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6-2-11: Bird Droppings - Fitz In The Red Zone, Workouts, Lockout Meetings

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As the week is beginning to draw to a close, we have some nice stuff for you. First is a link looking at how Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the deadliest targets inside the Red Zone in the last couple of years, along with stuff on the offseason workouts Cardinals players are running, a look at the Safeties and some stuff on the meetings between the owners as the next court decision on the Lockout is near.

Cardinals News:

When Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald sees red - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught 90 passes for 1,137 yards and six touchdowns without having a good quarterback last season. His average for yards per reception actually improved substantially over his final season catching passes from Kurt Warner. And his reception total was down by only seven. The primary decline came in touchdowns. Fitzgerald caught only six last season after catching 13 (2010), 12 (2009) and 10 (2008) over the previous three.

NFL Offseason: Quarterback Situation Taking Shape In NFC West - SB Nation Arizona
There is no real action in the offseason to discuss besides what happens with the lockout and the court hearings that are set to take place on Friday, but there is speculation and lots of discussion. Of all the divisions in the NFL, the NFC West was by far the worst and this offseason has three of the four teams with quarterback questions. As things have been rumored and reported, it appears that only the Arizona Cardinals are left to see who will be their starter. blogs - Kent Somers - Cardinals continue workout sessions
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who organized the Cardinals' informal workouts this spring, has left for his lake home in Minnesota, but many of his teammates are carrying on without him. Fitzgerald still plans to hold his annual camp for NFL players some time in July. Meanwhile, the Cardinals workouts have been moved from Arizona State to Scottsdale Community College, and the team's quarterbacks and many of its young receivers are working together. Very few defensive players have attended the workouts, but I'm hearing many of them have been working out together in Scottsdale for several weeks now. Strong safety Adrian Wilson is a strong force behind that group. Overall, the Cardinals have had great attendance at their sessions. That might result in no additional victories in 2011, but it's better than everyone staying home in the morning to eat biscuits and gravy.

Looking At The Safeties
It came out of nowhere when Adrian Wilson let it be known this offseason he had surgery to repair a hip abductor injury. Perhaps it explained Wilson’s self-admitted up-and-down season for a defense that struggled. Regardless, Wilson remains a team leader at the strong safety spot, and for the defense to rally under new coordinator Ray Horton, Wilson – along with veteran free safety Kerry Rhodes – will be crucial pieces.

Word From the Birds Blog - A little of this, a little of that
How much it ultimately means is anyone’s guess, but the under-the-radar meeting between owners and the NFLPA’s De Smith has to be a good sign, right? There is a hearing scheduled for tomorrow about the lockout once again, but it’s June and as long as there is talking, well, that’s better than the alternative.

Could Andy Reid be playing Cards and Kolb? -
The Kevin Kolb drama rolls on and in Thursday's episode there is intrigue and possible deception on tap. That's because former Eagles wide receiver Freddie "I'd like to thank my hands for being so great" Mitchell decided to take to the airwaves in Philadelphia to let Kolb know of the duplicitous nature of Andy Reid.

Arizona Sports News:

Arizona Diamonbacks rally to defeat Florida Marlins
When all is said and done this season, the word "resiliency" could go down as the Diamondbacks' calling card. Time and again, they have found ways to hang around games and then strike. They did it again Wednesday, this time using a heads up play by Willie Bloomquist in the ninth inning to steal a 6-5 win against the Florida Marlins in front of 16,169 on Wednesday at Chase Field. The victory was sealed on Justin Upton's broken-bat pop-up that dropped into right field to score Bloomquist, who was on third base.

Phoenix Suns' possible 2011 NBA draft targets
The Suns have the 13th pick in June's NBA draft. Paul Coro breaks down some of the players the team might target with that selection.

BYU's Jimmer Fredette thinks Phoenix Suns would be good fit
The thought of the Suns making Jimmer Fredette their first-round draft pick might be divisive among analysts, but it's not controversial in the mind of the BYU standout guard.

If D'Antoni and Colangelo reunite in Toronto, could Nash be next? -
Steve Nash will be the subject of trade rumors until he either leaves the Suns or retires from the NBA. Possible destinations have included New York and Toronto, because of the point guard's ties to the Knicks' head coach and the country of Canada. What if, however, the two joined forces?

Timberwolves want Nash to mentor Rubio -
It's open season. Not for hunting, rather for Steve Nash trade rumors.

NFL News:

Sources: Roger Goodell, group of NFL owners meet in Chicago area - ESPN
Roger Goodell and a small, but critical group of owners gathered in a Chicago suburb to discuss the league's current labor situation Wednesday, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

NFL, NFLPA meet for covert talks in Chicago - ESPN
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith, along with owners and players association officials met Wednesday and Thursday in Chicago to try to bridge some of their significant differences.

NFL: The lockout will make it tough for rookies to make an impact in 2011 - ESPN
If the NFL lockout runs into August (or later), rookies will be hard-pressed to make an impact in 2011, Jeffri Chadiha writes.

More coaches distance selves from NFLCA brief - ESPN
Several more coaching staffs have tried to distance themselves from a court brief filed last week by the NFL Coaches Association with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hines Ward: Only way to protect players is "flag football" | ProFootballTalk
Wearing a few goofy dance outfits hasn’t suddenly turned Hines Ward soft. Like his Steelers teammates, he expressed displeasure about the recent rule that will fine teams for excessive player safety violations.

More talk that the Broncos aren’t eager to trade Orton | ProFootballTalk
A report recently surfaced from the NFL Network that the Broncos wouldn’t trade quarterback Kyle Orton for anything less than a second round pick. Whether the Broncos are just posturing or not, Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post gets the same vibe.

The Alex Smith leadership conference - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts crossing my mind while assessing the leadership role quarterback Alex Smith is taking while organizing workouts for the San Francisco 49ers this offseason:

Ryan Leaf faces radiation if tumor left in brain grows - ESPN
Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf said Thursday he could face radiation treatments if the part of a brain tumor that couldn't be removed by doctors winds up getting bigger.

Lots of Fair Weather NFL Fans Out There | The Big Lead
The NFL has pretty consistently been rated as the most popular sport over the last two decades, with close to 50% of all adults (high: 55% in 1998, low: 46% in 1993) rating themselves as following professional football, according to Harris Poll data going back to 1992. What hasn’t been consistent, though, is how individual teams have ranked in terms of popularity over that span. I estimate that almost half the people who identify themselves as a follower of professional football either switch loyalties, or become a fan of team after they become good. If team fanbases were largely loyal and established fans from the geographic area, then we would see generally consistent polling data, with variations only due to polling sample size error (+/- 3% for the NFL team popularity polls). That’s not what we see, though.