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12-13-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Incredible Turnaround

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 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Time for some links, with a lot of them relating to the incredible turnaround the Cardinals have made over the last several games. Also an update on Kolb's status for next Sunday's game being uncertain.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Skelton Always Prepared
Quarterback steps in with success for injured Kolb

All John Skelton does is win | ProFootballTalk
Yes, the title of this post is tongue-in-cheek. It’s also true. Tim Tebow isn’t the only quarterback with a low completion percentage winning games in insane, impossible to explain ways.

Arizona Cardinals defense makes a turnaround
Ken Whisenhunt has fixed the defense. Now he should rehire Todd Haley and we all can make playoff plans for next season. "Todd's a great friend," Whisenhunt said of the former Chiefs coach who was fired Monday. "I'm sure he'll have some options." For the most part, Whisenhunt was coy about Haley's dismissal. For now, it's enough to rejoice in the quality of defense on display in Arizona under first-year defensive coordinator Ray Horton. For years, we've heard about the blueprint for a Pittsburgh West. Now the Cardinals actually look like the Steelers.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb's status for Cleveland Browns game uncertain
This couldn't have been how Kevin Kolb envisioned his first year as the Cardinals' starting quarterback would play out. In addition to taking a beating the first two months of the season, he missed four consecutive games because of a complicated right-foot injury. Then, just a week after returning, he suffered a concussion on the third play of Arizona's 21-19 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Arizona Cardinals apprehensive talking about playoffs
It doesn't seem that long ago when the Cardinals were sitting at 1-6, having just lost their sixth consecutive game, and the players weren't only at a loss for words, they dreaded the thought of having to say anything to members of the media. On one particular day after practice, in fact, veteran safety Adrian Wilson was in such a bitter mood, he tried to convince his fellow defensive backs to boycott reporters altogether. Well, just look at the Cardinals now.

Word From the Birds Blog - Whiz talks Kolb recovery, Haley, and other stuff
There were no new injury updates Monday from coach Ken Whisenhunt, and that includes quarterback Kevin Kolb after Kolb suffered from concussion-like symptoms after being hit in the head by Ahmad Brooks’ knee. "There are a number of different steps you have to go through, and obviously player safety is very important," Whisenhunt said. "I don’t have a timetable on it." Whiz said Kolb "didn’t feel right" after the hit and the doctors took him inside the locker room. Originally, the plan was to hold Kolb out until the half to see if he would improve, but Kolb didn’t. (Kolb was downstairs riding a bike this morning.) blogs - Kent Somers - Monday morning with Whiz
Some quick notes from coach Ken Whisenhunt's press conference:

Cardinals using 2011 to build for 2012 and beyond -
The assembled media was in the press conference room, waiting for Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt but watching the end of the Broncos game against the Bears. Tim Tebow, of course, was in the process of leading his team to its sixth win in a row and seventh in the last eight games. Impressive turnaround, sure, but it only rivals what's happening in the desert. In winning five of six games and improving to 6-7, the Cardinals not only gave themselves a fighting shot at a playoff berth, but have given notice that their days of being a doormat (once again) are over. "We believed in what we were doing and we still do," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We are just seeing the benefit of that." At this point it would be a disappointment if the Cardinals finished the season any worse than 8-8 and, while that normally wouldn't be anything to write home about, the fact that they started the year 1-6 makes it borderline miraculous.

Defense, big plays lead Cardinals' resurgence -
Given up as a lost cause seven weeks into the season, the Arizona Cardinals have won five of six to climb within a game of .500. Consecutive victories over Dallas and San Francisco have stamped Arizona's resurgence with legitimacy. If the Cardinals win out, they will have a winning season and maybe even make the playoffs.

Cardinals are aware, but not focused on playoff push -
It seems almost surreal that on December 12th, there is even a slight connection between the Arizona Cardinals and the word 'playoffs', but there is. With five wins in their last six games, the Cardinals are in the NFC playoff picture at 6-7 and three games remaining on their schedule. But wisely, head coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't focusing on the postseason, instead concentrating on the next game on the schedule, which this week brings the Cleveland Browns to Glendale.

Coach Whisenhunt knows Fitz is something special -
It was just another day in the office for Larry Fitzgerald Sunday against the 49ers. His seven catches for 149 yards pushed him over the 1,000 yard mark for sixth time in his career, a new franchise record. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt knows with Fitz, it's the intangibles that make him special.

Larry Fitzgerald keeps making plays, impressing all who watch -
This just in: Larry Fitzgerald is pretty good. The Cardinal continued his impressive 2011 with seven catches for 149 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over the 49ers, putting his season totals at 62 receptions for 1,092 yards and seven scores. All this with shaky QB play and defenses doing everything they can to not let No. 11 beat them.

What Cards' hot streak has accomplished - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals' 5-1 record over their last six games has done more than land them a spot in the nearby chart.

Don't look now, but playoffs aren't out of the question -
After the Arizona Cardinals blew a 21-point lead and lost to the Baltimore Ravens on October 30th to fall to a woeful 1-6, I bet a lot of you started feeling a lot like Jim Mora did ten years ago -- just hoping the Birds would win another game. On Halloween, there was talk of the Cardinals' hat being thrown into the "Suck for Luck" sweepstakes. Two weeks before Christmas, that talk has shifted to hope for a playoff run. Ken Whisenhunt's team has won three straight and five of their last six to improve their record to 6-7 with three games to play. Maybe it's the holiday egg nog talking, but all three of the remaining games on their schedule -- home vs. Cleveland, at Cincinnati and home against Seattle--are infinitely winnable. Is 9-7 out of the question?

QBR ranks: Fitzgerald lifts up Skelton - NFC West Blog - ESPN
John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals (44.1 QBR, 106.5 NFL rating): Skelton completed 19 of 28 passes for 282 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions, one sack and one fumble (lost). He scrambled six times for 25 yards. Skelton played poorly enough to lose the game, then well enough to win it thanks to tremendous play from the Cardinals' defense and what should stand as one of Fitzgerald's finest games. Skelton showed great improvement from his previous start against the 49ers. He played better than expected against a strong defense, and he did it without taking many practice reps. This was a step forward for Skelton and his efforts to remain a viable No. 2 quarterback. His size and strength gave him and advantage over Kolb when it came to extending plays.

In the Red Zone with Ken Whisenhunt - SF Review
Ken Whisenhunt joins The Doug and Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 620 to talk about the Cardinals win over the division rival San Francisco 49ers.

Inside the Locker Room - Whiz Gets Game Ball
With the Cardinals 21-19 victory over the 49ers, Ken Whisenhunt reached 42 wins and tied Don Coryell for the most wins by a head coach in team history. Whisenhunt was given a game ball to mark the occasion.

Cards Daily - Sticking Together, Finishing Strong
After the Cardinals big win over the 49ers, the postseason remains a possibility. However the team is focused on what they can control and that's winning out.

NFL News:

Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 30, Rams 13 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks following their game Monday night at CenturyLink Field:

Cards, Seahawks could both make playoffs - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Tis the season for NFL playoff scenarios. We know the San Francisco 49ers are headed to the postseason as NFC West champs. We know the Arizona Cardinals or Seattle Seahawks remain in the wild-card hunt. I did not know the Cardinals and Seahawks could both qualify for the playoffs, but a Cardinals fan I know, Rick, sent an ESPN Playoff Machine scenario showing how it could happen. Three NFC West teams in the postseason? Now that would work for me.

James Harrison Suspended One Game For Colt McCoy Hit -
Thanks to a helmet-to-helmet hit that resulted in a roughing the passer penalty and a concussion for Colt McCoy, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been suspended one game by the NFL.

Jake Locker Likely To Start For Titans In Week 15 -
The Tennessee Titans suddenly have a question about who to start at quarterback. Rookie Jake Locker took over for an injured Matt Hasselbeck in their Week 14 loss to the Saints. Hasselbeck's injury...

Todd Haley Fired As Chiefs Head Coach; Romeo Crennel Takes Over -
Chiefs coach Todd Haley has been fired following his team's 37-10 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

Tony Sparano Fired By Miami Dolphins; Todd Bowles Takes Over As Interim Coach -
As many expected, Tony Sparano is gone. A report states that the Dolphins have fired him as the head coach.

Tim Tebow's Statistical Weirdness, And The Broncos' Winning Streak -
Six-game winning streaks happen to teams we already know are great, not a 2-5 team in a quarterback crisis. And yet, that is exactly what Tim Tebow and the Broncos have done. The stats paint a picture even weirder than you might imagine.

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Tim Tebow, Broncos Just Keep Winning -
The Packers are the best team in the league and the Colts are the worst. These two things we know. Check out our Week 15 power rankings to see where the rest of the league is ranked.

2012 NFL Mock Draft: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III And The Year Of The Quarterback -
As the NFL season winds down, it's time for most teams and their fans to start thinking about the draft. This 2012 NFL Mock Draft is a first look at what directions teams might go in the NFL's premier offseason event.

Week 14 Monday 10-pack | ProFootballTalk
As the regular season careens closer to conclusion, the wins get bigger and the losses trigger a steeper slide into despair. On Sunday, no fewer than six playoff contenders suffering devastated losses, while four teams have rocketed to 10-3 records in the AFC. And we’ll sum it all up as we always do with 10 story lines from the Sunday that was.

The 49ers have the worst red zone offense in football | ProFootballTalk
The 49ers have won 10 games this year despite a glaring problem that Jim Harbaugh hasn’t been able to solve. They are a miserable red zone offense. After Sunday’s loss in Arizona, the 49ers officially have the worst red zone offense in the league. No team has scored touchdowns a lower percentage of times inside the 20-yard line.

Week 14′s five most valuable players - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Comprehensive National Football League news, scores, standings, fantasy games, rumors, and more

Week 14′s five least valuable players - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Comprehensive National Football League news, scores, standings, fantasy games, rumors, and more