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12-16-10: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings

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More links, including a story about how many passes have been dropped this year. Looking at how few drops there were when Warner was here, and how many there are now, I'm pinning that on just bad accuracy by the QBs.

Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers have similar problems
The Cardinals and Panthers are separated by a continent and little else, so when they meet for their reunion Sunday in Charlotte, N.C., they can commiserate like cousins who have both gone broke. Just two years ago, the teams met in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Panthers were 12-4, coming off a first-round bye, and the Cardinals, dubbed the worst team in playoff history, were fresh from upsetting the Falcons. Today, both teams are last in their divisions and haven't identified a quarterback who can lead them back to prosperity.

Looking To Be On Target
Skelton works on accuracy; The fine line of LSH's workload - Cardinals couldn't be happier with PK Feely
The word on Jay Feely is that the Cardinals' placekicker had already proven to be a big-time hit with his new teammates and coaches before pulling off the second-most prodigious PK performance in league history in Week 14 with his 25-point output (five field goals ranging from 23 to 55 yards, four extra points and an unlikely five-yard TD run on a fake field goal) in Arizona's 43-13 victory over Denver.

Help me help you
John Skelton said he just wanted to throw more completions as his life as NFL starter heads into a second week. That makes sense, but it really needs to be a two-way street. It was difficult to see the Cards’ game last weekend and not notice the early drops, which put Skelton into an 0-for-7 hole as a passer. There is little question each side has to back the other in this equation The Cards’ pass catchers do seem to have dropped more passes this season than normal (think Steve Breaston’s long incompletion last Sunday or Larry Fitzgerald’s TD drop against the 49ers). In fact, according to STATS, LLC, the Cards have had the greatest percentage of dropped passes this season (12.7) than any other team in the league. Sunday’s opponent, Carolina, is next (11.2) and then surprisingly, New England (10.4). According to STATS, Breaston has seven drops this season, Fitzgerald four and Early Doucet four (and running back Tim Hightower 5). The Cards are listed with 33 total drops.

Toler learns the ups and downs of life on the corner
As a cornerback in the NFL, finding yourself alone on an island isn’t uncommon. In fact it’s the norm. Cornerback is one of the most visible positions on the field and causes for a great deal of criticism when things go wrong. Now in the tail end of his second season, Greg Toler knows this all too well.

Anderson still out and a post-practice update
Quarterback Derek Anderson remains sidelined with concussion symptoms, a moot point in one way since John Skelton was going to start regardless but now something that has to be a concern. No matter how you feel about his play, having a concussion knock a guy out into a second week is scary. Seven players were limited today, including two newcomers from last week’s group. Running back Beanie Wells said he is "trying" to get past the leftovers of what took him out of the game Sunday (and since I apparently have been afflicted with an illness myself — thanks, son — let me say working in this environment not so much fun). Linebacker O’Brien Schofield also was limited with a hamstring injury, but I don’t expect any of these to cause a problem Sunday.

Cardinals report (12.13): Skelton gets teammates 'fired up'
Positives have been hard to come by during the Cardinals’ 2010 campaign, but Sunday’s 43-13 victory over Denver was a step in the right direction. Arizona displayed a much more balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball and benefited from a renewed enthusiasm from the defense. blogs - Kent Somers - Wednesday afternoon notes
Quarterback Derek Anderson is still experiencing concussion symptoms 10 days after suffering one against the Rams. Anderson didn't practice Wednesday, and there is no timetable for his return. The hope is that he can increase his physical activity this week and be symptom free. John Skelton will start this week and Richard Bartel will back him up until Anderson is ready. Seven other Cardinals were limited in Wednesday's practice, including running back Beanie Wells, who hasn't recovered from an illness that limited him in last Sunday's game. The other six players are: WR Steve Breaston (knee), DE Calais Campbell (ankle), K Jay Feely (groin), LB Clark Haggans (groin), LB Joey Porter (knee) and LB O'Brien Schofield (hamstring). Defensive end Kenny Iwebema was in the locker room this afternoon, one month after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL and some meniscus.

Cardinals Underground Podcast (CAR Preview)
Paul Calvisi, Darren Urban, and Ron Wolfley review the win vs Denver and preview the Panthers game!

Video Gallery
Skelton on debut; Whis on expanding playbook

Phoenix Suns pull away from Minnesota Timberwolves late
The Suns pulled off a surprise victory Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Sure, the 128-122 win at US Airways Center was expected against one of the NBA's worst teams. The Timberwolves have one road win this season and were coming off a loss Tuesday at Golden State. Ending a three-game skid was expected. Jason Richardson busting out of a slump for 24 first-half points was not all that shocking. Channing Frye was just doing his thing when he tied a career high with seven 3-pointers, including five in the fourth quarter when his return shifted the momentum. Steve Nash playing well on four days' rest is no stunner, although 19 assists is gargantuan even for him. The surprise was that the Suns (12-12), the NBA's worst total rebounding percentage team, outworked the Timberwolves (6-20), the top total rebounding percentage team, 46-39 for only its fourth rebounding edge of the season.

Ilya Kovalchuk scores 2, Martin Brodeur and New Jersey Devils top Phoenix Coyotes
Ilya Kovalchuk broke out of a drought with two goals, and Martin Brodeur made 29 saves as the New Jersey Devils snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Coyotes on Wednesday night.

Feely for governor
Jay Feely has political aspirations when his playing career ends. If the staunch conservative were to announce his candidacy today, he’d probably outpoll tongue-tied Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

NFC West: Injury situations that matter - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona: Concussion symptoms continue to sideline quarterback Derek Anderson, leaving Richard Bartel as the backup to rookie starter John Skelton. The Cardinals no longer planned for Anderson to start even if he were healthy, but they could certainly use him for depth. Skelton is making his second start. Bartel has practiced with the team for about a week. Running back Beanie Wells practiced Wednesday despite still suffering from the illness that limited him against Denver. Tim Hightower's 148-yard, two-touchdown performance against Denver gives Wells additional incentive, should he need any. - Skelton prepares for first road start
John Skelton, after winning his first NFL start, will make his first NFL road start this Sunday when the Arizona Cardinals visit the Carolina Panthers. "I'll have more chance to prepare," the rookie quarterback said of his first road start. "I'll get to watch film on the plane ride over and in the hotel room. It'll be different but a good experience too."

Grading NFL defenses after the catch - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The San Francisco 49ers tossed three touchdown passes against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. None of the passes were thrown to the end zone. A running back (Brian Westbrook), tight end (Vernon Davis) and wide receiver (Josh Morgan) gained most of their yardage on these plays with the football in their hands. Westbrook ran 43 yards after the catch for his 62-yard touchdown. Davis ran 29 yards after the catch for his 42-yard score. Morgan ran 9 yards after the catch for his 15-yarder. The 81 yards San Francisco gained after the catch on those three pass plays went on the Seahawks' defensive tab. They now rank last in yards gained after the catch, on average, based on charting by ESPN Stats & Information. The differences per team might seem small, but they add up over hundreds of receptions.

Tim Hasselbeck analyzes Bradford, big bro - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Tim Hasselbeck's conversation with Bob Stelton of 101ESPN St. Louis counts as a must-listen for those seeking insights on Sam Bradford and, more tellingly, what's happening with Tim's brother in Seattle.

Bo Scaife says locker room "divided up" over Vince Young | ProFootballTalk
The man who recently coined a new term involving the initials of his exiled quarterback has now declared the existence of a Minnesota-style schism over the player’s status with the team.

Kyle Orton doesn’t throw at practice, but Broncos say he’s the starter | ProFootballTalk
Tim Tebow Fever continue to rise in Denver Wednesday with the news that Tebow and Brady Quinn split practice reps with the Broncos first team. According to the Denver Post, Kyle Orton didn’t throw at the portion of practice witnessed by the media because of a "sore" arm. Broncos interim head coach Eric Studesville insisted earlier in the day that Orton was his starting quarterback. Orton said that his arm was fine.

NFL Playoff Picture: Charts And Graphs Indicate That Your Team Will Probably Lose -
Is 9-7 good enough to reach the playoffs? Do top seeds have an easier strength of schedule? Does point differential matter? Here is a series of fancy charts which may or may not convince you to hate the postseason.

New York Jets suspend Sal Alosi indefinitely for ordering wall - ESPN New York
The New York Jets have suspended Sal Alosi indefinitely after the team got "new information" that the strength and conditioning coach "instructed" five players to stand in a wall before he tripped Dolphins player Nolan Carroll on Sunday.

Bears may protest playing at TCF Bank Stadium | ProFootballTalk
Our good friend Paul Allen of KFAN, who serves on the weekend as the play-by-play voice of the Vikings, has mentioned on his daily radio show that the Chicago Bears may be preparing to file a protest of some sort regarding the shifting of the Monday night game against the Bears from the Metrodome to TCF Bank Stadium, given that the field at the open-air venue will be frozen. Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has heard the same thing. Bears safety Chris Harris has complained about the situation on his Twitter page: "Players have concerns of traction n the impact of falling on surface that could be as hard as asphalt. What if ur head hits it."

Cleveland Browns to start QB Colt McCoy for rest of season - ESPN
Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini named rookie quarterback Colt McCoy the starter for their upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bengals and for the remainder of the 2010 season Thursday.

Source: Minnesota Vikings backup QB Tarvaris Jackson to IR - ESPN
If Brett Favre can't play Monday night against the Chicago Bears, the Minnesota Vikings won't be turning to backup Tarvaris Jackson as his replacement. The team placed Jackson on injured reserve Thursday with a turf toe injury, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.