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6-3-11: Bird Droppings - Cards "Think Highly" Of Orton, Beanie/Dockett Interviews, More

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Time to end this week with some updates on how the Cardinals do think highly of Kyle Orton and apparently have him rated similarly to Kevin Kolb, also interviews with Beanie and Dockett along with a look at the end of the 1998 season from Urbans blog and stop percentages for NFC West Linebackers and Defensive Backs.

Cardinals News:

Cardinals "think highly" of Kyle Orton | ProFootballTalk
On the same day that we wondered if the Broncos are trying to manufacture a high price tag for Kyle Orton, we have a report from the Arizona Republic that indicates the Cardinals are interested. (And this report could be a manufactured way to reduce Kevin Kolb’s pricetag. Got all that?) Kent Somers is hearing that the Cardinals "think highly" of Orton.

Beanie not worried about his job but is about QBs -
Just because the NFL players are locked out doesn't mean their lips are sealed. Some are more than willing to talk and media members are more than willing to listen. On Thursday Arizona Cardinals running back -- for now -- Beanie Wells exercised his right to an opinion as a guest on Happy Hour with Jody Oehler in Tucson where he was very candid about his team and what transpired in April's draft.

Dockett continues to work during lockout -
Needless to say the ongoing NFL lockout is affecting all NFL players and teams, but it is impacting some a lot more than others. "[The lockout] benefits everyone that's been to the playoffs and the Super Bowl teams," Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett told ESPN Tucson's Jody Oeheler. "It's benefitting all them, but not the teams that finished in last place, the teams that need quarterbacks or have new coaches. I think it's hurting more people than they realize."

Cardinals may get to Flagstaff after all -
While many have begun to question whether the NFL lockout will stretch well into training camp, news of a special negotiation session in Chicago on Thursday has turned some doubters into optimists.

Word From the Birds Blog - Revisionist History: Charging into the ’98 playoffs
These were heady times for the Cardinals. The team was far from dominant and weekly, the Cards were barely scraping by with wins to stay in the playoff hunt. But there they were in 1998, going into the season finale at home knowing a win over the Chargers would put them in the playoffs for the first time since the team moved to Arizona a decade earlier.

Broncos asking for second round pick for Orton -
The Arizona Cardinals are in desperate need for a quarterback, but acquiring one is much easier said than done. One of the quarterbacks the Cardinals have shown interest in is Denver's Kyle Orton. While Orton may be a good fit in Arizona, he is also a good fit in Denver and the Broncos will not easily part with their veteran gunslinger.

Cardinals second best organization in NFC West -
The Arizona Cardinals may have finished 5-11 and in last place in the NFC West last season, but Fox Sports' Adam Schein thinks the Cardinals are the second best organization in the division. blogs - Kent Somers - Briefly, on Cardinals coaches and lockout
Add the Cardinals to the growing list of coaching staffs who knew nothing of a brief filed last week by the NFL Coaches Association in support of the players' efforts to end the lockout. Unlike some teams, such as the Jets, the Cardinals haven't issued any public statements about it. But I'm told Coach Ken Whisenhunt and his assistants knew nothing about the brief prior to its filing. Coaches are sensitive to any perception that they are siding with the players in the dispute. Most assistants that I've talked to just want to stay out of the whole affair. Like most of us, they just want to know when football will be played. Kolb might not suit Cardinals' offense
If the pundits are correct, then Philadelphia backup Kevin Kolb is likely headed to Arizona once the moratorium on trades is lifted, probably for a couple of second-round draft choices. There are still some concerns about Kolb among Arizona coaches. They note that Kolb, who has indicated that he would prefer to be dealt rather that sit behind Vick for another year - and for whom the Eagles need to net a return, rather than just allow him to depart in free agency in 2012 - has thrown more interceptions (14) than touchdown passes (11) in his brief playing time. They wonder about his decision-making. But mostly the Cardinals' brass wonders if Kolb is the right fit for coach Ken Whisenhunt's offense. blogs - Kent Somers - Kevin Kolb and the manufacturing of leverage
There was a least a smidgen of hope today on the labor front with the news that the two sides were meeting in Chicago and discussing a settlement. Skepticism is warranted because we've traveled this road before, only to be stopped by road blocks. If when, or if, there is a settlement, I still expect the Cardinals to immediately pursue a trade for Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb. But I also think the Cardinals will make it clear to the Eagles that they have other options.

Arizona Sports News:

Diamondbacks sluggish in series-opening loss to Nationals
Nearly four years ago, the Diamondbacks' draft room at Chase Field was divided on whom to take with a supplemental first-round selection. Some wanted Mississippi State's Ed Easley, the winner of the Johnny Bench Award, given to college baseball's best catcher. But others were vocal in their support of a pitcher named Jordan Zimmermann, a right-hander out of a Division III school in Wisconsin. They went with Easley, hoping Zimmermann would make it to their next pick. He never did. Instead, it was the Washington Nationals who grabbed him, and the Diamondbacks on Thursday night got their first up-close look at the pitcher they bypassed, as Zimmermann tossed seven strong innings in a 6-1 victory.

ASU softball opens Women's College World Series with win over Oklahoma
Katelyn Boyd will remember this one. Arizona State's shortstop banged a home run to left-center to lead off the fifth inning as the Sun Devils beat Oklahoma 3-1 on Thursday in the first round of the Women's College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Suns active in trying to trade up for UA's Williams -
The Phoenix Suns need a dynamic forward to replace Amare Stoudemire, and they may be able to find one in the 2011 NBA Draft. Just not at pick #13.

Shaquille O'Neal always left us wanting more
He broke hearts in Orlando. He broke baskets all over America. He broke bad with high-profile teammates. Like any great entertainer, Shaquille O'Neal always left you wanting more. "Shaq is the only guy I ever played against where I said, 'Man, that is a big-ass dude,' " former Suns star Charles Barkley said. Now that he's retired, O'Neal will not vanish into thin air. He's a Twitter pioneer, the first athlete to embrace and unleash the power of social media. He will exist on millions of televisions and cellphones for many years to come.

Will Vontaze Burfict go down as ASU football's best defensive player?
Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict reeled in another preseason honor Thursday. Playboy 2011 preseason All-American (Look for it in the September edition). Last week, Burfict, a junior, was named to Phil Steele's first-team All-America team. He also has been named's and Lindy's Preseason National Defensive Player of the Year. All this attention puts Burfict in position to go down as one of the top defensive players in school history.

NFL News:

NFL, players present sides to appeals court in St. Louis hearing - ESPN
The NFL and its players went back to court Friday for a pivotal hearing before a federal appeals court on the legality of the lockout, now nearly three months old with no sign of a new collective bargaining agreement that would save the 2011 season.

Why NFC West linebackers did not register - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Aaron Schatz's piece on defensive stop rates caught my attention for what it did not include, namely any mention of NFC West players among the highest- or lowest-ranked linebackers.

Seahawks best organization in NFC West? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Adam Schein of Sirius NFL Radio and is back with his third annual NFL organizational rankings. The Seattle Seahawks have overtaken the Arizona Cardinals for the top spot in the division based on ownership, quarterback, coach, front office, coaching staff and intangibles. Schein values each of those categories the same for the purposes of his evaluation, scoring teams on a 10-point scale and allowing, in some cases, for expected moves to influence rankings.

Report: AEG's Tim Leiweke wants Los Angeles City Council to give go-ahead for downtown NFL stadium by July 31 - ESPN Los Angeles
AEG's Tim Leiweke wants the Los Angeles City Council to approve his plan for a downtown NFL stadium by July 31, or else he says the project could be abandoned, according to a report.

Chat wrap: About those sleeper receivers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Scott (Northglenn, CO): Who is a sleeper at receiver that you can see having a surprisingly good year? Danario Alexander, Ben Obomanu, Early Doucet, Mark Clayton?

Keeping the lawyers out will be the key to progress | ProFootballTalk
Somehow, the NFL and the NFLPA* found a way to meet for the last two days without any lawyers present. It’s something for which key figures on each side of the dispute have been clamoring for months, dating back to influential and respected Patriots owner Robert Kraft, in the days preceding the Super Bowl. "In my opinion, we could get a deal done in the next week," Kraft said in early February. "If business people sat down on both sides, and we tried to get the lawyers in the background. . . . Get lawyers away from table. Lawyers are deal breakers, not deal makers."