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11-16-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Fitz Wins Awards

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 (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
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Time for some links, including Fitz being named the NFC offensive player of the week for the first time in his career (that is very surprising to me), the improvement of the defense, and Kolb mentioning that he will try to practice this week and that he was calling out the plays Philly was running on offense as a way of trying to help the Defense.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Fitz Earns NFC Offensive Honor
Pro Bowl receiver gets weekly award for first time in his career

Word From the Birds Blog - Skelton up for "Never Say Never" award
After his three-touchdown performance and a game-winning drive late Sunday in a win over Philadelphia, quarterback John Skelton has been nominated for the NFL’s "Never Say Never" award this week. It’s done via fan vote, and fans can vote right here. The other nominees include Denver quarterback Tim Tebow, who led his team to a win despite completing only two passes against Kansas City — the last being the game-winning 56-yard touchdown throw, and Steelers cornerback William Gay, who clinched the Pittsburgh win against Cincinnati with an interception.

Word From the Birds Blog - Kolb expects to give practice a go Wednesday
In the midst of all the quarterback discussion, Kevin Kolb said during his weekly radio show on XTRA 910 that he went on the field briefly today to test out his bad right foot and that he planned to try and practice Wednesday on a limited basis — at least attempt to do some individual drills. He is admittedly frustrated with his injuries, saying that it seems to improve for three or four days and then there is a "lull." After another day or two, more soreness that he thought would be gone by now. His attempt to go on the field Tuesday went OK, although he acknowledged the injury would still "grab" him at times.

NFC West Stock Watch - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Rising: Ray Horton, Cardinals defensive coordinator. The Cardinals have not allowed a passing touchdown in their last three games after allowing nine in their first six. They became the first team to hold Philadelphia below 300 yards this season. Younger players like Sam Acho, O'Brien Schofield and Patrick Peterson are contributing. Calais Campbell has had some huge games. Yes, the Cardinals have played a couple struggling teams in recent weeks. But after allowing 932 yards over the first two games and 445 to Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, Arizona has stopped the defensive bleeding.

A Matter Of Accuracy
Being on-target crucial to development of Cards' quarterbacks

Word From the Birds Blog - Cards bring back the other Skelton
The Cardinals re-signed tight end Stephen Skelton to the practice squad Wednesday, releasing wide receiver Isaiah Williams to do so. As Mike Jurecki mentioned, it’s a good week for the Skelton family. And yes, your math is correct — that brings the Cardinals’ total number of tight ends to five. But Todd Heap’s hamstring has kept him out, save for a play or two against the Rams, for basically five games, and Rob Housler has missed the past two games with a bad groin. You can’t have Jeff King and Jim Dray overworked in practice, especially if they have to do more in games.

Cards' defense clamping down on perimeter - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Lining up against lesser offenses stands as the surest way to improve on defense. Those factors alone do not explain the Arizona Cardinals' improvements on defense recently. Without much question, the Cardinals are getting better play at cornerback, notably from rookie Patrick Peterson. They are getting better play at outside linebacker now that rookie Sam Acho and second-year pro O'Brien Schofield are playing larger roles in the defense.

Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt stays out of quarterback discussion
If the price of winning consecutive games includes constant questions about the quarterback position, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt happily will pay it. After all, Whisenhunt just has to listen to the questions now; he doesn't have to answer them.

2011 NFC West game changers: Week 10 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Clutch pass completions by Arizona's John Skelton filled three of the top five spots this week, led by his 37-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald on a third-and-10 play with 2:55 left in the fourth quarter and the Cardinals trailing Philadelphia, 17-14. Skelton's 5-yard scoring pass to Early Doucet later in the drive ranked third on the list.

Ken Whisenhunt: Cardinals coach, ruiner of QBs? -
Ken Whisenhunt has had six different starting quarterbacks over his five years as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Of a group including Matt Leinart, Kurt Warner, Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton and Kevin Kolb, only Warner could be considered a good passer. Is that a sign Coach Whiz is a poor judge of talent or just a lousy coach of quarterbacks?

John Skelton nominated for NFL award -
Apparently leading a fourth quarter comeback gets you noticed around the league.

Fitzgerald named NFC Offensive Player of the Week -
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for Week 10. Fitzgerald caught 7 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals' 21-17 win over Philadelphia that snapped the team's 11-game road losing streak. The biggest play in that win for Fitzgerald, however, was a 37-yard, over-the-shoulder catch on a 3rd down and ten late in the fourth quarter that gave the Cardinals' a first and goal at the Philadelphia 1-yard line. Three plays later, quarterback John Skelton found Early Doucet on a 5-yard touchdown pass that provided Arizona's winning margin.

NFL's big trade inconsequential Sunday - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Philadelphia Eagles loaded up on cornerbacks during the offseason with an assist from the Arizona Cardinals. It was sometimes tough to tell during the Cardinals' 21-17 victory against the Eagles in Philadelphia. Larry Fitzgerald's two scoring receptions for Arizona gave him eight in four career games against the Eagles, counting playoffs. Going back to the NFC title game following the 2008 season, Fitzgerald has 16 catches for 298 yards and five touchdowns in his past two games against Philadelphia. The offseason trade sending cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Arizona to Philadelphia for quarterback Kevin Kolb could not have seemed less significant Sunday. A toe injury sidelined Kolb. Rodgers-Cromartie suffered an ankle injury during the game and did not return.

Where NFC West teams rank: Week 10 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona Cardinals (won vs. Eagles): offense rose five spots to No. 20 in yards per game, rose three spots to 21st in NFL passer rating, rose two spots to No. 27 in Total QBR, rose three spots to No. 8 in red zone touchdown percentage and dropped three spots to No. 31 in sacks allowed per pass attempt; defense dropped five spots to 21st in rushing yards allowed, rose three spots to 19th in passing yards per attempt and rose five spots to fifth in third-down percentage allowed.

Ken Whisenhunt tries to downplay quarterback controversy | ProFootballTalk
Cardinals quarterback John Skelton is saying all the right things about Kevin Kolb’s status as the team’s starter. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt isn’t saying much of anything because he doesn’t have to.

Cards Team Up to Help Local Coach
The Arizona Cardinals teamed up with several community partners to present a life changing gift to a local high school coach.

Arizona Sports News:

ASU basketball falls to Pepperdine at home
Just a few weeks ago, Arizona State coach Herb Sendek thought his offense was ahead of its defense. With some changes, the Sun Devils were moving the ball, striking in transition, creating and dishing. That clearly is no longer the case. Pepperdine, a team projected to finish at the bottom of the West Coast Conference, stifled the Sun Devils with a basic 2-3 zone, leaving Wells Fargo Arena with a 66-60 win in front of 4,127.

Patrick O'Sullivan, Radim Vrbata lift Phoenix Coyotes over Toronto Maple Leafs in SO
The Phoenix Coyotes kept Toronto's Phil Kessel in check just enough to escape with a shootout victory over the Maple Leafs. Patrick O'Sullivan and Radim Vrbata scored shootout goals, and the Coyotes overcame Toronto's furious rally to beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tuesday night.

NFL News:

NFL Coaches Hot Seat: Tony Sparano's Dolphins Win Two In A Row -
Which coaches are on the hot seat in the NFL? Tony Sparano remains on the list but things are cooling down with him after two straight wins.

NFL Week 10, Best And Worst: David Nelson, Chris Johnson Play Great; Colts Do Not -
From David Nelson's awesome touchdown celebration to Mike Smith's decision to go for it on fourth-and-one in overtime, here are the best and worst plays from Week 10 of the 2011 NFL season.

NFL Power Rankings: How they voted - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Here's a nightmare scenario for Arizona Cardinals fans: Kevin Kolb flounders while a reborn Matt Leinart leads the Houston Texans deep into the playoffs. The 7-3 Texans' outlook minus injured starting quarterback Matt Schaub framed the biggest debate our voters faced in putting together ESPN's NFL Power Rankings through Week 10.

Matt Schaub Injury: What's A Lisfranc, And How Long Will Recovery Take? -
Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub has a Lisfranc injury. Unless you're a doctor, that probably means nothing to you. Let SB Nation's Medical Expert explain what exactly that is and the possible prognosis for Schaub.

Ben Roethlisberger Has Thumb Injury; Steelers QB Expected To Play Week 12 -
Ben Roethlisberger has a splint on his thumb but the injury is not expected to keep him out of any games.

QB Leinart gets his chance with Texans in need -
Matt Leinart had a quick chat with Andre Johnson before leaving the Texans' locker room on Tuesday to catch a flight home to Southern California. When he returns next week, Leinart will have a first-place team to lead and Johnson should be healthy enough to help him.

John Fox On Tim Tebow: 'We Can't Do That Other Crap,' Like Passing The Ball - From Our Editors -
Broncos coach John Fox is a fast learner. After watching Tim Tebow get demolished by the Lions in Tebow's second start, he streamlined the playbook, removing most of those pesky passing plays and replacing them with eight new read-option plays rarely seen in the NFL. The result? Two straight wins.

101ESPN St. Louis audio: Miklasz Show - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The St. Louis Rams' Sam Bradford, the Arizona Cardinals' John Skelton and the Seattle Seahawks' strengths/weaknesses were subjects for discussion Tuesday on the Bernie Miklasz Show.

DeSean Jackson On Suspension: 'I've Never Seen Coach Reid Do Anything Like That' -
Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson missed a team meeting last week because, as he says, his alarm clock didn't go off. He showed up about 25 minutes late to the meeting, he told Michael Irvin in an NFL Network interview, and was initially told he wouldn't start the game against the Arizona Cardinals last week as punishment.

Victor Cruz of New York Giants, other players uninjured at Manhattan nightclub shooting - ESPN New York
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and a handful of teammates were at a Manhattan nightclub early Tuesday morning when a gunman opened fire, killing one man and injuring two others.

Brandon Lloyd making strong case to stick in St. Louis | ProFootballTalk
The Rams only gave up a sixth-round pick to acquire Brandon Lloyd, but that pick will upgrade to a fifth-rounder if he catches 30 passes with the team. In four games, Lloyd has 21 grabs for 255 yards and two scores. It’s safe to say that pick will improve for Denver, and the Rams won’t mind one bit.

Timing of Vick’s rib injury raises questions | ProFootballTalk
To start his Monday press conference, Eagles coach Andy Reid announced out of the blue that quarterback Mike Vick suffered broken ribs during Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals. Specifically, Reid said the injury occurred on the team’s second play from scrimmage. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy recently told WIP that he believed the injury happened late in the game. Shown the second play, which entailed Vick taking a hit that didn’t look particularly nasty after throwing a pass to tight end Brent Celek, McCoy chuckled and said that Vick wasn’t hurt on the play.

Polian: Manning fine with drafting a quarterback | ProFootballTalk
The Colts are now two games ahead in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, with only six games to play. Only four teams are stuck at two wins: St. Louis, Miami, Minnesota, and Carolina. It’s very easy to see those teams winning at least another game.

Financial woes may be driving DeSean’s actions | ProFootballTalk
Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson spoke to the media Monday for the first time since he was benched against the Cardinals for missing a team meeting. "It’s just kind of a tough situation for myself but I’ve just got to be a man about it and just learn from everything that happens," Jackson said. We know Jackson wants a new contract, but is there something more to the "tough situation" he’s going through?

Penn State:

Second Mile Camp Attendee To Anderson Cooper: 'His Hand Is On My Left Thigh' -
CNN's Anderson Cooper is doing an hour-long program on Jerry Sandusky and Penn State, to air at noon on Tuesday. At one point in the show, he interviews Troy Craig, identified as a former Second Mile camp attendee for four years. Craig tells Cooper that Sandusky often made him uncomfortable, but that it occurred at too young an age to register as "sexual perversion."

Joe Paterno, Jerry Sandusky Had Long, Tense Relationship -
Why did Joe Paterno allegedly never confront Jerry Sandusky about claims of sexual abuse? In Monday night's interview with NBC's Bob Costas, Sandusky denied Paterno ever spoke to him about the 2002 rape allegation raised by then-GA Mike McQueary, despite Sandusky's lingering presence on campus up until October of this year. Unlike several of his other denials, Sandusky was emphatic on that one.

Jerry Sandusky Investigation: Suspected Victim Total Rising, According To New York Times -
On Nov. 8, FOX's Philadelphia affiliate reported the number of Jerry Sandusky's alleged victims had risen from the grand jury report's eight to something like 20. The New York Times now appears to have confirmed that report, saying, "close to 10 additional suspected victims have come forward to the authorities since the arrest."