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2-21-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings

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Secondary Success
New coaches put defensive backs in the spotlight

Whisenhunt, Graves discuss Cards off-season matters -
Despite the looming uncertainty of the NFL labor situation, Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves said they are proceeding as usual with the off-season. blogs - Kent Somers - Choosing a play caller
Mike Miller was promoted to offensive coordinator on Wednesday, but coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't ready to name a play caller for the start of the 2011 season. Whisenhunt said numerous factors will figure into the decision. He didn't identify those factors, but let's take a look at some of the possibilities:

Former Card Ollie Matson passes away
Running back Ollie Matson, a one-time Chicago Cardinals No. 1 draft pick and Hall of Famer who made six Pro Bowls, died Saturday at the age of 80.

Pat Tillman's Run Returns April 16th With 30,000 Strong Across The Nation - SB Nation Arizona
Runs around the country will feature 30,000 people as they honor the legacy and courage of former ASU and Cardinal linebacker Pat Tillman.

Townsend’s sudden sunset
Technically, Deshea Townsend still hasn’t retired. Still, don’t expect him to return to the playing field. That’s pretty much over. - Different strokes for new Cardinals coordinators
Our sources in the desert were not surprised by the hiring of Ray Horton as the Cardinals’ new defensive coordinator and the promotion of Mike Miller, who had been serving as the team’s passing-game coordinator, to the offensive coordinator position. Horton, who was the Steelers’ secondary coach, had been rumored as a serious candidate to replace the fired Billy Davis for more than a month. And during that same time span, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt had mentioned more than once that he did not envision any significant coaching changes on the offensive side of the ball.

Townsend hopes to bring more than just Steelers' mentality to Cards -
Pittsburgh West continues to grow. After bringing in Ray Horton as defensive coordinator, the Arizona Cardinals have now added former Pittsburgh Steeler Deshea Townsend as their assistant defensive backs coach.

Ranking the NFL Stadiums - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
10. University of Phoenix Stadium (Arizona Cardinals)

Graves and Whisenhunt Visit the Doug and Wolf Show
Audio courtesy of Sports 620 KTAR and

Video Gallery
Cheerleader Highlights 2010

Phoenix Coyotes edge Nashville Predators 3-2 for 7th consecutive win
The Phoenix Coyotes keep winning in very predictable fashion.

Fourth straight day of NFL labor talks begin - ESPN
The NFL and its players' union are meeting with a federal mediator for the fourth day in a row.

A reworked Tom's Tavern menu with an Arizona Cardinals twist
Noting that the family of Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill recently took over Tom's Tavern, the downtown Phoenix landmark, they suggested that The Heat Index might want to help update the restaurant's menu. They even included a couple of the suggestions you'll find below - the good ones, of course.

NFL Draft Prospect Nick Fairley Answers Questions About His QB Talents - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
There is a deep pool of potential impact defensive players in the 2011 NFL Draft. Some mock drafts project as many as seven or eight defensive players being selected in with the first ten picks of the draft. One such player is Auburn DT Nick Fairley, who is projected in some mock drafts to be selected number one overall by the Carolina Panthers. SB Nation Arizona and a few other of the sites in the SB Nation family had the opportunity ask Fairley a few questions. Although it is fairly unlikely he will be available for the Cardinals to select him with the fifth pick overall, we still thought we might pick his mind and find out what he would bring to Arizona desert. We even ask how he'd do at quarterback.

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Arizona Cardinals' First 3 Possible Selections | Bleacher Report
Is it time for the combine yet? Seriously, let's get this crap with the CBA, the players union and the owners over with. It's ruining all the fun put into the NFL Draft.

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Final Pre-NFL Combine Projection Has Blaine Gabbert On The Rise -
5. Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M. Arizona desperately needs a quarterback; John Skelton isn't ready to play. Ken Whisenhunt may end up choosing to go the veteran route there, however, freeing the Cards up to address by far their biggest defensive need - an elite edge rusher.

Hall of Fame running back Ollie Matson dies - ESPN
Ollie Matson, a Hall of Fame running back who was once traded for nine players during his 14-year NFL career and won two medals at the 1952 Olympics, has died. He was 80. Matson died Saturday of respiratory failure surrounded by family at his home in Los Angeles, his nephew Art Thompson III told The Associated Press.

Mailbag: Case against Kevin Kolb - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Mark from Chandler, Ariz., writes: Mike, from your interaction with scouts, what was the chief cause for the Cardinals not being able to run the ball? Offensive line? Running backs? Play calling? blogs - Kent Somers - Better than apathy
During the Cardinals month-long search for a new defensive coordinator, I was surprised by the amount of an interest in coach Ken Whisenhunt's quest. Maybe it just felt like more interest because fans via social media now have ways of expressing opinions instantly and frequently. But I got the feeling that more people actually cared about the hiring of assistant coaches than they did, say, five years ago. I asked Whisenhunt today if he was "taken aback" at all by the level of interest and the perception that he was dragging his feet.

A look at the NFL labor dispute's biggest questions
For the past two decades, Cardinals players have entered the team's Tempe headquarters through a routine process. Buzz the security guard, state your name and wait for the gate to unlock. In less than two weeks, the gate could stay locked. The current collective-bargaining agreement between the players union and the NFL expires March 3. On March 4, owners could decide to lock out players, stopping the "new league year" before it starts. No progress has been made in negotiations.

Reports: Ex-Chicago Bears, Notre Dame DB Dave Duerson committed suicide; brain donated to Boston University for head trauma study - ESPN Chicago
Former Bears safety Dave Duerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, according to multiple reports, and the co-director of a medical school program tells The Associated Press his family has agreed to donate his brain for research. Duerson's body was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.

Jim Harbaugh turns up recruiting effort with Alex Smith | ProFootballTalk
We keep reading that Alex Smith is still a longshot to sign with the 49ers despite coach Jim Harbaugh’s recent flattering comments. The theory is that bringing Smith back would only be out of desperation. And then Harbaugh opens his mouth again and we begin to wonder.

Woodson: Favre had lots of opportunities to reach out to Rodgers | ProFootballTalk
The reports this week that Brett Favre wants to bury the hatchet with Aaron Rodgers has one player who’s been teammates with both of them wondering what took Favre so long.

Bears, Notre Dame remember Dave Duerson | ProFootballTalk
The sudden death of former Bears safety Dave Duerson has left many in the fooball world shocked and deeply saddened.

What releasing Atogwe means for Rams - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The St. Louis Rams like free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe and value having him on their team. They do not view Atogwe as an elite game-changer in the secondary, however, and that is why they released him Friday.

Michael Crabtree and the 2009 receivers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
NFL teams selected 34 wide receivers in the 2009 draft. Of those 34 players, the San Francisco 49ers' Michael Crabtree finished the 2010 regular season ranked seventh in receptions, eighth in yards and sixth in touchdowns.

Detroit Lions docked draft picks for tampering of Kansas City Chiefs - ESPN
The NFL says the Lions have violated the league's policy against tampering and ruled they must forfeit their upcoming seventh-round draft pick and exchange fifth-round picks with the Chiefs.

NFL, union finish first session with mediator - ESPN
The contentious NFL labor negotiations met in front of a federal mediator Friday, two weeks before owners could impose a lockout on players and threaten the 2011 season.

Indianapolis Colts release 2-time Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders - ESPN
Two-time Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders, plagued in recent years by injuries that have limited him to nine games in three seasons, has been cut by the Colts. news: Pricey roster bonus forces Rams to cut safety Atogwe
The St. Louis Rams have released safety O.J. Atogwe, a league source said Friday. news: Steelers use franchise tag on versatile OLB Woodley
The Pittburgh Steelers used their franchise tag on outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, the team announced Friday.

2011 mock draft, take one | ProFootballTalk
5. Cardinals: Von Miller, linebacker, Texas A&M. Joey Porter may want to avoid the high-stakes craps tables, because he’s not going to be on an NFL roster much longer. A high character prospect and the draft’s top pure pass rusher, Miller would make Arizona’s annually underachieving defense better in a hurry.

NFL, union mum after second day of mediation - ESPN
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, union executive director DeMaurice Smith and members of their negotiating teams participated in a second consecutive six-hour session with a federal mediator Saturday, trying to spur progress less than two weeks before the league's labor deal expires.

Report: Suicidal Dave Duerson sent brain-exam texts - ESPN Chicago
Former four-time Pro Bowl safety Dave Duerson, who committed suicide Thursday by shooting himself in the chest, sent text messages to family asking that his brain be examined for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition linked to more than a dozen deceased NFL players, The New York Times has reported.

TMQ presents the annual bad predictions review - ESPN
Tuesday Morning Quarterback's annual Bad Predictions Review needs no introduction, so let's dive in. And if you are thinking, "Mention me, I predicted mega-underdog Murray State would upset Vanderbilt during March Madness" -- actual correct prediction from President Barack Obama -- remember, this is the annual bad predictions review.

A window into a little NFL history | ProFootballTalk
Before the Herschel Walker trade or the Ricky Williams draft heist, there was the Ollie Matson megadeal. The Hall of Fame running back, who passed away over the weekend, was once traded to the Chicago Cardinals in exchange for nine Los Angeles Rams. The Pro Football Hall of Fame posted the telegram that included the trade details, and we thought it was so cool we should pass it along.