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9-20-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Defensive Adjustments, Graves Q&A

Time for some links to start off your morning, most of them are about the Cardinals defense, and even the possibility of simplifying the schemes for next week while the guys are still trying to learn everything about it.


Also, a couple of highlights from a Q&A that Rod Graves did for an ASU Business Club and a feature ESPN did on Dockett's life. Interesting stuff if you want to check that out.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Q&A w/ Rod Graves Today - Arizona Sports Fans Network
ASU has a Sports Business Association club and today Rod Graves came in and spoke to the club for a bit and held a pretty lengthy Q&A after he went over his background. Heard a lot of interesting things, he's a nice guy. The question and answer that stuck out in my mind the most:

Ghosts of the Past - ESPN Video - ESPN
Darnell Dockett is haunted by his mother's murder in 1994 and it motivates him to this day.

Word From the Birds Blog - Morning after with Whiz
Calling chances to win on the road "precious," coach Ken Whisenhunt said today about what you’d expect after the Cardinals blew that chance Sunday. The team, especially the defense, is a work-in-progress. Believe it or not, he said, there were some good plays made by the defense. But there is still too much yardage surrendered and too many mistakes made. "When we make bad plays," Whisenhunt said, "they are really bad." Whisenhunt knows the team needs to cut down on penalties, especially the "dumb" ones by the defense yesterday. He said Kerry Rhodes’ 15-yarder was because he inadvertently bumped an official, and the official knew it was an accident — otherwise, Rhodes would have been thrown out of the game. He also said the punt team missed the injured LaRod Stephens-Howling as the gunner, which impacted the Cards’ coverage.

Defense Sees Red
Improvement a must, but unit manages to rank 11th in scoring against

Arizona Cardinals defense may ease back
Ken Whisenhunt didn't mention it in his Monday news session with the media. In fairness, he wasn't asked about it, either. But safety Kerry Rhodes dropped a bombshell of sorts a day after the Cardinals' 22-21 loss to the Washington Redskins, saying Arizona's new complex, blitz-happy defense is about to undergo a transformation. Apparently, it's going to turn a little vanilla.

Behind decisions by Harbaugh, Whisenhunt - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Harbaugh's decision was the highest-profile tactical move an NFC West coach made in Week 2. Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt made an interesting call during the Cardinals' 22-21 defeat at Washington. With two timeouts remaining and the Redskins leading by a field goal midway through the third quarter, Whisenhunt threw his challenge flag to gain 13 yards in field position following a Kevin Kolb interception.

Silver linings: Cardinals at Redskins - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The facts: The Cardinals fell to 1-1 after suffering a 22-21 defeat to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Week 2.

Arizona Cardinals, ASU football need to get a grip on penalties
Is there something in the water? Is it time to test Tempe Town Lake for penalty-coli? Our football teams are ignoring the words of George Washington, who called discipline "the soul of an army." The Cardinals have the second-most penalty yards in the NFL with 79 per game, while the Sun Devils are No. 2 in the Pac-12 with 80.3. What in the name of unnecessary slough-ness is going on? When you're losing, penalties translate to lack of discipline. Fair or not, that falls on the coaches, who need to find a better way to get the message out in practices. That's on you, Ken Whisenhunt. That's on you, Dennis Erickson.

Jeff King making the most out of opportunities - ArizonaSports.com
The Arizona Cardinals are getting more than they bargained for after signing tight end Jeff King this offseason, as the six-year veteran leads the team in touchdowns, with two scores in two games. "You're going to have weeks where you have opportunities and you have to take advantage of them," said King. "I've been able to take advantage of a couple opportunities." King remains focused on the overall team goal of winning games, so having two touchdowns in two games doesn't mean as much when your team only has one win.

Mistakes blamed for Arizona's slim loss at 'Skins - ArizonaSports.com
Take any one of an assortment of mistakes out of Arizona's one-point loss at Washington- a penalty here, a turnover there- and the Cardinals would be the only 2-0 team in the NFC West. Coach Ken Whisenhunt found much not to like after reviewing the video of the 22-21 loss, yet he also came away with the knowledge, as he put it, that "there's a good team in there somewhere." The game ended when a defender stripped the wall away from wide receiver Chansi Stuckey after a completion from Kevin Kolb.

Cardinals need to fix their struggling defense - ArizonaSports.com
The Arizona Cardinals defense has looked less than inspiring in the first two weeks of the season. Arizona has given up more than 300 yards passing in each of the first two games and even the run defense, which was a bright spot in Week 1, was exploited by the Redskins Sunday. The Cardinals are ranked 29th out of 32 teams in overall defense, giving up an average of 466 yards a game. While it's still early in the season, that simply isn't good enough. Some of the defense's problems come from mistakes.

Cardinals ran the ball well when they actually ran the ball - ArizonaSports.com
The Arizona Cardinals averaged 6.2 yards per carry Sunday, nearly one-and-a-half yards per carry better than their opponent. However, the Washington Redskins picked up 172 yards on 35 carries, whereas the Cardinals tallied just 93 on 15. And of those 15 just three came in the first half, helping the Cards head into the intermission with just seven points.

Former Cardinal Hightower knew who to provoke - ArizonaSports.com
After seemingly moving the ball at will, the Washington Redskins saw their first drive of the game stall at the Cardinals' 20 when Rex Grossman threw incomplete to Santana Moss. Or not. There was some pushing and shoving after the play, enough to draw a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Cardinal Kerry Rhodes. The man who started the scrum? Former Cardinal Tim Hightower, and he told the Washington Post he knew exactly what he was doing.

Faith in Kolb: QB would have led Cardinals to win - ArizonaSports.com
The Cardinals had the ball on their own 20, trailing the Redskins for the first time since about midway through the third quarter. In his career, Kevin Kolb had engineered all of zero game-winning drives in the fourth quarter. His team down 22-21 with just 1:45 left, this would have been a good time to lead his first. The Cardinals thought it was going to happen.

Is Darnell Dockett doggin' it with his new deal? - ArizonaSports.com
Doug Franz of Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf show doesn't think that Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett has played up to his potential since he signed a contract extension in 2010. "I think that ever since Darnell Dockett signed his contract he's become average," said Franz. Average is not a word you associate with a three-time pro bowler. Doug is not saying that Dockett has become a defensive liability, but the big plays Dockett has been known for have not happened as often as they used to.

Let the offense save the defense - ArizonaSports.com
You can make the argument that the best defense is a good offense, and in the case of the Arizona Cardinals you would be right. The Cardinals defense through two games has been statistically one of the worst in the organization's history, having allowed 477 yards and 455 yards in their first two games. Last season the Cardinals ranked 29th in the NFL in yards allowed per game at 373.6 and things aren't getting better, they are getting worse.

Cards Daily: Finding an Early Groove
The Cardinals were able to get things going offensively in the second half against the Redskins. Coach Whisenhunt and others talk about the need to get the offense going from the start of the game.

In the Red Zone with Ken Whisenhunt - WAS Review
Coach Ken Whisenhunt joined the Doug and Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 620 to review the loss against the Washington Redskins.

Arizona Sports News:

Arizona Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy gets 20th win in victory over Pittsburgh Pirates
Ian Kennedy was feeling it early. The rhythm, the command, the confidence, all that was there from the first pitch. He couldn't wait to get the ball back from catcher Miguel Montero. And he was pitching against the Pirates, a team that a day before was pummeled in their worst loss of the season. All the pieces were in place, and Kennedy knew how to maneuver each and every one of them - flirting with history in the process - becoming a 20-game winner for the first time as the Diamondbacks notched a 1-0 victory in front of 24,458 at Chase Field.

Phoenix Mercury slip past Seattle Storm to advance
Candice Dupree's putback with 1.9 seconds remaining lifted the Mercury to a 77-75 victory over the Seattle Storm in Game 3 on Monday night, sending the Mercury to the Western Conference finals.

NFL News:

Rapid Reaction: Giants 28, Rams 16 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' loss to the New York Giants on "Monday Night Football" at MetLife Stadium:

Silver linings: Rams at Giants - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The facts: The St. Louis Rams fell to 0-2 with a 28-16 road defeat to the New York Giants on Monday.

Silver linings: 49ers vs. Cowboys - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The facts: The San Francisco 49ers fell to 1-1 with a 27-24 overtime defeat against the Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick Park in Week 2.

Silver linings: Seahawks at Steelers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The facts: The Seattle Seahawks fell to 0-2 with a 24-0 road defeat against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL Power Rankings, Week 3: Packers, Patriots Lead The Way; Eagles Take A Tumble - SBNation.com
SB Nation's NFL power rankings move onto Week 3 where the Packers remain the No. 1 team in the league, while the Eagles are barely holding onto a top 10 spot and the Redskins, Lions and Bills are surging up the board.

Week Two power rankings | ProFootballTalk
18. Cardinals (No. 17; 1-1): The best team (for now) in the NFC West barely cracks the league-wide top 20. Sounds about right.

NFL.com news: Week 2 observations: Titans' Johnson doesn't look the same
Had a blast as always watching a very full Sunday of football. Here are some things that struck me in Week 2:

Domenik Hixon Injury Update: Tight Calf, Not Injured Knee, Knocked Hicks Out - SBNation.com
Domenik Hixon missed the entire 2010 season with a torn ACL in his right knee, so it was nerve-wracking to see him hobble off the field Monday after scoring a second-quarter touchdown against the Rams. Initial reports confirmed fears that he re-injured the knee, and his return was officially dubbed "questionable."

Mario Manningham Injury: Giants, Manningham Disagree On Concussion Diagnosis - SBNation.com
Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham missed the entire second half of Monday's game with the Rams, and the team's explanation at the time was that he suffered a concussion. But after the game, Manningham dismissed the diagnosis.

Tony Romo Injury: Cowboys QB's Punctured Lung, And Why It Can Be A Dangerous Wound - SBNation.com
Tony Romo's injury isn't just a broken rib -- we learned on Monday that the Dallas Cowboys quarterback also has a small puncture in his lung. SB Nation's Medical Expert breaks down Romo's injuries and explains why punctured lungs can be so worrisome.

Eli Manning: 'He Had A Small Package, I'll Say His Package Got A Lot Bigger' - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Further evidence that Peyton and Eli Manning are basically Rod and Todd Flanders has surfaced Tuesday morning. Here is video of the younger Manning after the Giants' Monday Night Football win over the Rams:

Giants Players Fake Injuries Against Rams On Monday Night Football - SBNation.com
The New York Giants beat Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football and they were aided in doing so with an long-time tactic -- faking injuries.

VIDEO: Giants' Michael Boley Throws A Football Into Bystander's Head - SBNation.com
This is a reminder from Giants linebacker Michael Boley: If you are going to stand near an NFL football field, please pay attention.

Chicago newspaper criticizes Fox Sports for using phony headlines - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
In Sunday's editions, The Chicago Tribune criticized Fox Sports for running three fictitious newspaper headlines during the Bears' Week 1 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. The "headlines" referred to the criticism Jay Cutler received after leaving January's NFC championship game with an injury. During a quick fourth-quarter montage, three headlines flashed on screen, each accompanied by photo of Cutler looking despondent on the sideline.

Tony Romo's Injury Includes Punctured Lung, According To Report - SBNation.com
One of the story lines across the NFL this week is the comeback victory for the Dallas Cowboys over the San Francisco 49ers engineered by 201 fourth quarter passing yards by the Cowboys' Tony Romo. He left the game briefly with what was reported as a rib injury but later returned to lead the Cowboys to victory. ESPN Dallas reported on Monday morning that Romo suffered from a cracked rib and now ESPN's Chris Mortensen has more: Romo also has a punctured lung.

Jamaal Charles' Injury Lands Him On Injured Reserve - SBNation.com
The Kansas City Chiefs worst fears were realized on Monday morning when an MRI confirmed that Jamaal Charles' injury will land him on injured reserve. The injury is reported a torn ACL which will require a long recovery process for Charles (and it also ends a lot of fantasy football owners' seasons).

Aaron Hernandez Injury: Patriots TE Out 1-2 Weeks With MCL Sprain - SBNation.com
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has an MCL sprain and will miss 1-2 weeks.

Jordan Shipley Injury: Bengals WR Tears ACL, Out For Year - SBNation.com
The Bengals will be without Jordan Shipley for the rest of the season as the injured receiver has been played on IR, according to Marvin Lewis.

Nick Collins Injury: Packers Confirm Safety Is Our For Season - SBNation.com
Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins suffered a scary-looking neck injury in Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers. Jonathan Stewart caught a pass for the Panthers and Collins tried to make the tackle which caused his neck to slam into Stewart's body. Collins laid on the field as trainers tended to him and a stretcher was eventually brought out to carry him off. The Packers announced later that night that Collins had movement in his extremities. At his Monday press conference, head coach Mike McCarthy announced that Collins would go on injured reserve because of the neck injury. That will officially end Collins 2011 season.

Cam Newton Could Be Cruising To ROY Award With Historical Two-Week Stats - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Look at the statistical leaders for NFL quarterbacks after Week 2. On top sits Tom Brady, no surprise, with 940 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Just below Brady is Cam Newton, whose 854 passing yards are second best in the league and the best mark ever for a rookie quarterback after two games.

Rob Ryan Has Models On His Playchart, Because Rob Ryan Is The Best - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
On the surface, it looks pretty innocent. Sure, it seems kinda weird that Jerry Jones is letting Hagrid coach in the NFL, but there's nothing too groundbreaking about the photo up there. But let's see if we can zoom in and enhance that photo right there.

Dunta Robinson Fined $40,000 By NFL For Hit On Jeremy Maclin - SBNation.com
We figured the NFL would punish Dunta Robinson for his hit on Jeremy Maclin, but we didn't realize it would come this quickly. Less than 24 hours after the Falcons cornerback lowered his head and connected with a brutal helmet-to-helmet blow, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks announced a $40,000 fine.

Eli Manning doesn’t think Giants fans are booing him | ProFootballTalk
As Eli Manning struggled early in Monday night’s game against the Rams, Giants fans booed. But Manning cheerfully said after the game that he thinks those boos must have been meant for the Rams.

Ref was powerless on Giants’ fake injuries, but NFL is not | ProFootballTalk
Two New York Giants blatantly faked injuries on Monday night to give their defense time to change personnel while the St. Louis Rams were in the red zone, pretending to be hurt to gain an advantage in a violation of all the basic principles of good sportsmanship and fair play. And there’s not a thing the referee could do about it.

NFL Game Recaps:

St. Louis Rams vs New York Giants Recap - September 19, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Michael Boley never stopped playing on a down the Rams may have thought was over. The result -- a 65-yard fumble return to the end zone. Boley's score and a pair of Eli Manning touchdown passes boosted the Giants to a 28-16 win over the St. Louis Rams Monday night.