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12-23-10: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings

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Your links for today.

Perfect To Play The Cowboys
Skelton not a Dallas fan; Whiz says "important" to keep Fitz

Porter not done, Anderson returns, a sellout
Turns out LB Joey Porter’s triceps injury is a strain and not a full tear as coach Ken Whisenhunt first feared. So Porter will rehab. He was out Wednesday and frankly, I will be surprised if he can make it back for Saturday, but the finale, perhaps. Whisenhunt said Porter already is feeling better, so who knows. LB O’Brien Schofield would get the chance to start in Porter’s place, an amazing turn of events considering where Schofield was earlier this season rehabbing from knee surgery. RB LaRod Stephens-Howling did pull a hamstring and sat Wednesday. Whisenhunt said he wasn’t sure The Hyphen will be back for Saturday either, but he’s not being ruled out. Quarterback Derek Anderson was finally back on a limited basis, but Whisenhunt wouldn’t declare him the No. 2 before seeing how practice goes this week. Even if Anderson is healthy, I won’t be surprised if they keep Rich Bartel as the No. 2, so if a change has to be made, they can take a look at Bartel. The game Saturday, by the way, is officially a sellout. It will be televised on NFL Network and, locally, also over the air on KUTP MY45/Ch. 9.

Future Gains
It was during warm-ups a game or two ago when Daryl Washington – just a rookie himself – huddled with fellow linebackers O’Brien Schofield, Reggie Walker and Cyril Obiozor. "Hey, this might be the future out here," Washington told his teammates. "It could be the future, so let’s take this serious, really think about that. Focus your mind on ‘What if?’ " Less what-if than reality right now, the Cardinals will see what they could have at linebacker Saturday against Dallas. Injuries and age dictate it must be so.

Larry Fitzgerald prefers Arizona Cardinals, but wants to win - ESPN
Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is just 14 yards shy of his fifth career 1,000-yard receiving season, quite an accomplishment considering the Cardinals are next to last in the NFL in passing offense. It's little solace for a player with one more year on his contract, the face of a franchise that the Cardinals dearly want to keep.

Arizona Cardinals' John Skelton no fan of Dallas Cowboys
Growing up in El Paso, Cardinals quarterback John Skelton couldn't escape Cowboys fans, but that doesn't mean he joined them. While some of Skelton's friends and his mother were Dallas fans, Skelton sided with his father, who is from Oklahoma and dislikes everything Cowboys.

Arizona Cardinals' O'Brien Schofield hoping to contribute
Like anyone who has spent time in front of a classroom, Cardinals linebackers coach Matt Raich routinely encourages students to ask questions if something is not clear. And like any teacher, Raich knows some students will never raise their hands. That's not rookie O'Brien Schofield. A fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin, Schofield is the kid in class with his hand in the air, the one who will stay late just to make sure he understands the material. - Cardinals could have plenty of QB options
Our sources in the desert told us before his first pro start in Week 14 that they didn't think there was anything John Skelton would do the rest of the season to keep the Cardinals from making a new starting quarterback for next season their top priority.

NFC West: Injury situations that matter - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona: Quarterback Derek Anderson returned to practice following a concussion, but John Skelton remains the starter. It's not yet clear whether Anderson will be the No. 2. The Cardinals placed third receiver Early Doucet on injured reserve. They could also be without return specialist and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who is battling a hamstring injury. Both players play significant roles on offense for Arizona. The team likes to use Stephens-Howling and fullback Jason Wright with three wide receivers, including Doucet, on second down in particular. On defense, the Cardinals could be without veteran pass-rusher Joey Porter. This might be a good time to take a longer look at rookie O'Brien Schofield, anyway.

Cardinals Underground Podcast (DAL Preview)
Paul Calvisi, Darren Urban, and Ron Wolfley review the Panthers game and preview the Cowboys game.

Video Gallery
Cards spread holiday cheer

Video Gallery
Skelton on Cowboys; Whis updates injuries

Pro Bowl balloting: NFC West leaders - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Fan balloting for the Pro Bowl has closed. The chart shows NFC West players who finished among the top five at their positions. Players and coaches vote next. The NFL announces teams next week.

How I See It: NFC West Stock Watch - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Young Cardinals defenders. Yes, the Cardinals allowed another 100-yard rusher. Yes, they lost to the Carolina Panthers. But there were positive signs from second-year defensive end Calais Campbell and rookie linebacker Daryl Washington. Campbell had 11 tackles, four for losses and a sack. Washington had six tackles, two for losses, a week after picking off a pass. blogs - Kent Somers - Wednesday injury update
Outside linebacker Joey Porter suffered a strained right triceps last Sunday, and while he missed practice Wednesday, he has not been ruled out of the Cowboys game. It was feared that Porter had suffered a severe tear, so having a strain was a pleasant surprise for Porter and the Cardinals. Porter told coaches he felt better Wednesday than the previous two days. If Porter can't start, rookie O'Brien Schofield will. Coach Ken Whisenhunt didn't sound optimistic that running back/kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling would play this week. LSH has a strained hamstring and it sounds as if he could miss this game. The hope would be that he could play in the season finale in San Francisco. Quarterback Derek Anderson practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion on Dec. 5 against the Rams. His availability will depend upon how he feels after increasing his work load this week. It has not been determined if he will be the backup to John Skelton or the No. 3 quarterback. - Cardinals place Early Doucet on IR
The 2010 season was suppose to be a break out one for Arizona Cardinals' wide receiver Early Doucet, instead it was one that ended prematurely. - Quick Facts: Arizona vs. Dallas
The Arizona Cardinals will be looking to rebound from last week's loss by taking on the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas.

Cardinals report (12.22): Return to the spotlight
In what appeared to be a highly attractive game when the schedule was released, Christmas night’s game in Arizona will feature two disappointing teams. Both the Cardinals and Cowboys are out of the postseason race, and Saturday’s contest has been diminished to a battle of finishing strong. For the second time this season, Arizona will play in front of a primetime audience. Despite an embarrassing performance on Monday Night Football earlier this year against the 49ers, coach Ken Whisenhunt and company relish the opportunity for redemption on the national stage.

Cardinals report (12.20): Mistakes a product of inexperience
The Cardinals’ 2010 campaign hit a new low on Sunday with a 19-12 loss to the Panthers, owners of the NFL's worst record at 2-12. Arizona mustered only 218 yards of total offense and held the ball for just over 23 minutes, giving themselves little chance of pulling out a second straight victory. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has stressed that effort hasn’t been an issue this season, and with very little progress being made, his team’s talent level is now coming under question.

Dear Santa: A wish list from the naughty
Dear Santa: It’s the Arizona Cardinals here. You probably know this already, but we’ve been bad this year. Really bad.

Report: QB Troy Smith to start for 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams - ESPN
Quarterback Troy Smith will start for the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday's pivotal NFC West game against the St. Louis Rams, two sources told The San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday.

Shaun Hill on track to return for Lions; Stafford unlikely to play again | ProFootballTalk
The Lions have stubbornly refused to place Matthew Stafford on injured reserve following his second shoulder injury this year, but coach Jim Schwartz sounds like he’s losing hope. He ruled Stafford out of this week’s game on Wednesday, which was a change from his usual routine of leaving the door open. Stafford reportedly looked "particularly glum" in the locker room, according to the Detroit News.

Roddy White takes aim at the Saints | ProFootballTalk
Falcons receiver Roddy White took to Twitter on Wednesday regarding Monday night’s game against the Saints. Though it has been rendered largely meaningless by the fact that the Falcons need only to beat the Panthers on January 2 to win the division and lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, White is fired up about the fact that people are "mad for the saints."

Rex tells players he’s "embarrassed" by videos | ProFootballTalk
Jets coach Rex Ryan won’t talk publicly about a series of YouTube videos featuring his wife, her feet, and in at least one of them the apparent voice of Rex himself. The party line? It’s a "personal matter." Rex used that phrase in comments to both the Chicago and New York media on Wednesday. The team’s initial statement included those words, and a statement from G.M. Mike Tannenbaum reiterated the position.

Browns' front office tells off a complaining fan in a 1974 letter - Shutdown Corner - NFL  - Yahoo! Sports
The Cleveland Scene somehow got a hold of a 36-year-old correspondence between a Browns season-ticket holder and the team's front office. What follows is customer service at its best

Minnesota Vikings prepare Joe Webb to start in place of Brett Favre - ESPN
As the Minnesota Vikings have been reminded this season, ruling Brett Favre out is never easy. He managed to make it in Monday night's game after the final injury report declared him out, let alone all the other weeks just this year when his status was unclear until the final hours. That's why Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier is still holding a spot in the starting lineup for the 41-year-old, soon-to-be-retired quarterback in case he recovers quickly from the concussion that knocked him out of the game against the Bears.

Skull fracture could force Baltimore Ravens' Sergio Kindle to miss another season - ESPN
Baltimore Ravens rookie linebacker Sergio Kindle might be forced to miss a second straight season in 2011 because of the uncertain status of his fractured skull.

Chad Ochocinco needs offseason surgery to remove bone spurs in ankle - ESPN
The Cincinnati Bengals' self-described dynamic duo is down to one for the rest of the season, and even that might be pushing it. Chad Ochocinco isn't going quietly, however.

Which Smith is best 49ers' best QB choice? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
If the San Francisco 49ers indeed go with Troy Smith at quarterback, as reported would be the case Sunday, I can certainly understand why.