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10-5-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Kolb's Comfort

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 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Time for todays links, including a look at the pocket presence of Kevin Kolb.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Kolb's Comfort Zone
Quarterback's pocket presence will take time to develop

Word From the Birds Blog - Finishing in the red zone
The Cardinals know they would have won Sunday if, in one example, they would have finished better in the red zone early. Not to pick at a scab, but a quick recap — the first three possessions ended at the Giants’ 9-yard line, the 17 and then the 9 again. Sandwiched between two field goals (and a 6-0 instead of a 14-0 lead) was a lost fumble, costing the Cards at least three points. The Cardinals did finish much stronger however. They made three more red-zone trips the rest of the game, with Beanie Wells jamming in TD runs each time, from the 1, 1 and 2. When it comes to the red zone, it’s more about the Cards getting there more often than it will be about scoring touchdowns I’d think; the six red-zone trips against New York were one more than the Cardinals had in their first three games combined.

Arizona Cardinals' drafting of Levi Brown still hot topic
The Cardinals play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, triggering a clause in the new collective-bargaining agreement that requires a look back at the top of the 2007 draft. Or maybe it just seems that way, because the Cardinals took offensive tackle Levi Brown with the fifth overall pick and the Vikings selected running back Adrian Peterson with the seventh. Answering questions about that draft has been an annual ritual for Brown and the Cardinals, mostly because this will be the fourth consecutive year in which the teams have played. For a few years, the Cardinals tried to run a prevent defense of that draft-day selection.

Outside the huddle: Cardinals nose tackle David Carter
Each week, The Republic spotlights a Cardinals player for a series of on-the-spot, off-beat questions.

2011 Cardinals Week 4: Five observations - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Five things I noticed while watching the Arizona Cardinals during their 31-27 home defeat to the New York Giants:

For Beanie Wells, the only thing that's changed is opportunity -
Beanie Wells showed promise as a rookie, rushing for 793 yards and seven touchdowns for a team that went to the playoffs. However, his second season with the Cardinals didn't go so well, as the former Ohio State star picked up just 397 yards and two touchdowns, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. Needless to say, the fact that he's on pace to surpass last year's total by Week 5 of this season gives the impression that something has changed with the runner.

Coaching miscues, lack of execution haunting Cardinals -
The Arizona Cardinals don't know how to run out the clock. They can't run a screen pass, either. Both issues have cost them this season. Whatever the reason for the latest loss, fans make it a point to find someone to blame. It was the defense in Week 2, the offense in Week 3 and, it would seem, the coaching staff in Week 4. But anyone looking for significant changes is going to be sorely disappointed.

Arizona Sports News:

Paul Goldschmidt's grand slam leads Diamondbacks
The calls started from a section behind the backstop and began before he had even stepped to the plate, Paul Goldschmidt's name being chanted in a cadence borrowed from a vulgar phrase. Gold-schmidt, Gold-schmidt, Gold-schmidt. The legend of the rookie slugger's power already was well known in these parts, and what he did next only added another glowing chapter to his storybook season. Goldschmidt's fifth-inning, two-out, two-strike grand slam sent Chase Field into a frenzy, helping the Diamondbacks to a 8-1 victory in what was a win-or-go-home Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

NBA cancels entire 114-game preseason schedule
he NBA canceled the remainder of the preseason Tuesday and will wipe out the first two weeks of the regular season if there is no labor agreement by Monday.

Phoenix Mercury's Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor earn All-WNBA honors
Mercury guard Diana Taurasi was named to the All-WNBA First Team and Mercury forward Penny Taylor was named to the All-WNBA Second Team, the league announced Tuesday.

NFL News:

NFL Week 4, Best And Worst Plays: Megatron Wins, Romo Loses -
From Calvin Johnson's game-winning touchdown catch to Tony Romo's second-half implosion, here are the top-five best and worst plays of Week 4 of the 2011 NFL season.

2011 Week 4: NFC West game changers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Go ahead and take Justin Smith's hustle play to force a game-saving fumble in Week 4 as evidence the San Francisco 49ers are going all-out for new coach Jim Harbaugh. Just understand that Smith, nicknamed "Cowboy" and referred to as "a John Wayne kind of guy around our building" by Harbaugh himself, has been playing that way for a long time. Smith's hustling play to track down Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin and force him to fumble proved pivotal during the 49ers' 24-23 victory Sunday. That play headlines our weekly list from ESPN Stats & Information singling out the five plays with the greatest impact on win probability. Four of the five most pivotal plays from Week 4 involved NFC West teams. Those and one other -- James Laurinaitis' interception for the St. Louis Rams -- appear in the chart.

2011 Seahawks Week 4: Five observations - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Five things I noticed while watching the Seattle Seahawks during their 30-28 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4:

NFL power rankings - Week 5
Here is an updated version of NFL Power Rankings as we get ready for Week 5. I'll update them every Tuesday throughout the season. Previous rankings in parenthesis:

Saints Stadium To Be Called Mercedes-Benz Superdome -
The Saints and Mercedes-Benz agreed on a 10-year naming rights deal this week, the team and car company announced. news: NFC Least: Division has failed to deliver on high expectations
I'm not buying the NFC East this season. I know there's a ton of history, star players and big media markets involved, but I have yet to see any empirical evidence as to why any of these teams should be feared. In fact, the division has given us an array of quarterback meltdowns and uneven performances and it seems as if someone is going to win it by default.

Where NFC West teams rank: Week 4 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Vince Verhei's Insider piece on the San Francisco 49ers' formula for winning focuses on turnovers, run defense and special teams. As Verhei notes, the 49ers have, so far, become under Jim Harbaugh the hard-nosed, conservative and opportunistic team Mike Singletary sought to build. Some of that flavor comes through in the weekly offensive and defensive rankings below. While the 49ers dropped 10 spots in yards allowed after their 24-23 victory over Philadelphia, their defense remains very strong against the run, on third down and in the red zone.

101ESPN St. Louis: Miklasz Show - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Bernie Miklasz and I spent our weekly 101ESPN St. Louis radio conversation exploring reasons for the Rams' collapse. We also discussed the San Francisco 49ers' fast start, the Seattle Seahawks' apparent improvement and the Arizona Cardinals' late-game troubles.

In Case You Wondering, Brett Favre Talked About Aaron Rodgers This Week - From Our Editors -
Aaron Rodgers is having a sensational season completing 73 percent of his passes and throwing 12 touchdowns to just two interceptions. This is really an extension of what he's been doing the past three years as the Packers starting quarterback, emerging into one of the league's best quarterbacks.

Favre: Rodgers 'fell into a good situation' - NFC North Blog - ESPN
It's been long enough since we’ve heard from Brett Favre, right? I say yes, and my vote counts more than yours.

Felix Jones forgot what down it was on Cowboys’ last play | ProFootballTalk
After a Calvin Johnson touchdown gave the Lions a 34-30 lead over the Cowboys on Sunday, Dallas still had time for one final drive, and on that drive the Cowboys quickly picked up a couple of first downs and got into Lions territory. But that drive came up short, ending with a boneheaded mistake by Cowboys running back Felix Jones. Although Tony Romo’s three-interception second half has been given the lion’s share of the blame for the Cowboys’ loss, Jones deserves some of the blame, too: On fourth-and-20 on the Cowboys’ final offensive play, Romo hit Jones with a short pass, and Jones did a nice job of breaking one tackle. And then he simply stepped out of bounds after gaining just seven yards. The Lions got the ball, kneeled down once, and that was the game. So what was Jones thinking?

Dolphins start looking for QBs as fears about Henne rise | ProFootballTalk
Chad Henne said Monday that he expects to start when the Dolphins return from their bye week. It just may not be that simple.

Andre Johnson Injury Update: John Clayton Reports Up To Three Week Absence -
John Clayton went on Sportscenter Tuesday and reported that Andre Johnson would definitely miss Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders and could miss upwards of two to three weeks after that. The Texans have not provided specific confirmation, but Clayton generally has solid sources. We'll learn a little bit more as the week progresses and the team starts issuing their practice participation reports on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

After Chad Henne's Injury, Dolphins Work Out Pair Of Quarterbacks -
The Miami Dolphins season could be going from bad to worse. Chad Henne suffered an injury to his non-throwing shoulder last Sunday and the Dolphins are concerned that it could threaten all or part of his season. They only have Matt Moore behind Henne so they'll need some reinforcements, quickly.

Chris Cooley Loves Seeing Tony Romo Choke - From Our Editors -
Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins on a fourth quarter field goal in Week 3, which lead to a million stories on Romo's "gutsy" performance after suffering rib and lung injuries earlier in the week. In Week 4, however, Romo was the goat as he threw three second half interceptions allowing the Detroit Lions to mount an incredible 24-point comeback. The person who enjoyed it the most seems to be Redskins TE Chris Cooley, who said on 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C. that he loved watching Romo choke the game away.

Max Starks Re-Signed By Pittsburgh Steelers To Shore Up Offensive Line -
Max Starks has spent all seven of his NFL seasons playing on the offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers. After being released during the preseason due to issues with his weight, the tackle listed at 6-foot-8, 345 pounds will find himself in Pittsburgh for an eighth season after being re-signed by the Steelers on Wednesday morning.

Cedric Benson Update: Suspension Likely Delayed Another Week -
According to of ESPN's Adam Shefter Twitter account, Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson is expected to be available for this weekend's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Benson was arrested during the lockout for assault, but it was unknown if players would be punished for their transgressions during the NFL owner imposed lockout. Benson was sentenced to 20 days in jail after pleading out to two misdemeanor assault instances in Texas. Benson wound up serving just 5 days right before the start of the NFL season.

Tim Tebow Jerseys Not As Popular As They Used To Be - From Our Editors -
Tim Tebow billboards may be selling at a good clip, but his jersey sales are in negative yardages, just like Tebow himself this season. During the offseason Tebow jerseys were among the top ten in sales. Now, he's number 24 on the list. Where did your favorite player fall on the list of the most popular jerseys, and how many Dallas Cowboys made the list in spite of more mercurial play?

VIDEO: Jon Stewart And The Daily Show On Hank Williams Jr. - From Our Editors -
Democrat or republican, we can all agree that nothing's more absurd than the 24/7 cable news cycle. So in that spirit, we present Tuesday night's Daily Show segment, where Jon Stewart manages to skewer two of the biggest names in the cable biz--first, Fox News, and then ESPN. And of course it all comes back to Hank Williams Jr. and that pesky little golf analogy.

Sacks: NFC West QBs have 58 of them - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Buffalo Bills did not suddenly field a roster packed with perennial Pro Bowl linemen. Their quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, has nonetheless taken only two sacks in 147 drop backs. I ran across this improbable stat when researching for the next MVP Watch item. It reinforced the idea that sacks, which are often drive killers, reflect so much more than a line's ability to prevent them. The list of players with the fewest sacks in a season (minimum 300 pass attempts) features almost exclusively players lacking the raw speed or athletic ability to avoid defenders. Dan Marino, Mark Rypien, Kerry Collins, Joey Harrington and Troy Aikman are the only players in the sack era (since 1982) with at least 300 attempts and fewer than 10 sacks in a season. The system a team runs, the receivers a team has and the decisions a quarterback makes also play prominently into the totals. We're seeing that in the NFC West through four games.

Favre’s broadcasting debut described as a flop | ProFootballTalk
On Saturday, former NFL quarterback Brett Favre embarked on a career that most have assumed he will eventually do on a full-time basis during football season: Talk about football on TV. But according to an account of Brett’s performance as an analyst for the game between Southern Miss and Rice, Favre at least for now doesn’t have the chops to do the job.