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12-23-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Off To Cincinnati

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  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Time for some links, including some stuff on the improving defense and uncertain QB situation. So more of the same.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Peterson, Green Reunite
Notebook: Heap back into the offense; Keith likely to sit

No Longer All In The Wrist
Linebacker Schofield has come a long way in learning defense

Arizona Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson pleased with defense's success, deflecting praise
Strong safety Adrian Wilson is one of many Cardinals defenders to make dramatic improvement over the past two months, but he's deflecting credit for the team winning six of its past seven games. "It's not a one-man show," Wilson said. "The other 10 guys believed in what we were doing, and for whatever reason, it turned around. "It means a lot to me, obviously, but it's a credit to everybody, not to just one person." Wilson has rarely spoken with local reporters this season, declining almost every interview opportunity. Earlier this year, he tried to get his fellow defensive backs to also decline interviews. On Wednesday, Wilson politely fielded questions about his performance and praised the team.

Cardinals' O'Brien Schofield takes big step forward
It would be easy to dismiss O'Brien Schofield's consecutive sacks in the fourth quarter last week against the Browns as a case of the young Cardinals outside linebacker being in the right place at the right time. Except being in the right place at the right time is what playing defense is about. And Schofield's playing time was limited earlier this year because he didn't do enough of either. "He's starting to get it," linebackers coach Matt Raich said. It's not just the two sacks that excited coaches, it's how Schofield got them.

Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals - scouting report, prediction
Kent Somers takes a look at the key story lines for Saturday's Cardinals-Bengals game.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Starting I.M. Coy at QB
Coach Ken Whisenhunt is being coy when it comes to dispensing information that might tell us who is going to start at quarterback on Saturday in Cincinnati.

2012 NFL draft: McShay's NFC West mock - NFC West Blog - ESPN
McShay has St. Louis taking USC tackle Matt Kalil second overall; Arizona taking Alabama outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw at No. 13; Seattle taking Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones at No. 16; and San Francisco selecting Baylor wide receiver Kendall Wright at No. 30. Arizona does need additional options at outside linebacker even with Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield contributing recently. McShay considers offensive tackle a greater need for the Cardinals, but he questions whether the value would be right where the Cardinals are projected to select.

With Pettis out, revisiting NFC West drafts - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona: The Cardinals' first-round choice, Patrick Peterson, has set records as a return specialist, returning four punts for touchdowns. He has started all season at cornerback and has increasingly made positive contributions to an improving defense. Fourth-round outside linebacker Sam Acho and fifth-round fullback Anthony Sherman have become solid starters. Acho has five sacks. Sixth-rounder David Carter has contributed as part of the rotation on the defensive line.

Word From the Birds Blog - A 3-4 doesn’t slow Campbell
One of the traits of a 3-4 defense is that it is built for the linebackers. The defensive line is set up to keep blockers off the second level, and that right defensive end spot manned in a traditional 4-3 scheme — usually the big sack guy for the team — is a lot different than the right defensive end in a 3-4 look. That hasn’t stopped Calais Campbell, who has been exceptionally productive despite the limits of his duties.

Word From the Birds Blog - No (QB) news is … the news
There was nothing different on the quarterback front Thursday as coach Ken Whisenhunt continued to play his cards close to the vest. Kevin Kolb is "making progress" but Whisenhunt wants to see how Kolb reacts Friday to the plane flight to Cincinnati.

Larry Fitzgerald is a John Skelton fan - ArizonaSports.com
John Skelton is winning his teammates over while winning games. The quarterback, who has guided the Cardinals to a five wins this season, has impressed his star receiver.

ESPN NFL analyst: Skelton has bright future but start Kolb now - ArizonaSports.com
John Skelton may not be the quarterback of the future for the Arizona Cardinals. In fact, he may not even be the quarterback of the present, assuming Kevin Kolb returns to the field sometime in the next two games. However, Skelton has shown promise over the course of his first two NFL seasons, and ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski says the 23-year-old has a bright future ahead of him.

Coach Whisenhunt not ready to name a starting QB for Saturday - ArizonaSports.com
Want to know who the Arizona Cardinals will start at quarterback Saturday against the Cincinnati Bengals? So do we.

XTRA910 audio: NFC West Week 16 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Dan Bickley, Mike Jurecki and I covered that ground during our latest conversation on XTRA Sports 910 AM in Phoenix.They asked whether I would start Kevin Kolb or John Skelton if both were healthy. Kolb is not perfectly healthy, of course, and for that reason, I'd probably stick with Skelton to see if he can build on his strong fourth-quarter and overtime showing against Cleveland in Week 15.

Chat wrap: Willis to return vs. Seahawks? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Al from Wausau, Wis., asks whether John Skelton could challenge Kevin Kolb as the Arizona Cardinals' long-term starter, or whether Skelton projects as nothing more than a backup.

Big Red Rage - Rhodes and Marshall
CB Richard Marshall joined Paul Calvisi, Ron Wolfley, and Kerry Rhodes to talk about the win against the Browns and the upcoming match-up with the Bengals

Cards Daily - Getting to Know Scho
Damien Anderson talks with second year LB O'Brien Schofield about his progression this season.

Arizona Cardinals better with John Skelton or Kevin Kolb as starting quarterback?
The Arizona Cardinals visit the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday. Do they have a better chance with John Skelton or Kevin Kolb? CineSport's Noah Coslov and The Arizona Republic's Kent Somers discuss.

Arizona Sports News:

ASU pounded by Boise State in Las Vegas Bowl
No. 7 Boise State proved to be too much for the Sun Devils in Dennis Erickson's final game as coach. The Broncos cruised in handing ASU a 56-24 loss in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Suns go winless in preseason after loss vs. Nuggets
Preseason is over and more concerns have been raised about the Suns than solved. The Suns' defense looked better, but most teams would against Denver if the Nuggets held out Al Harrington, Ty Lawson, Nene and Rudy Fernandez as they did in Thursday night's 110-85 Suns loss at US Airways Center. Thursday's issues came more at the end, where the Suns are supposed to thrive. Even with Steve Nash playing the first 10 minutes, the Suns mustered only 13 points as they missed 14 of their first 18 shots. Phoenix lacks a go-to scorer, and relying on Nash to constantly create will last only so far if Channing Frye continues his preseason slump.

Arizona Wildcats basketball makes quick work of Bryant
Arizona's Christmas present arrived at McKale Center on Thursday, and the timing was perfect for coach Sean Miller. After trying to remold themselves without Derrick Williams and MoMo Jones against a challenging and varied nonconference schedule this fall, the Wildcats coasted happily to a 100-60 win over Bryant University.

ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler expected to return
With a new coach, much will change for Arizona State next season, but a positive moving forward is the expected return of junior quarterback Brock Osweiler. In his first season as a starter, Osweiler exceeded expectations, setting a school record for completions. In addition, he entered Thursday's Maaco Las Vegas Bowl in position to break Andrew Walter's marks in passing yards and pass attempts as well as the season mark in completion percentage.

NFL News:

Colts' Win Creates Doubt About Andrew Luck And No. 1 Pick - SBNation.com
Week 16 of the 2011 NFL season is underway and the Indianapolis Colts got it started with their second straight win. Will they blow their chance at Stanford QB Andrew Luck?

What Colts' victory does to NFL draft order - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thomas McKean of ESPN Stats & Information passes along the following information regarding 2012 NFL draft order in light of the Indianapolis Colts' victory over the Houston Texans on Thursday night:

Matt Barkley Announces He Will Stay At USC, Forgo 2012 NFL Draft - SBNation.com
On Thursday afternoon, USC quarterback Matt Barkley announced he would decline to enter the 2012 NFL Draft, and a likely top-10 selection, to stay with the Trojans for his senior season.

Barkley takes a big risk by sticking around | ProFootballTalk
For a while on Thursday, it wasn’t clear whether USC quarterback Matt Barkley was announcing his plans for playing football in 2012 or running for public office.

Matt Barkley Staying At USC: How Does This Impact The 2012 NFL Draft? - SBNation.com
USC quarterback Matt Barkley will not enter the 2012 NFL Draft. How does the absence of one of the top prospects available change the draft landscape?

Anquan Boldin Injury: Ravens WR Out Two Weeks After Surgery - SBNation.com
Anquan Boldin will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a torn meniscus. He is expected to miss the Ravens' final two regular season games, but be ready in time for the playoffs.

Devin Hester Blames Two-Year Touchdown Drought On His Shoes - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Devin Hester will go down as the best return man in NFL history but I bet a lot of people won't remember that he had a two-year touchdown return drought earlier in his career. Hester recorded a record 11 combined punt and kick return touchdowns in his first two seasons in the league and then zero in his next two seasons. The last two years he's regained his stride returning a combined six punts and kicks back. SB Nation Chicago had a chance to visit with Hester at a Nike event recently and he blamed that two-year touchdown drought on...shoes.

Josh McCown is as surprised as anyone he’s an NFL starter again | ProFootballTalk
Josh McCown will start at quarterback for the Bears on Sunday, something no one could have predicted a month ago, least of all McCown himself.

NFL.com news: When Brees breaks Marino's record, is an asterisk warranted?
Barring some unforeseen circumstance, Saints quarterback Drew Brees (and possibly three others) will break Dan Marino's NFL single-season record of 5,084 passing yards. Completely obliterate it, actually. Impressive? Absolutely. As impressive? Not so much, as so eloquently explained by CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, who had the audacity to suggest an asterisk be placed next to Brees' name in the NFL record book after Marino's 27-year-old record falls. "Like Marino, Brees is using pinpoint accuracy to shred defenses," Freeman writes. "Unlike Marino, Brees is doing it with liberal rules that leave defenses playing with one hand tied behind their back. In effect, Brees' record will be severely watered down. So much so, that it almost deserves an asterisk."

Santonio expects big plays against Giants’ "poor-tackling" secondary | ProFootballTalk
ets receiver Santonio Holmes is expecting to have a big game against the Giants on Saturday. Holmes said he thinks the Giants’ secondary is porous and that he’s going to be able to take advantage of it when the teams meet this week, in a battle that has major playoff implications for both New York teams.

Colts flirting with blowing the Luck pick | ProFootballTalk
Though it would be fitting for a kid named "Luck" to play for a team with a horseshoe on its helmet, the Colts are experiencing an unlikely late-season surge that could cost the team that had presumably locked up the first overall pick a clear shot at their franchise quarterback of the future.

Celebration has turned to panic in Houston | ProFootballTalk
The jubilation following Houston’s first playoff appearance in franchise history has quickly turned to panic.