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7-12-11: Bird Droppings - Fitz Is Still The Best

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For todays links, we look at a story from PFF that graded Fitz as the best receiver in the NFL over the last three years, along with the typical Kolb/Orton stuff where it is mentioned that Kolb is the favorite and Orton is a very close second.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Word From the Birds Blog - This metric calls Fitz the best
There has been plenty of talk this offseason (and, unfortunately, plenty of time for such talk) about lists and the best players in the league, yada, yada, yada. That includes wide receiver, a position in which Larry Fitzgerald is always in the discussion, but, in large part of who has been throwing him the ball, not at the top. That changed with this grade scale from profootballfocus.com, which gives Fitz the nod (barely) over Houston’s Andre Johnson over the last three-year period.

Word From the Birds Blog - Soon, the fast and furious
So, whenever this is over — and again, it seems closer to that than it has been, right? — to say the NFL and those of us in it will be on a fast track is possibly a monumental understatement. There are stories about potential timelines, etc., etc., but what actually happens, both with a timeline and the actual rules in place, is very much still up in the air. Regardless, as we get to the middle of July, there are hundreds of contracts to work out, for both existing players with expiring deals and undrafted rookies and the drafted rookies (That first month or so is gonna be a grind-and-a-half for Rod Graves and Justin Casey).

Cardinals have a thing for Kevin Kolb - ArizonaSports.com
If the Cardinals were a single guy at the bar, Kevin Kolb would appear to be the lady they are eyeing from across the way. At least, that seems to be the case, as the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers, on Weisman Trophy show, said the Cardinals are "very attracted" to the Eagles QB.

Denver Broncos dealing Kyle Orton is a win-win for the Arizona Cardinals - ArizonaSports.com
Rumors and speculation about Kyle Orton being traded may have run rampant for a majority of the lockout but there had been very little credible information to suggest the Broncos would actually pull the trigger on a deal. That is, until now. Denver Post Broncos beat writer Mike Klis, who by all accounts is very dialed in with the team, made it clear in a mailbag Tuesday that he doesn't see Orton playing in the Mile High City this year.

Cards eyeing Kolb when they should be looking at Orton - ArizonaSports.com
When the NFL lockout ends the Cardinals will officially begin the search for their next QB. Where will it lead them? Well, if Dan Arkush of Pro Football Weekly has his way, it would be straight to Kyle Orton.

Kurt Warner says he didn't retire due to cheap Cardinals - ArizonaSports.com
Kurt Warner retired from the NFL less than two weeks after he and the Cardinals were eliminated by the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 NFL Playoffs. It was largely believed he hung up his cleats because, after 12 NFL seasons, the 38-year-old wanted to spend more time with his family. At least, those were the reasons he gave. That was all well and good (except for, you know, actually having to replace him on the field), until this tweet was fired off by a former Cardinals scout.

Warner responds to suggestion Cardinals were too cheap to keep him | ProFootballTalk
Former Cardinals scout Dave Razzano made waves this weekend when he criticized his former employee in how they handled Kurt Warner’s retirement. "Warner’s people told me he wanted to continue playing but decided to retire after being low-balled," Razzano wrote. Warner was due $11.5 million coming off a season where he led the Cardinals to a playoff victory before losing to the Saints. The idea that the Cardinals didn’t do enough to entice Warner to return is hardly new. Still, Warner took offense to the suggestion.

Arizona Sports News:

New York Yankees' Robinson Cano sets record in Home Run Derby win
His selection into the State Farm Home Run Derby almost raised as many eyebrows as some of his New York Yankees teammates' decisions to skip All-Star weekend in Phoenix altogether. But even no-shows such as Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera told second baseman Robinson Cano he could win the slugfest at Chase Field on Monday night. And that's exactly what happened, as Cano nipped Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the end by hitting a finals-record 12 home runs in front of a boisterous crowd of 44,820.

Fan nearly falls from stands during homer derby - ArizonaSports.com
The ball arching against Chase Field's bright lights, Keith Carmickle climbed up on a narrow table, leaned forward and lost his balance, momentum carrying him toward a 20-foot fall to a pool deck below. Had it not been for the quick reactions of his brother, a friend and a handful of fans Monday night at Major League Baseball's All-Star Home Run Derby, Carmickle might have suffered the same fate as Shannon Stone, the Texas Rangers' fan who died Thursday night trying to catch a ball thrown into the stands.

Weeks and Fielder receive big boos from Derby crowd - Big League Stew - MLB Blog - Yahoo! Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers don't have much of a rivalry, but you would have never known it after listening to the Chase Field crowd on Monday night. As Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks dug in for the Home Run Derby, he was greeted by a solid round of cascading boos from the pro-snake crowd.

Justin Upton diary of Home Run Derby - ArizonaSports.com
Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton may not be participating in the 2011 MLB All-Star Home Run Derby, but he will be tweeting during the event. ArizonaSports.com will post Upton's tweets.

All-Stars tweet during Home Run Derby - ArizonaSports.com
The MLB All-Star Home Run Derby is Monday, July 11 at Chase Field in Phoenix. Many of the participants and other All-Stars will be tweeting during the event and ArizonaSports.com is your source for their tweets.

NFL News:

NFL: Rookie pay a stumbling block - ESPN
Length of contracts and escalator clauses for top picks are at issue in labor talks

A simple solution to the rookie scale stalemate | ProFootballTalk
By all accounts and appearances, the rookie wage scale remains the biggest issue that currently is preventing the NFL and the players from striking a deal. The stalemate arises in part from the league’s insistence that teams should be permitted to sign first-round picks for up to five years, and from a proposed schedule at the top of the draft that would pay Panthers quarterback Cam Newton only $34 million over five years. (We’ve actually heard the base deal will be as low as $25 million over five years.)

Dream Team: Lessons in NFC West, beyond - NFC West Blog - ESPN
To the weary, our Dream Team project smells like an attempt to mask the NFL lockout's foul odor with cologne we wouldn't consider wearing during less malodorous times.

Panthers columnist: Jimmy Clausen will "almost certainly" open season as starter | ProFootballTalk
We’ve covered Cam Newton’s first offseason extensively at PFT and the kid seems to be preparing hard. The presumption, at least from us, was that he was preparing for a starting job. (Won in a competition in camp.) Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer, who knows the team’s dynamics better than us, sees things differently.

Deion thinks millionaire athletes need to hire a "no man" | ProFootballTalk
We’ve disagreed over the years with plenty of things that soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders has said and done. Most recently, we didn’t care much for his Twitter-style excuse-making on behalf of cornerback Pacman Jones, who while on probation in Las Vegas got himself into trouble in Cincinnati. But we agree completely with Sanders’ position regarding the primary challenge presented by young, rich athletes: Getting them to listen.

Top 15 fallout: Steven Jackson's absence - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The second in a series of items examining what Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. was thinking when he ranked the NFC West's 15 best players recently.

Police say Hines Ward of Pittsburgh Steelers failed field sobriety tests - ESPN
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward had glassy, bloodshot eyes and failed field sobriety tests during a traffic stop in Atlanta that landed him a drunken driving charge, according to a police report released Monday.

Mike Vrabel of Kansas City Chiefs retires, will coach LBs for Ohio State Buckeyes - ESPN
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday after 14 seasons. He said he has accepted the position of linebackers coach on Luke Fickell's Ohio State coaching staff.

Ex-Cincinnati Bengals returner David Lee 'Deacon' Turner shot, killed by cops - ESPN
A California deputy shot and killed a former running back for the Cincinnati Bengals in front of a convenience store after he allegedly hit an officer with a bag holding two cans of beer.

Making the Grade: 3-4 Defensive Linemen, 2008-2010 | ProFootballFocus.com
Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus continues running down the top-graded players of the past three years. Today he looks at 3-4 defensive linemen.