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6-1-11: Bird Droppings - Needing The Offseason, McCown And Fitz

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Time to start off June with a few links, including posts from Urban on how the Cardinals are one of the teams who need the offseason work that has been put on hold, and how Denny Green's faith in Josh McCown led the Cardinals to draft Larry Fitzgerald and how things changed for us by not drafting a Quarterback in 2004 (besides John Navarre in the 7th round).

Cardinals News:

Former Buckeye, current Cardinal defends Tressel -
im Tressel, seemingly under fire from every direction, has at least one supporter in one of his former players. Beanie Wells, now a running back for the Cardinals, has been outspoken in his defense for the former Ohio State coach. As Beanie explained on ESPN Tuesday, Tressel was just being a father protecting his kids.

Word From the Birds Blog - Needing the offseason
As the opportunity for any organized offseason work drains away with the passing days, there is a legitimate argument both ways over the importance of the offseason and what it means to each team. Last week, veteran NFL writer Vito Stellino — through SI’s Peter King — talked about how the offseason work once didn’t exist and the NFL operated just fine. Again, it’s a fair point to make. Notes Stellino, "The real reason for these things is Parkinson’s Law. Work expands to fill the time available for its completion." He points out that players once had to work in the offseason to make enough money, and it’s only with the advent of bigger contracts — and the ability for players to not have to work — that have allowed players to be available to do more each offseason. Perhaps. I would tend to argue the other side.

Word From the Birds Blog - Revisionist History: McCown produces Fitz
The Cardinals were sitting with the third overall pick in a draft heavy with quality quarterback options, so when the just-hired Dennis Green decided to cut incumbent veteran Jeff Blake in early February of 2004, it didn’t really raise any eyebrows (although it did lead to one of the greatest quotes I have ever collected, from Blake when talking about his career: "It’s not like I’ve played bad ball. I’ve just been on bad teams.") That changed quickly. So too did the future of the Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals: 5 Bold Predictions for the 2011 Season | Bleacher Report
The Arizona Cardinals finished their 2010 campaign with a record of 5-11; a record that hasn't met their expectations as of late. The season was filled with disappointment. The Cards went through three different quarterbacks: Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton. While Skelton showed the most potential out of the three, the Cards still didn't have the right man for the job. So now the Cardinals enter the 2011 season hoping to regain their winning form and hoping to take back the NFC West.

Arizona Sports News:

Florida Marlins' Anibal Sanchez shuts down streaking Arizona Diamondbacks
After an amazing stretch, one that sent them surging up the National League West standings, the Diamondbacks ran into Anibal Sanchez, setting up a tug of war between a hot pitcher and a hot team. On a pleasant night in downtown Phoenix, the pitcher won.

Vegas is noticing the Diamondbacks -
If you are the type of person who places a bet on their favorite team to win its respective championship before the season regardless of how good they are supposed to be, you are in a good spot right now with regards to the Diamondbacks.

Shaq Announces Intention To Retire From NBA After 19 Seasons -
Shaquille O'Neal has announced his intention to retire after 19 years in the NBA. He will go down as one of the best big men to ever play the game.

(Because he is a former Sun)

NFL News:

Which offensive players can become elite? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree qualifies as the most compelling and enigmatic player in the NFC West this offseason. In recent weeks, various reports have suggested Crabtree was not attending the 49ers' player-organized workouts, that he likely would attend, that he could be doing more and that an invitation still might be pending. Crabtree presents an inviting target for quarterbacks, and for criticism. His is the high draft choice who missed nearly one-third of his rookie season in a fight over money, then put together a sophomore season that produced more questions than answers regarding just where Crabtree is headed. The third-year wide receiver prevailed comfortably in unscientific polling as the young, unaccomplished player most likely to one day join Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald among the 10 best offensive players in the league, not counting quarterbacks.

Source: NFL supplemental draft in July if needed - ESPN
If any players from Ohio State decide to apply for the NFL's supplemental draft in the wake of Jim Tressel's resignation, they will have the chance to be drafted despite the lockout. An NFL official on Tuesday told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the supplemental draft will be held sometime in July -- if there are applicants. news: 49ers reportedly told to stop talking about their free agents
No more talk about quarterback Alex Smith, or any of your other free agents, please. news: Browns RB Hillis the latest athlete on Madden cover
If you're an NFL fan or a fantasy football enthusiast, you've likely heard of the dreaded Madden cover curse. Even for those who consider jinxes or hexes to be foolish, it's hard to overlook the fact that whoever has donned the cover of the video game has suffered from an injury or some sort of decrease in overall statistical success. The curse brings additional interest this season, as fantasy superstar running back Peyton Hillis will don the latest version. In an effort to help fantasy leaguers decide if this infamous hex is actually reason enough to pass on Hillis in drafts, here's a look back at the stories of former cover athletes. news: In the shadows: Flacco, Forte among guys who deserve credit
As the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to say, "I don't get no respect." The same holds true for certain players around the league.

Another victim of the lockout: youth football camps | ProFootballTalk
It’s hard to find a corner of the football world that hasn’t been affected by the lockout. Youth football camps are even taking the brunt of the decision by owners and players to squabble at a time of unprecedented prosperity. In Denver, the Mile High Football Camp won’t have player involvement for the first time because of the lockut. Run by the Pagano brothers (John is San Diego’s linebacker coach; Chuck is Baltimore’s defensive coordinator), the camp has previously included players like Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler. The lockout doesn’t allow for coach-player interaction, though, so this year it’s all coaches.

Herzlich describes himself as "Cam Newton of free agency" | ProFootballTalk
Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, the cancer survivor who was invited to the NFL draft but not selected, is continuing to do what he’s always done: Keeping a positive attitude.

NFLPA to hold rookie education program in June - ESPN
The NFL Players Association will stage a two-day educational program for rookies at the end of June and cover all costs.

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has benign tumor removed from brain stem - ESPN
Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf was recovering in California on Tuesday after doctors removed a benign tumor from his brain stem. The 35-year-old Leaf had been experiencing headaches, dizziness and blurred vision before seeing a doctor May 18, his publicist, Margo Myers, told The Associated Press. He had surgery a week later at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., and was released Saturday.