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3-15-11: Bird Droppings - Lockout continues, The 5th pick in the Draft, Charity event with Fitz and Warner, Draft boycott

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Here is some stuff for today.

Taking The Fifth
In the draft, No. 5 overall pick has been fairly fruitful

Bidwill Addresses Labor Issues
Follow-up Q and A with the team president

Charity trumps lockout for Cards, players - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Larry Fitzgerald was catching passes from Kurt Warner on the Arizona Cardinals' practice field roughly 14 hours after NFL owners locked out players. Strange, but true -- and pretty cool all the way around.

A draft with no players?
No, I don’t mean there won’t be players picked. The news came out today that the NFL Players Association has told potential draftees not to go to New York and to not take part in NFL draft festivities. It’s not like it came out of the blue — suggestions floated around as far back as February — but the NFLPA isn’t commenting on the report, which is based on "multiple league sources." We’ve all watched the draft telecasts where players show up to Radio City Music Hall and go on stage for pictures with their new team’s jersey after being picked (the Cards’ Dan Williams did just that last year). It would make for an odd show without those moments, and without guys waiting backstage to hear their name called.

Larry Fitzgerald running away from field - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Our weekly positional power rankings shift to running backs this week. Paul Kuharsky will have the main piece on the AFC South blog later Tuesday. In the meantime, I wanted to offer another item on the receiver rankings that came out last week. Larry Fitzgerald finished second to Andre Johnson in that poll, but he has no serious competition in the NFC West.

Jay Feely: Fans are the ones who suffer | ProFootballTalk
When Cardinals kicker Jay Feely joined ProFootballTalk Live a month ago, he said he worried that emotions were getting in the way of the players and the owners getting a deal done. When Feely joined PFT Live again today — after the owners and the players did, in fact, fail to get a deal done — Feely said he doesn’t think emotions were the problem at the negotiating table. But he did say that he realizes fans are going to have an emotional reaction to the inability to reach an agreement.

Jay Feely says "we’re always willing to negotiate" | ProFootballTalk
Earlier today, Adam Schefter of ESPN quoted an unnamed NFLPA* source who said there’s "no chance" additional negotiations will continue between the league and the players before the April 6 hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction, aimed at lifting the lockout. Even earlier in the day, Cardinals kicker Jay Feely, who directly participated in the negotiations, said that talks can continue.

Video - Fox Sports Arizona
Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner on the NFL Labor Situation

Phoenix Suns fall to Houston Rockets
The past three games have been like the Suns' entire season. If they started to play better sooner, they would not have to work so hard to catch up. The Suns lost a game without ever leading for the third consecutive time Monday night, losing 95-93 to Houston despite a furious comeback led by unlikely suspects Josh Childress and Zabian Dowdell that ended with Jared Dudley missing an open 3-pointer for the win before time expired at Toyota Center.

Injured Steve Nash could be ready to face Hornets
Suns point guard Steve Nash missed a second consecutive game Monday night, but that does not mean he is resting. Nash needs workouts more than anything, and he had one when the team arrived in Houston on Sunday night, another one Monday morning and one during the game Monday night. With two more workouts today, Nash said he should be able to play Wednesday night at New Orleans.

Arizona Diamondbacks failing to impress in spring training
As spring training has worn on, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson has looked increasingly frustrated in his postgame sessions with reporters, sometimes wearing a look of exasperation.

Sources: NFLPA tells players to boycott draft - ESPN
The NFL Players Association is putting into place a plan that would prevent each top college prospect from attending next month's draft in New York, according to multiple league sources.

NFL lockout injunction hearing set for April 6 - ESPN
The federal antitrust lawsuit filed by players against the NFL has been reassigned to a third judge.

2011 Arizona Cardinals Mock Drafts - ArizonaSports.com

Continued uncertainty over labor negotiations and lockouts leaves the 2011 NFL draft as the only guaranteed event for the league's avid fan base. Mock drafts have become as integral to the hype of the annual April selection show as the event itself. Pundits from start-up bloggers to Mel Kiper do their best imitation of Nostradamus this time of year, donning their GM hats to figure out who would be the best fit for the Arizona Cardinals with the fifth overall pick. Here is a look at what what some of the major players, and Doug Franz, predict what the Cards will do in the first round.

Green: Blame yourself, not the NFL - ArizonaSports.com
When assessing the NFL's labor seemingly ever-changing and increasingly annoying situation, a popular thing to do has been to pick a side and immediately rail on the opposition. After all, someone has to be held responsible. Hell, it's billionaires vs. millionaires fighting over dollar figures most Americans can only dream about, so this type of bickering is just unacceptable. Right? Well, I'm not going to sit here and blame the players, and I'm not yet ready to look at the owners as the ones who caused this mess.

Espo: The Arizona Cardinals love us? - ArizonaSports.com
A Sunday afternoon in mid-March rarely is one where NFL football is on the forefront of a person's mind. Especially when that individual is going to a spring training game. This past Sunday was different. As I headed into Tempe Diablo Stadium, the spring home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- still the most ridiculous moniker in all of sports --, something caught my eye. It was a 10-foot-by-24-foot symbol that the NFL lockout had indeed begun and may be a longer and more tumultuous ride than being Mel Gibson's publicist.

Coyotes' Time In AZ Circling The Bowl, Goldwater Institute Can't Wait To Flush - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
Enough already with this mess. The Phoenix Coyotes are inches away from being flushed away to the frozen hell in Winnipeg where they will be loved and adored like only a small, one-team town can do. The Goldwater Institute, despite all their claims about acting only in the "public good", can't seem to wait to pull the handle and see them gone.

Plan would squander NFL fans' goodwill - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Fans caught in the crossfire between the NFL and NFL Players Association will naturally flee if the sniping becomes unbearable. An NFL Players Association plan to discourage players from attending the 2011 draft would not sit well with the paying customers, in my view.

Mailbag: Lost season worth shot at Luck? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Robert from Los Angeles wonders whether the Arizona Cardinals might consider selecting a running back in the second round after two disappointing seasons from Beanie Wells. He questions whether Wells can become a long-term starter.

Sources: Top LB Von Miller to visit with Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns - ESPN
Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller has two upcoming visits with teams holding very high picks in the NFL draft, according to sources.

Adrian Peterson lashes out at NFL owners | ProFootballTalk
In the moments after the NFL players’ union decertified on Friday, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had harsh words for NFL owners, ripping them for their refusal to open the books.

UFL pondering possibilities for pilfering NFL players during lockout | ProFootballTalk
The UFL stands to gain plenty from the NFL lockout. Already shifting the start of its season into August in the hopes of better competing for eyeballs against preseason NFL football, the UFL would step into the shoes of the league’s pro football monopoly if the lockout lingers. And with plenty of players not being able to play NFL football, the UFL is considering the possibility of providing employment for the available players.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Keeping the Defense Off the Field
The home team is down by a touchdown with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. For the second drive in a row, its offense sputters and punts after a three-and-out. The defense gets back on the field, beaten, broken, and exhausted. If the offense had been able to sustain drives, the defense might have had the energy to prevent the opposing offense from scoring another touchdown, effectively ending the game. This is a common story told repeatedly by announcers during fourth quarters. If the offense had played better and allowed the defense to rest more, the defense would have played more effectively.

Sheer luck buoyed Mark Sanchez's stats - AFC East Blog - ESPN
New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez showed notable growth in his sophomore season, flipping his touchdown-to-interception ratio from deplorable to dependable. As a rookie, he threw 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Last season, he recorded 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His passer rating increased 12.3 points. Numbers often can be misleading. Randomness aided Sanchez considerably.

Drew Brees of New Orleans Saints says NFL's final offer 'was all a show' - ESPN
The top spokesman for NFL players says the union and league were not very close to agreeing to a new labor deal last week.

Calvin Johnson play won’t change the rulebook | ProFootballTalk
There will not be a "Calvin Johnson Rule" added to the NFL next year.

Rep. John Conyers to target NFL's TV antitrust exemption - ESPN
A senior House Democrat says he will seek to eliminate the NFL's antitrust exemption for broadcasting contracts.

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Where We're Immune To The NFL Lockout - SBNation.com
Tired of contemplating the NFL lockout and its ramifications? Our latest first round 2011 NFL Mock Draft projection gives you an opportunity to, mercifully, talk a little football.