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2-9-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings

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The news on the DC search is finally coming along, and it looks like Ray Horton will be the new Defensive Coordinator before the day is over. I also saw that he is planning to bring former Steelers and Colts cornerback Deshea Townsend with him for a spot on the Coaching Staff. We will all find out soon enough...

Pittsburgh Steelers' Ray Horton new Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator, according to sources
Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton appears to be in line to become the Cardinals new defensive coordinator, according to sources, and the deal could be finalized as soon as Wednesday.

Horton likely to be named Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator -
It looks like the Arizona Cardinals will have a new defensive coordinator who spent the 2010 season as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' coaching staff. It just won't be either of the names that were heavily touted for the job over the last month.

Wolf: Steelers deny Cardinals, but Arizona still wins -
I really wanted Keith Butler to be the next defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals. Butler is very close to Ken Whisenhunt. Butler is certainly qualified, the understudy of Dick LeBeau. And he certainly would have Whisenhunt's trust. It seemed too good to be true; it was. The Steelers were obstructionists after all. Despite preliminary reports to the contrary, they denied the Cardinals request to interview Linebackers Coach, Keith Butler.

Closing in on a DC
It’s amazing, the speed of today’s media and info being thrown out there so quickly in a story such as the Cardinals’ pursuit of a defensive coordinator. There have been twists and turns — and maybe not even "real" twists and turns as much as the appearance of them — but ultimately, things seem to be playing out much like everyone thought for a while. The Cards asked for permission to interview Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler and secondary coach Ray Horton. Butler permission was denied, but Horton was available. And now, Horton is flying out to Arizona Wednesday. Nothing is official — it’s never done until it’s done — but all signs certainly seem to point toward Horton being the next Cardinals’ defensive coordinator. He worked with coach Ken Whisenhunt for three seasons in Pittsburgh, and he knows well the 3-4 Steelers defense that Dick LeBeau has built (and who used as Bengals’ head coach while Horton was coaching there too).

The other possible coaching change
While everyone waits for the results of Ray Horton’s interview to be the new defensive coordinator, the Cardinals could quickly find out about another possible change on their coaching staff — now that Southern Oregon has been accepted into the Frontier Conference, their announcement of a new head football coach could come as soon as today. That could impact the Cards because quarterbacks coach Chris Miller is among the finalists for the head coaching job. He, along with the other finalists, already had interviews. It’s now down to a job offer. Obviously, if Horton is hired, there could still be defensive staff changes too; ESPN already reported this morning that if Horton is named defensive coordinator he will be bringing longtime NFL cornerback Deshea Townsend — who played for the Steelers for 12 seasons before playing eight games for the Colts in 2010 — for a spot on the staff.

Arizona's potential choices being whittled down quickly | National Football Post
The list the Arizona Cardinals have put together in their search for a defensive coordinator is getting whittled down. Quickly.

Is Marc Bulger the answer at quarterback? -
Is Marc Bulger on his way to the desert and ready to make a comeback similar to the one Kurt Warner had with the Arizona Cardinals? If you're to believe D'Marco Farr, St. Louis Rams' color analyst, it sure sounds like it.

NFL: The Arizona Cardinals should not pursue Marc Bulger at QB - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals' brain trust reportedly asked Fitzgerald for his opinion as to which quarterback they should trade for or sign this offseason. Sources indicated Fitzgerald gave them two names: Kevin Kolb and Marc Bulger. (ESPN Insider article)

Mailbag: Seahawks LB questions - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Randy from Peoria, Ariz., writes: Rhetorical question here. When will Ken Whisenhunt finally wise up? The Pittsburgh Steelers are the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Arizona Cardinals cannot be or become the Pittsburgh Steelers of the West. I can tolerate him (Coach Whiz) a lot more easily if he'd have taken the approach of, "We'll be the best Arizona Cardinals we can be." I just hope I'm blown away by what a great choice he makes for defensive coordinator. I'll be happy to apologize for my increasingly dismissive attitude about Coach Whiz if that occurs.

Mailbag: Claiming Kurt Warner's legacy - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Al from Kingston, Jamaica: Sando, greetings, mon. Die-hard Ram fan here, probably the only one you'll meet living In Jamaica. My question for you is, am I the only St. Louis fan who gets agitated when the Cardinals talk about Kurt Warner is if playing for their franchise made him an all-time great? Hello! Though he had a few great seasons in Arizona and he may have brought them to the Super Bowl, he didn't win it with them. He won it with the St. Louis Rams. I could go on.

Jake Plummer, The Idaho Handball Dude Who Was Once An NFL Quarterback - From Our Editors -
Chris Ballard's nine page profile of Jake Plummer in the upcoming issue of Sports illustrated is fantastic, but it's really just a trip to a handball tournament in Idaho to watch a dude fetch beer for his buddies while enjoying life---and that is precisely the point. Jake Plummer walked away from football not to become a normal person, but because he was a normal person, the kind who just wanted to play games for fun, hang out with his family, and grow a beard and wear cargo shorts all the time. This is assumed to be somewhat abnormal in professional sports, and it is, but growing out a beard and hanging around in cargo shorts all the time is all I do anyway, so it sounds fantastic.

Sources: Steelers assistant Ray Horton to meet with Cardinals - ESPN
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton is scheduled to meet with the Cardinals in Arizona Wednesday to finalize a deal to become the team's defensive coordinator, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Both sides expect to get the deal done, the sources said.

On Cards' search for defensive coordinator - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Keith Butler, the Arizona Cardinals' logical but undeclared top choice to become defensive coordinator, appears likely to remain with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Cardinals requested permission to interview Butler, but the Steelers denied their request for the second time in three seasons, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reported. That comes as no surprise, diminishing the degree to which the news qualifies as a setback. Landing Butler would have been a best-case scenario based on his experience and the fit with the Cardinals' staff. blogs - Kent Somers - Close to DC decision
Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton appears to be in line to become the Cardinals new defensive coordinator, according to sources, and the deal could be finalized as soon as Wednesday.

Talk builds of potential draft-day plunge for Ryan Mallett | ProFootballTalk
One month ago, we passed along a report from NFL Network’s Albert Breer stating that Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett’s draft stock would be adversely affected by "off-field issues." Though we’ve yet to uncover any damning specifics aside from Mallett’s seemingly harmless 2009 arrest for public intoxication, Breer’s report appears to be backed up by Adam Caplan of

London game may be casualty of labor situation | ProFootballTalk
The NFL wants to return to London in 2011, but a work stoppage — even one that’s settled before the start of the regular season — could prevent that game from happening. Alex Marvez of reports that NFL V.P. of International Business Chris Parsons says the logistics of putting together a game at Wembley Stadium require the league to know several months in advance that it will actually have a game to play.

Super Bowl featured "angry" crowd | ProFootballTalk
We’ve heard various complaints from readers who attended the Super Bowl — and whose tickets actually translated to seats in the stadium — that the line to get in the building was way too long and moved way too slowly. It contributed to a surly mood among the masses. "That was the angriest crowd I’ve ever been around," Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News said during a Tuesday appearance on ProFootballTalk Live.

Mark Sanchez, A 17 Year-Old Girlfriend, And Another Lesson From Deadspin - From Our Editors -
If you follow sports or the New York Jets, you've probably heard about a "Mark Sanchez scandal" at some point over of the last few days. Chances are, you heard Deadspin's name linked to it, and after the sensation created by their coverage of Brett Favre's explicit photos and Rex Ryan's foot fetish, you thought to yourself, "Oooo... I wonder what they'll come up with this time." That's what I thought, at least. But it's not quite as sensational this time. In case you missed the coverage at Deadspin or at the New York Post Wednesday morning, here's a brief rundown of what we know...

Fans sue NFL, Cowboys, Jerry Jones over Super Bowl ticket fiasco | ProFootballTalk
The first lawsuit over the Super Bowl XLV ticket fiasco has been filed. The suit, filed in federal court in Dallas, accuses the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones of breach of contract, fraud and deceptive sales practices.

Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith working closely together | ProFootballTalk
Alex Smith is scheduled to be a free agent this year, but the signs continue to grow that he’ll be back with the 49ers.

Phil Simms apologizes for Desmond Howard incident | ProFootballTalk
Former Super Bowl MVP Phil Simms got into an altercation Saturday with another former Super Bowl MVP, Desmond Howard. Simms didn’t like that Howard had spoken critically of the football skills of one of Simms’ sons (at least Howard didn’t accuse Phil of "laissez-faire" parenting), and Howard didn’t like the way that Simms made it known that he didn’t like it, allegedly threatening to punch Howard. (Simms, without denying a threat to throw a punch, later told Richard Deitsch of that there was "no chance" of a physical confrontation.)