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12-17-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Peterson's Improvement

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

Time for some links, including a look at how PP has improved and the rest of your getting ready for the Browns links.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Cardinals rookie Patrick Peterson 'like a sponge'
Cardinals coaches couldn't help but smile and shake their heads earlier this season whenever it was suggested that rookie Patrick Peterson hadn't played well at cornerback. They had no doubt Peterson was going to be a star, they said. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said Peterson wasn't getting the benefit of calls because he didn't have a reputation with officials yet. What really gave coaches confidence in Peterson, however, was his attitude off the field. His physical skills were evident on punt returns, something that doesn't require a lot of technique and study. Developing as a cornerback, however, takes time and hard work.

Word From the Birds Blog - In praise of Peterson’s defense
While watching a ton of video on Cardinals rookie Patrick Peterson, NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell has his opinions on the cornerback, but he said the best way to notice his progress is simply by watching the spots his own coaching staff has put him in of late. "The team is telling you how he’s doing by how they are using him," Cosell said. "They are using him on the opponent’s number one receiver with no help over the top. That says something."

Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes ready to return
Safety Kerry Rhodes is ready to play after missing two months because of a broken foot, but the Cardinals plan to ease the former starter back into action.

Johnson, Marshall Fill Rhodes Void
Notebook: Wallace starts for Browns; Beanie to face home teams

Word From the Birds Blog - The return of Rhodes and concussed QBs
One quarterback for Sunday is definitely out for the Cards-Browns game. Colt McCoy, who suffered a concussion the Browns’ last game a week ago Thursday, won’t even be making the trip to Arizona. That means Seneca Wallace will start for Cleveland. The Kevin Kolb situation with his concussion is much more vague, although the vibe seems to signal another start for John Skelton. "Kevin is doing good," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We have to get to Sunday. He is getting better." Asked if that meant Kolb could start, Whisenhunt said, "We’ll see. We don’t have to make any decisions on that right now."

Word From the Birds Blog - Friday before the Browns
With safety Adrian Wilson playing so well, I thought it was appropriate to do a story on him this week, and he’s clearly becoming a story everywhere. Friday, he popped up on Jim Rome’s radio show, and he was A-Dub-honest. When it came to his self-assessment of his play during the first month of the season, "I was terrible. I was horrible. I didn’t like seeing myself like that on tape." blogs - Kent Somers - Evaluating Kolb, playing Madden
Quarterback Kevin Kolb progressed as expected this week after suffering a concussion on Sunday, coach Ken Whisenhunt said on Friday. So what does that mean? Not a lot. NFL players, according to their coaches, almost always improve during the week.

Surging Cardinals defense to add another piece -
The Arizona Cardinals defense has been getting plenty of accolades recently -- and rightfully so -- as they've been key to the team turning its season around. The funny thing is, though, they've done so all without the services of starting safety Kerry Rhodes, who has been out since October 9th after breaking his foot. The veteran has missed the team's last eight games -- five of which were wins -- and is excited to get back on the field Sunday against the Browns.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Cleveland Browns - scouting report, prediction
Kent Somers takes a look at the key story lines for Sunday's Cardinals-Browns game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Final Word: NFC West - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Nothing comes easy: The Arizona Cardinals are tied with Denver for the most games decided by seven or fewer points this season (10). Fifteen total point separated Arizona from its opponents in the four games won with John Skelton as the Cardinals' primary quarterback. The opponent this week, Cleveland, has played close games against the Cardinals' NFC West rivals. The Browns beat Seattle by three (6-3), lost to St. Louis by one (13-12) and played the 49ers relatively close in San Francisco (20-10). The Browns' likely starting quarterback, Seneca Wallace, started four games last season. Two were decided by a total of four points.

$22,500 in fines from 49ers-Cardinals battle - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals' 21-19 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 14 qualified a rough-and-tumble fight between division rivals with angry defenses. Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb left the game with a concussion after only three plays. The 49ers hit him on both of his dropbacks. Kolb's San Francisco counterpart, Alex Smith, took five sacks. Two hits in particular stood out to the NFL.

Podcast: Fitzgerald with Scott Van Pelt - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Passing along: audio from Larry Fitzgerald's conversation with Scott Van Pelt.

XTRA910 audio: NFC West Week 15 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mike Jurecki and I discussed the NFC West's emerging identity as a division with strong and/or improving defenses in San Francisco, Seattle and Arizona. The division also features physical starting running backs in every city.

Cards Daily - Variety Sack
Over the past two games, the Cardinals have collected ten sacks by eight different players. Ray Horton's schemes have made it tough for opposing offenses to determine where the pressure is coming from.

Cards' Case for Pro Bowl
As voting for the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl nears completion, Paul Calvisi urges several Cardinals to make a case for their Pro Bowl worthy teammates. You can vote for your favorite players at

Video: Kent Somers on Cardinals' playoff chances
CineSport's Brian Clark asks Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic if the Cards are thinking about the playoffs, and if the team should re-sign Calais Campbell.

NFL News:

Colt McCoy Ruled Out For Browns In Week 15 -
Colt McCoy has been officially ruled out for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals due to lingering symptoms from a concussion sustained last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. McCoy was sent home from practice Friday, as he has been all week, failing to get cleared by the Cleveland Browns medical staff. Seneca Wallace will start Sunday for the Browns, and could potentially finish out the season as the team's starter.

McCoy photo prompts NFL to change procedures for selling game pictures | ProFootballTalk
Last year, after a rash of helmet-to-helmet hits prompted the NFL to pay closer attention to the issue via more aggressive rules enforcement, the NFL also was selling photos of some of the helmet-to-helmet hits. Once made aware of the situation, the NFL asked the third party responsible for managing the league’s photo store to remove the images. Last week, an image of a concussed Colt McCoy emerged on the league’s online photo shop, via

Sam Hurd Released By Chicago Bears After Arrest -
Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith said on Thursday that he doesn't want the situation surrounding Sam Hurd's arrest to become a distraction and on Friday GM Jerry Angelo announced that the team planned to release Hurd. The Bears receiver was arrested on Thursday in connection with a plot to purchase and distribute cocaine and marijuana in Chicago.

Sam Hurd's Attorney Is An Optimistic Fellow - From Our Editors -
It's been a pretty rough week for former Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd. On Thursday, Hurd was arrested for allegedly attempting to buy a massive amount of drugs, including a half ton of marijuana, to then distribute in the Chicago area. Predictably, the Bears cut him loose on Friday, but that hasn't stopped him from hoping to catch on elsewhere.

Sam Hurd Arrested: 10 Questions About The Confusing Drug Bust -
The Sam Hurd story could turn into a scandal. For now, it's a comedy of confusing errors.

Adrian Peterson wants to play for his fantasy owners | ProFootballTalk
From a team standpoint, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has one reason to play on a sprained ankle — avoiding the all-time franchise record for losses in a season. But Peterson has other reasons to give it a try. Apart from being 128 yards from his fifth 1,000-yard season and 165 yards from the franchise rushing record held by Robert Smith, Peterson wants to help his owners not named Wilf.

Flacco complains about Tebow coverage | ProFootballTalk
Inevitably, a Tebow backlash has emerged. And it’s coming from another AFC quarterback whose team is better, whose numbers are better, but who badly trails Tebow in the AFC fan Pro Bowl voting.

Gabbert may be bad enough to make Jaguars draft another QB | ProFootballTalk
Blaine Gabbert is playing so badly right now that the Jaguars may consider something practically unheard of in the NFL: Taking Top 10 quarterbacks in back-to-back drafts.