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11-15-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Defense Shines

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Time for some more links, including stuff on the QB controversy, the improvement of the Defense, and our old buddies Matt Leinart and Tyler Palko taking over with the Texans and Chiefs after injuries to their starters.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Will Cardinals' win over Eagles resurrect Arizona's season?
It's obvious the Eagles didn't take the Cardinals seriously. One Philadelphia reporter insisted Andy Reid wouldn't have benched star receiver DeSean Jackson for missing a team meeting if they were playing a division foe. The multitude of empty seats at Lincoln Financial Field spoke to a great football town that didn't exactly feel threatened by the incoming opponent. Was the surprising outcome enough to resurrect the Cardinals' season?

Arizona Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt downplays QB controversy talk between John Skelton, Kevin Kolb
Stop already, all you quarterback controversy enthusiasts. Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt knew he was going to hear about it Monday at his weekly news conference and he defused any talk of a quarterback controversy between John Skelton and the injured Kevin Kolb before it could gain any serious steam.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles rewind: What we learned
Rewind: Kent Somers breaks down the Cardinals' 21-17 win over the Eagles on Sunday on the road.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Premature for QB decision
Ken Whisenhunt understands that there will be considerable discussion this week about which quarterback he should start in San Francisco. Whisenhunt also knows he doesn't have to participate in the conversation until circumstances dictate. That's why he adopted the "move along, there's nothing to see here" strategy today in his morning press conference on Monday. Until Kevin Kolb is cleared to practice, there is nothing to discuss, Whisenhunt said. And Kolb has not been cleared, so for today, John Skelton remains the starter. And the situation is likely to remain day-to-day throughout the week. It reminds me of the old saying in the newspaper business. "You only have to be right today."

Word From the Birds Blog - Whiz: Until Kolb healthy, "nothing to discuss" with QB
Ken Whisenhunt knew the questions were coming and will be coming. It’s the quarterback position, and certainly, after last year, he’s dealt with the who-should-be-the-starter talk a few times. So it came up again Monday, given the two straight wins by John Skelton, whether Skelton or Kevin Kolb should be the starter. For Whisenhunt, it’s easy to answer, because of Kolb’s injury situation. Kolb continues to battle turf toe and a bone bruise on the outside of the same foot. He hasn’t practiced since before the Baltimore game and still has not been cleared to practice, Whisenhunt said. "There is really nothing to discuss right now."

John Skelton's play buys Arizona Cardinals time
The play of quarterback John Skelton has bought the Cardinals some time in deciding when to bring Kevin Kolb back from right foot injury. The Cardinals are 2-0 with Skelton as the starter, and while he hasn't been great, he's been resilient, and he's made enough plays to show that he just might be able to play in this league. The Cardinals invested considerable resources in acquiring and signing Kolb, so the sooner they find out about him, the better. They need to play him this year, but not necessarily this week in San Francisco.

Defense Steps Forward
Unit finally looks more comfortable in Horton's system

Arizona Cardinals defense garners praise
After nine games, maybe it's finally starting to sink in for the Cardinals' defense. Maybe they've finally grasped all the endless details in coordinator Ray Horton's complicated system of schemes. Just a couple of weeks ago, however, Horton indicated that the team is running only about 30 percent of the total package

Re-Focused - Cardinals @ Eagles, Week 10 | ProFootballFocus.com
Arizona – Three Performances of Note

Perspective on Skelton, Kolb and options - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals' 2-0 record this season and 4-2 overall mark with John Skelton starting at quarterback has stirred debate over how the team should proceed once Kevin Kolb is healthy. Coach Ken Whisenhunt announced no decision Monday. There would have been no advantage in doing so.

Word From the Birds Blog - Talking QB, Feely, Keith
Wrapping up the night with some quick thoughts that I meant to get to earlier:

Larry Fitzgerald still able to impress Whisenhunt - ArizonaSports.com
Heading into Sunday's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, Larry Fitzgerald had 38 catches, 646 yards and three touchdown catches. Pedestrian-like numbers for the future hall of famer. But the lack of production was never blamed on anything Fitzgerald was doing or not doing; fans knew he was ready to break out any game. The Eagles were victims of Fitzgerald's biggest game of the season, and that led to an upset victory and the Cardinals first road win in 11 games.

Heap itching to get back on field - ArizonaSports.com
Tight end Todd Heap was one of the Arizona Cardinals bigger offseason acquisitions, but like another unnamed offseason addition he hasn't performed to expectations. This season Heap has played in five games, catching 13 passes for 150 yards and no touchdowns. This is a player who, coming into this season, had 480 receptions, 5,502 yards and 41 touchdowns with his former team, the Baltimore Ravens.

Skelton says if healthy, Kolb will be the starter - ArizonaSports.com
John Skelton was asked, point blank, if he would be the starting QB when Kevin Kolb is healthy enough to play. "That's not for me to say or me to speculate about," Skelton told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo. "Kevin came in as the starting quarterback. He went through his trials and tribulations like any new quarterback in a new system, but he's doing everything he can to be healthy and get his foot right. "I'm sure if he's healthy he will be the starter.' There is an old adage in sports that a player never loses his starting job to injury, and the only reason Skelton has even been on the field the last two weeks is because Kolb got hurt against Baltimore.

Whisenhunt: No controversy at quarterback - ArizonaSports.com
During his weekly segment with Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed the brewing controversy at the quarterback position. "Right now, nothing has changed," Whisenhunt said. "Until Kevin is cleared, until we can assess where he is physically, we're going to continue as we are. So there is no controversy." The fact that Kolb is still injured is buying Whisenhunt time to put off any speculation that backup quarterback John Skelton may jump ahead of Kolb on the depth chart.

Skelton says if healthy, Kolb will be the starter - ArizonaSports.com
John Skelton was asked, point blank, if he would be the starting QB when Kevin Kolb is healthy enough to play. "That's not for me to say or me to speculate about," Skelton told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo. "Kevin came in as the starting quarterback. He went through his trials and tribulations like any new quarterback in a new system, but he's doing everything he can to be healthy and get his foot right. "I'm sure if he's healthy he will be the starter.' There is an old adage in sports that a player never loses his starting job to injury, and the only reason Skelton has even been on the field the last two weeks is because Kolb got hurt against Baltimore.

Here's what happens when you lose to the Cardinals - ArizonaSports.com
The Philadelphia Eagles had high hopes for 2011. The organization went out and stockpiled free agents and trade acquisitions like All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, former Pro Bowlers Jason Babin, Steve Smith, Ronnie Brown and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Super Bowl Champion Cullen Jenkins. Considering they were the NFC East champions a year ago, there was reason to dub them the "Dream Team". Now, following a 3-6 start and a 21-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals the natives are restless in the City of Brotherly Love.

Eagles' Vick played with 2 broken ribs vs Arizona - ArizonaSports.com
Michael Vick played with two broken ribs in the Eagles' 21-17 loss to Arizona on Sunday. Coach Andy Reid says Vick broke his two lower ribs, but didn't "say a word" and played through the pain. His status for Sunday night's game at the New York Giants is uncertain.

John Skelton thinks starting job is still Kevin Kolb’s | ProFootballTalk
On merit, Cardinals quarterback John Skelton has a great case that he deserves to be the starter. But in the way the world of the NFL works, Skelton knows the starting job is still Kevin Kolb’s.

QBR ranks: Alex Smith and Ginn's drop - NFC West Blog - ESPN
John Skelton, Cardinals (48.9 QBR, 82.8 NFL rating): Skelton completed 21 of 40 passes for 315 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions, four sacks, no fumbles and four rushes covering 15 yards. Skelton threw the winning touchdown pass with the game on the line. He played poorly enough for the Cardinals to lose and well enough for them to win. That explains why he emerged from this game with a middling QBR score. Fifty is average. Skelton was right around there. He has played the way a young backup should play -- well some of the time, poor other times. Could the Cardinals have beaten St. Louis and Philadelphia with Kevin Kolb behind center? Yes, but they could have lost those games with him as well -- same as the case was with Skelton.

In the Red Zone with Ken Whisenhunt - PHI Review
Coach joined the Doug and Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 620 to review the big win against the Eagles.

Announcer goes loco for Cards
Listen to Cardinals Spanish broadcast announcer Gabriel Trujillo's exuberant calls for the two biggest plays on the Cards game-winning drive vs. the Eagles on Sunday.

Skelton on NFL Network
What is it like to lead a comeback win against Michael Vick? John Skelton stops by to talk about his impressive performance in Sunday's victory over the Eagles.

Cards Daily - Hard Work Paying Off
Coach Whisenhunt visits with the media to talk about Sunday's win after traveling to Philadelphia and upsetting the Eagles.

NFL News:

NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Packers, Niners, And North Divisions Dominate Top 10 - SBNation.com
We all know who the No. 1 team in our Week 11 NFL power rankings is going to be. But how does the rest of the top 10 behind the Packers shake out?

Matt Schaub Injury: Texans QB Out For Season, According To Report - SBNation.com
Matt Schaub suffered a foot injury against the Bucs last weekend that will reportedly end his season.

Matt Cassel Injury: Chiefs QB Has 'Significant' Hand Injury, Season Could Be Over - SBNation.com
Chiefs QB Matt Cassel suffered a significant hand injury in Sunday's loss to the Broncos and Todd Haley says his season is in jeopardy as a result of it.

Leinart expecting success as Texans' QB - AFC South Blog - ESPN
Matt Leinart’s seen how Brooks Reed has produced for the Texans since Mario Williams went down. He said in a conference call with reporters Monday evening he’s hoping to fill in for Matt Schaub with similar success.

Brett Favre Suggested As Possible Candidate For Texans' Quarterback Position - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
The Houston Texans, whose 7-3 record is tied for best in the AFC, learned this week that they have likely lost quarterback Matt Schaub for the season. Rather than depend on backup Matt Leinart, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio suggests a different course of action.

LaDainian Tomlinson Injury: Jets RB Reportedly Has Sprained MCL, Status For Week 11 In Doubt - SBNation.com
LaDainian Tomlinson apparently hurt knee on his final carry of the Jets' blowout loss to the Patriots and it's been reported that it's a sprained MCL.

Knowshon Moreno Injury: Season Is Over For Broncos RB With Torn ACL - SBNation.com
Bad news for the Broncos: Knowshon Moreno tore his ACL on Sunday against the Chiefs and will miss the rest of the season.

Antoine Winfield Injury: Vikings CB Likely Out For Rest Of Season - SBNation.com
The Vikings lost to the Packers on Monday night and they also lost cornerback Antoine Winfield for the season with a broken collarbone.

Michael Vick Injury: Status Unknown With Broken Ribs, Eagles Say - SBNation.com
Michael Vick suffered a couple of broken ribs in the Eagles loss to the Cardinals in Week 10. His status for next week is currently unknown.

Rex Ryan Apologizes After Cursing At Fan; NFL Looking Into It - SBNation.com
Rex Ryan cursed at a fan walking through the tunnel at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night after the Jets lost to the Patriots. The league is investigating the matter and Ryan has since apologized.

Bill Belichick Has Some Colorful Words Away From The Camera After Patriots Beat Jets - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Belichick is known as one of the most boring, bland coaches when you put him behind a podium but apparently things are different on the field. Really different, actually. The New York Post reports that Belichick used some colorful language as he walked off the field following the Patriots 21-point victory over the Jets.

NFL’s top linebacker? Dolphins’ Karlos Dansby says, "I’m the best" | ProFootballTalk
Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby had a big game in Sunday’s win over the Redskins. And then he had some big words after the game. Dansby told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that he sees himself as the best linebacker in the NFL. "I feel like I’m the best, and now I just have to prove it," Dansby said. "I’ve been saying it for the last couple of years, and I’m just now getting my opportunity to be on the stage to show it."

The pitchforks are back out in Philadelphia | ProFootballTalk
If only the Eagles played football games that ended after three quarters. They would be 8-1 and everyone would be happy. Unfortunately, they play four quarters and Philly’s season has crumbled to 3-6. They aren’t your average bad team. They are interesting because of their talent and history. But make no mistake: They are a bad team.

Vick has broken ribs, Rodgers-Cromartie has high ankle sprain | ProFootballTalk
Michael Vick’s worst game of the season wasn’t helped by two broken ribs suffered on the second play of the game.

On Veterans Day weekend, Decker penalized for saluting troops - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Legal in the NFL: Scoring a touchdown and then running 100 yards down the sideline to give the ball to your girlfriend who's a cheerleader for the opposing team. Not legal in the NFL: Scoring a touchdown and saluting the troops on Veterans Day weekend.

Penn State:

Jerry Sandusky Interview: 'I Shouldn't Have Showered With Those Kids' - SBNation.com
Jerry Sandusky declared his innocence Monday night, telling Bob Costas in a telephone interview aired on NBC's Rock Center that he is not a pedophile and has no sexual attraction to young boys. Sandusky did admit to showering with some of the children that he's worked with over the years, as well as physical "horseplay," but maintains it was always "without the intent of sexual contact."

Jerry Sandusky Interview: Former Penn State Coach Denies Sex Abuse Charges - SBNation.com
Former Penn St. Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky has denied charges of sexual abuse in an interview with NBC's Bob Costas, but has admitted to other behavior that almost everyone would still find entirely inexcusable. The interview is scheduled to air at 10 pm ET Monday night.