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4-5-11: Bird Droppings - NFC West D-Lines, O-Line Needs, Draft Board Beginning

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Your links for today, including stuff on NFC West Defensive Lines, needs on the Offensive Line, the Cards beginning construction on their Draft Board, how Whiz ranks among head coaches in the NFL, a visit by Brooks Reed (from U of A) with the Cards and two losses in a row by the D-Backs.


The best defensive line in NFC West - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona Cardinals: They have the best young talent across the board with Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and the emerging Dan Williams projected to start in 2011. I'm with Williamson in thinking the 2010 season was an aberration for this group. Dockett played hurt. Williams, as a rookie, faced an adjustment period. The Cardinals should expect improvement up front. Dockett expressed frustration during the season when his injured shoulder would not let him fight through double teams as effectively. He's a hard worker and should come back strong. New coordinator Ray Horton is adapting his system to fit some of the Cardinals' existing terminology, but the key is whether Williams builds on a strong finish to 2010 and whether Campbell bounces back from a down season. What to watch for from Williamson: strong thoughts regarding what's in store for Campbell.

Word From the Birds Blog - Lining them up front
Inevitably, most of the talk with the draft and the Cardinals has been about pass rushers and quarterbacks, as it should be. Those remain the two greatest areas of need. But, as many of you have pointed out before, offensive line is a unit that cannot be ignored. How the Cardinals analyze that need could dictate how the draft plays out (assuming, right now, that there is no free agency period before the draft).

Brooks Reed visiting the Cardinals today | National Football Post
University of Arizona outside linebacker-defensive end Brooks Reed is visiting the Arizona Cardinals today, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

A plan for the Cardinals with fifth pick - NFC West Blog - ESPN
One of the hardest-core Arizona Cardinals fans I know ("Jeremy S.") occasionally sends detailed messages to me breaking down various aspects of the team. His latest plan goes like this

Word From the Birds Blog - The door is closed
At long last, for those out there wondering, the process has started. The scouts have arrived in Tempe, and the "war room" for the draft is now used by front office, coaches and scouts to begin the lengthy process of breaking down available players, combine thoughts and pro day reports to grade them all and build a draft board. The work will last a couple of weeks, and in addition they will eventually do some mock drafts to get a sense of who will go where. blogs - Kent Somers - Whisenhunt the NFL's 12th best coach?
ESPN polled its divisional bloggers for their opinions on the NFL's top coaches. Not surprisingly, the Patriots' Bill Belichick was first on every ballot.

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All In: Cheerleaders in Japan - Part Two

Arizona Diamondbacks fall to Chicago Cubs in series opener
The Diamondbacks' bullpen struggled late and the offense couldn't get going in 4-1 loss on Monday.

Arizona Diamondbacks fall to Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of series
The D-Backs' second rally of the game wasn't enough in a 6-5 loss against the Cubs today in Chicago.

How I ranked NFL's top 10 head coaches - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Our Power Rankings for NFL head coaches are out and Tim Graham has the full breakdown on the AFC East blog.

Instincts correct on second-tier QBs - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Facebook friend Barrett was on the right track when he said NFL teams have struggled finding quarterbacks in the second and third rounds. Teams tend to overvalue quarterbacks in the draft, which means the most promising ones rarely escape the first round. Teams tend to focus on other positions in the rounds immediately following the first round before "taking flyers" on the position later in the draft.

Replay: Arizona Cardinals and NFL live chat
Replay: Arizona Cardinals and NFL live chat, Kent Somers discussed all the hot Cardinals and NFL topics with you, the fans.

NFL: Scouts Eye: NFC West D-lines - ESPN Insider
Each Monday, Matt Williamson from Scouts Inc. breaks down a key position group in a division. Last week, he reviewed AFC West safeties. Today, he reviews and ranks the NFC West defensive lines from best to worst.

NFL gives $1M to charities of current, ex-players - ESPN
The NFL has awarded $1 million in grants to the charities of nearly 90 current and former players.

Dallas Cowboys TE Martellus Bennett: Jon Kitna, Tony Romo should battle for job - ESPN Dallas
Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett thinks Jon Kitna has earned the right to battle Tony Romo for the starting quarterback job.