseman Drew Doughty during a goalmouth scramble Thursday night, and Quick tied a career best with his NHL-leading sixth shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Report: Brock Osweiler to leave ASU early to enter NFL draft
Reports surfaced Thursday that junior quarterback Brock Osweiler has decided to leave Arizona State and declare for the NFL draft. Sources indicate that Osweiler is indeed leaning toward that direction, but as of Thursday night, Osweiler's father, John, said in a text message that his son is 'going over some last-minute details" and that the family hopes to announce a decision Friday.

NFL News:

2011 All-NFC West Offense - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A look at my all-NFC West picks for the 2011 season, beginning with the offense:

2011 All-NFC West Defense - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A look at my all-NFC West picks for the 2011 season, continuing with the defense:

NFL Playoffs: Who To Root For Now That Your Favorite Team's Long Gone - SBNation.com
It's Wild Card weekend and the 2012 NFL playoffs are here. But your favorite team isn't. That means it's time to pick someone to root for during the next month, and we're here to help.

Help Wanted: Which NFL Head Coaching Vacancy Is The Most Desirable? - SBNation.com
There are five NFL head coaching jobs available. Which one is the best? SB Nation bloggers take a look at each available job and state their case as to why it's the top one available.

What's In An NFL Playoff Seed: The Success Rate Of Each Over The Years - SBNation.com
The NFL has used a 12-team postseason format for over 20 years now. Here, we examine what those 20 years can tell us about the nature of each playoff seed, and uncover a sea change of sorts in recent years.

2011 PFF Rookie of the Year | ProFootballFocus.com
If you’re an avid Pro Football Focus reader, you’ll know that each week we’ve produced an article focusing on the 2011 draft class. It was our Race for Rookie of the Year series and after 17 weeks of hectic action, that race ended as the regular season did.

If the NFL embraced the BCS instead of these silly playoffs … - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
The holidays have passed, but there's no more important time to give thanks than right now, because we, as NFL fans, have playoffs. The alternative, the system that our semi-pro league uses, has provided some fun along the way (specifically, 70), but is generally useless. To illustrate how much we have to be thankful for, I thought we might take a look at what the NFL postseason would look like if the NFL used the Bowl Championship Series. Here we go.

Jenkins: Sanchez should "grow a pair," stop posing for magazines | ProFootballTalk
Former Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins has joined the piling on in New York.

Romo kicking himself over pass beyond the line of scrimmage | ProFootballTalk
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had both a brilliant play and a dumb play on the same play in Sunday night’s loss to the Giants, and afterward he was kicking himself over it.

Saints DC Greg Williams And The Naked Truth About Interceptions - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator has a big game to get ready for this weekend. His team hosts the Detroit Lions on Saturday in the NFC Wild Card opener. Speaking to the press today, Williams touched on the struggles of his unit to come up with interceptions recently, evoking a long-standing debate about a popular, misunderstood colloquialism.

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