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5-13-11: Bird Droppings - Fitz's Offseason Travels, Whiz Interviews

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It's Friday the 13th today, and for this day I don't have a lot of Cardinals news. The main stuff is on Fitz's travels during this long offseason and two interviews with Coach Whiz.

Cardinals News:

Larry Fitzgerald had an exotic offseason - ArizonaSports.com
As an NFL superstar when you're asked the question ‘what did you do on your vacation?' the answer is usually a lot more interesting than they went to visit grandma or they stayed home to get some chores done. How Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald spent his vacation is a lot more unique than even most NFL superstars. Instead of spending time relaxing by the pool in his palatial backyard, promoting a new book or riding bulls, he traveled to Africa to go on safari.

Word From the Birds Blog - Finding another Freddie
In 2002, the Cardinals signed tight end Freddie Jones as a free agent. He had a good start to his NFL career while in San Diego, and he was an upgrade at the position. Turns out he was necessary that season too, because starting receivers Frank Sanders and David Boston each suffered injuries (as did MarTay Jenkins and Bryan Gilmore, the No. 3 and 4 guys) and with green wideouts like Jason McAddley and Nate Poole forced to play, a tight end was incredibly important. So, for the one and only time since the Cardinals moved to Arizona, a tight end – Jones – was the team’s leading pass catcher in a season. Jones had 44 receptions for 358 yards and one touchdown that season. Jones was even better the next season, with 55 receptions for 517 yards (that was Anquan Boldin’s rookie year, though, with 101 catches). And in 2004, Jones had 45 receptions for 426 yards. By 2005, though, Jones was gone. And the Cards have been searching for a tight end since.

Possible answers for Cards' many questions
As the NFL draft unfolded at Cardinals headquarters last month in Tempe, the chorus of confused voices grew larger with every round.

NFL.com news: Fitzgerald: How I spent my winter vacation
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald loves to combine his loves of photography and world travel, and he's been kind enough to share with us this "travelogue" detailing his recent trip to Africa.

Whisenhunt wants a QB that can stay awhile - ArizonaSports.com
Fans and the media weren't the only ones to notice the Arizona Cardinals were completely lacking a realistic option at quarterback last season. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt took note of it as well. In an interview with the USA Today Whisenhunt admitted that he found out a lot last year after starting a quartet of quarterbacks named Anderson, Hall, Skelton and Bartel. Not to mention the brief preseason flirtation with the player formerly known as the "quarterback of the future", Matt Leinart.

Word From the Birds Blog - Revisionist History: Warner’s arrival
We all know what Kurt Warner did for the Arizona Cardinals. We all know the power of his decision to retire. At the time he arrived, though?

Weights While Waiting
Strength and conditioning coaches Lott and Alosi continue workouts alone

Whisenhunt on NFL Total Access
Video Gallery: azcardinals.com

Arizona Sports News:

Matt Cain helps San Francisco Giants complete sweep of Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks had to have left AT&T Park with a feeling of offensive inadequacy, having scored a total of five runs while being swept by the San Francisco Giants in three games. But it's not as if it's an unfamiliar feeling. After falling 3-2 to Matt Cain and the Giants on Thursday afternoon, the Diamondbacks are 4-17 since the start of 2009 in this ballpark, a stretch in which they have hit just .208 and averaged just over three runs per game.

New Arizona Rattlers owner Ron Shurts plans to fill US Airways Center
A recent Rattlers survey showed that half the people in the Valley didn't even know the Arena Football League team was still playing. That is about as invisible a 7-1 pro sports team can get.

Rattlers, FOX Sports Arizona announce TV deal
Exciting Arena Football League action is set to make its return to FOX Sports Arizona, as the network and the Arizona Rattlers announced a new television partnership Friday. FOX Sports Arizona will televise five Rattlers games this season, beginning with Saturday’s home matchup against the Chicago Rush. The Rattlers currently sit atop the Arena Football League’s West Division with a 7-1 record and own a two-game lead over San Jose.

No Phoenix Suns players named to All-NBA teams
The Suns do not have a representative on the All-NBA teams for the first time since 2004 and only the fifth time since the league began honoring a third team in 1989. Guard Steve Nash was the only Suns player to receive votes but his 17 voting points (no first-team votes) were not close to the 106 points that San Antonio's Manu Ginobili accrued to claim the final third-team guard spot. In fact, Nash finished 10th in All-NBA voting among guards behind Derrick Rose (593), Kobe Bryant (551), Dwyane Wade (392), Russell Westbrook (184), Chris Paul (157), Ginobili, Rajon Rondo (68), Tony Parker (27) and Deron Williams (19).

ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict nets national preseason honor
Vontaze Burfict has won plenty of honors during his first two seasons at Arizona State. Two years ago, he was the Pac-10's Defensive Freshman of the Year. Last season, he was a second-team all-conference selection. The Sporting News tabbed Burfict as a first-team All-American. But to date, nothing tops this: Burfict is Lindy's preseason national Defensive Player of the Year.

Phoenix Coyotes saga needs a quick resolution
Reprieve fatigue has set in. Apparently, the Coyotes can't stay and won't leave. Even the diehards are worn out by the never-ending drama.

NFL News:

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Is Leinart a fit for Seahawks? "
With all of the speculation surrounding free agent quarterbacks and those who might be available via trade during these locked-out times, one name who hasn’t been setting the rumor mill abuzz is Matt Leinart. That changed (a little) Thursday when the Los Angeles Daily News reported the Seahawks have spoken to the former USC quarterback about rejoining former coach Pete Carroll.

NFL.com news: A Leinart-Carroll reunion wouldn't solve QB issues in Seattle
One of the fun things to do during a normal offseason is to the connect dots. For example, a coach leaves a team to go to another team, and then that coach signs free agents from his former club. This happens all the time. In some cases, the urgency to reunite can come from an assistant who changes jobs or from one who is suddenly promoted to head coach. It's the old adage: "He knows what to do and is better than what we have," running rampant through a new staff. Yet, is that true? Is a player who knows what to do always better? Does a team benefit from surrounding a new coach with players familiar with his schemes regardless of talent? The answer to both questions depends on the player.

Donovan McNabb: Bernard Hopkins' barbs 'are dangerous and irresponsible' - ESPN
Donovan McNabb wants to call for the bell and end this one-sided fight with Bernard Hopkins.

New Orleans Saints are NFL re-draft winners; Seattle Seahawks chumps - ESPN
Below you'll find re-drafts of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 first rounds. Each re-draft shows the player's new draft position, his old draft position, and how far he rose or fell. For instance, if a player (like Tennessee DB Cortland Finnegan) went 215th in the first draft but would go 15th now, he'd have a plus/minus score of +200. Some players, like former Jets DE Vernon Gholston, wouldn't be drafted at all now. So he falls from sixth overall to the last pick possible, 252nd, for a plus-minus of -246. Plus, you'll also see how your team ranked in the team plus/minus re-totals.