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10-20-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Changes On Offense

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Time for some links, with the biggest piece of news I saw being some slight revisions of the offense during the bye week.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Offensive Changes Part Of Bye Time
Notebook: Heap sits out practice; Looking back with Whiz and Big Ben

Arizona Cardinals alter offense in off week
The Cardinals used their off week to tweak their passing scheme, which, depending upon the point of view, is either akin to buying new tires for a car with no motor, or the critical adjustment that gets a classic out of the garage.

Chasing Roethlisberger
Cards must find way to sack Steelers QB when they have chance

Word From the Birds Blog - Old friends, new teams and trash talk
It happens all the time — two teams meet, and ex-teammates on each side end up with some good-natured smack talk before the game. It just doesn’t usually happen in the middle of the locker room. But there was Cardinals’ reserve defensive lineman Nick Eason Wednesday, about to do an interview, when his phone rang. The caller ID said it was Chris Hoke — a defensive lineman from the Steelers. Instead of letting it go to voice mail, Eason picked up. blogs - Kent Somers - On adding a second receiver
Larry Fitzgerald had some interesting comments in Dan Bickley's column today about the team's need for another receiver to take coverage away from Fitzgerald. "Right now, teams are saying, 'Fitzgerald is over here, we're not going to let him beat us. We're going to do whatever it takes to hold him down and not allow him to do that,'" Fitzgerald said. " In years, past, when I had 'Q,' even last year with Steve (Breaston), defenses approached it a little differently. There were times when I could find some (space). Now those times are few and far between." Many fans clamored this off-season for the Cardinals to add a proven receiver. The Cardinals elected to stick with Andre Roberts and Early Doucet. Let's take a look at the other options the team had in the off-season:

Super Bowl matchup just a memory for Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers
On Sunday, the Cardinals and Steelers will play each other for the first time since Super Bowl XLIII on Feb. 1, 2009. To both teams, that game seemed like it happened long ago.

Word From the Birds Blog - Some odds and ends
A couple of tidbits I wanted to put out there while waiting for practice:

Pittsburgh West? Many Cardinals have Steelers ties -
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a familiar team to many on the Arizona Cardinals staff. The Cardinals feature four players and seven coaches who at one point used to either play or coach for Sunday's opponent. Here's the list of all the former Steelers that are now employed by the Cards.

Kolb: 'We're all seeing it more and more clearly' -
They are not the best. They are not the worst. They are average, literally. The Cardinals passing attack through the first six weeks of the season ranks 16th out of 32 teams in yards (237.2) per game. That though---at least according to quarterback Kevin Kolb, is about to change.

Cardinals struggles on D not due to lack of blitzing -
When Ray Horton took over as defensive coordinator he promised to bring pressure on a consistent basis. While the defense as a whole has been largely ineffective, Horton himself has kept to his word.

NFC West: Injury situations that matter - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona: The Week 6 bye should serve the Cardinals well on the health front. A hamstring injury continues to sideline veteran tight end Todd Heap. Depth at tight end has been a strength for the Cardinals since the team added Heap, Jeff King and rookie Rob Housler. A fourth tight end, Jim Dray, returned to practice this week after recovering from a pectoral injury. The bye gave left guard Daryn Colledge (concussion) and right tackle Brandon Keith (knee) additional down time. Jeremy Bridges started the most recent game at right tackle. Joey Porter was limited in practice, presumably because the Cardinals want to keep him as fresh as possible. Porter has played nearly 80 percent of the defensive snaps this season.

Manning up: Short-yardage rushing mettle - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Coaches crave the ability to overpower an opponent when all parties know exactly what is coming. You line up your guys, we'll line up our guys and let's see which side wins. Short-yardage rushing situations provide one suitable testing ground. So far this season, the Seattle Seahawks stand tallest among NFC West teams in this area.

A closer look at the Cardinals' defense - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals' efforts to develop young players and integrate new ones on defense continues to stagnate. The reasons are simple to understand. First-year coordinator Ray Horton is installing a complex new system that would be tough for young players to absorb even with a full offseason. And the team's highest-priced defensive addition in free agency, inside linebacker Stewart Bradley, came from a vastly different system, so he was going to face a transition period as well. Finally, the Cardinals haven't done a great job drafting young personnel to fit their new system.

When NFC West teams send extra rushers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Good question from Roberto3138 in relation to the previous item about the Arizona Cardinals' defense. "Do you know what percent of plays the Cardinals have been rushing five or more, and how efficiently," he asked. "It seems the only real rush comes from the defensive ends, which on a 3-4 team, isn't that encouraging."

Not quite a Super rematch -
As Super Bowl rematches go, this one isn't quite so super. The Steelers edged the Cardinals 27-23 in 2009 in one of the more memorable NFL championships, with Santonio Holmes' tightrope-walking act in the back corner of the end zone giving Pittsburgh the winning score and its record sixth Super Bowl crown. That catch ended Arizona's stunning and sensational run to its first shot at a league title since 1948- when the Cardinals lived in Chicago and were blanked 7-0 by Philadelphia in the championship game.

Cards Daily - Prep for Pittsburgh Continues
After the bye week the focus of the Cardinals is squarely upon the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coach Whisenhunt and his players talk about the many connections between the two franchises.

Cardinals Underground - PIT Preview
Paul Calvisi, Ron Wolfley, and Darren Urban talk leadership, locker room chemistry, and preview the match-up with the Steelers.

NFL News:

Ronnie Brown Trade Voided: Where Do Eagles, Lions Go From Here? -
Ronnie Brown is still with the Philadelphia Eagles and Jerome Harrison remains with the Detroit Lions after a trade deadline deal was voided on Wednesday. The deal was reportedly nullified after something came up during Harrison's physical.

Sam Bradford Injury: Status Uncertain, Rams Say -
St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo was decided noncommittal when asked whether or not starting quarterback Sam Bradford would play this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Bradford did not practice today, and was not even near the field as he was required to keep his leg elevated. A.J. Feeley took all the reps with the first team at practice today.

Terrell Owens Is '100% Healthy' And Ready To Play Now, Drew Rosenhaus Says -
Ever since news surfaced that free agent Terrell Owens had torn his ACL earlier this summer, he's maintained that he's working out in an effort to return to the field. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that Owens is 100 percent healthy and ready to play now.

Tarvaris Jackson Injury: Seahawks Giving First Team Snaps To Charlie Whitehurst -
Seattle Seahawks No. 2 quarterback Charlie Whitehurst will get the first-team reps in practice this week, head coach Pete Carroll said during his weekly press conference on Wednesday.

John Beck, Carson Palmer, Tim Tebow Among New Starting QBs In Week 7 - From Our Editors -
The quarterback position in the 2011 NFL season has been oddly consistent for the first few weeks. In fact, through the first five weeks of the season, 30 of the 32 NFL teams had started the same quarterback for every game, which was an NFL record (previous high was 27 in 2003).

Mike Wallace Injury: Steelers WR Has Good Chance To Play -
The Pittsburgh Steelers expect wide receiver Mike Wallace to play this weekend. Wallace missed Wednesday's practice with a hamstring issue, but a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that Wallace was the most likely of the Steelers' walking wounded to see action this week. Pittsburgh travels to Arizona needing a win to keep pace with Cincinnati and Baltimore in the dead heat atop the AFC North.

Rex Ryan, Norv Turner And Mythical Championship Arguments - From Our Editors -
Coach fight! No, not Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz, which fell under the "tussle" category last weekend. Instead, it's Rex Ryan -- of course it's Rex Ryan -- and San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner engaging in a bit of a war of words. Ryan tends to push buttons, something he's been great at during his tenure at the helm of the New York Jets, and Turner didn't take too kindly to what was said this week.

Steve Young Videobombs Rick Reilly, Is Just A Kid Out There - From Our Editors -
I'm not a fan of Rick Reilly's cliche-filled features on ESPN, and I'm not sure how many people are. But ahead of Monday night's matchup between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, Reilly's latest feature took a turn for the awesome. As Reilly was busy waxing poetically about Darrelle Revis and his island, Steve Young made a sudden, unexpected appearance in the frame, inadvertently videobombing his colleague.

Some fear Luck could make a power play | ProFootballTalk
As the "Suck for Luck" campaign moves from simmer toward full boil, there’s a caveat. If sucking for Luck creates the impression that the franchise sucks too badly, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck could make an Eli Manning-style power play.