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9-22-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Running The Ball

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Welcome to this mornings batch of links, today mostly looks at running the ball and getting ready for the noise in Seattle.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Arizona Cardinals more efficient in running game so far
The sample size - two games - is small, but early returns suggest the Cardinals might be able to run the ball efficiently this season. That's not faint praise. The Cardinals have not been ranked higher than 28th in the NFL in rushing in any of Ken Whisenhunt's four seasons as head coach. Efficient would be a substantial improvement. Running back Beanie Wells has gained 183 yards on 32 carries in two games, his most productive efforts in consecutive games over his three-year career. But not many people seem satisfied when Wells runs for 93 yards on 14 attempts, as he did last week. Why not give him, say, 30 attempts, so he can run for 180?

Cardinals trying to prepare for CenturyLink Field's noise levels
Qwest Field in Seattle now is called CenturyLink Field, but that's the only thing about it that has changed. It's still regarded as the NFL's loudest stadium. As usual, the Cardinals, who face the Seahawks on Sunday, will try to prepare for that by blaring noise during practice. To quarterback Kevin Kolb, one noisy stadium is pretty much like any other on the road.

Word From the Birds Blog - One-hitter quitters aren’t bad
The Cardinals have not won time of possession in their two games yet, for a multitude of reasons. The defense has allowed some lengthy drives, and the offense has sputtered more often than they would have liked. But there is another factor, and it’s the quick-strike score. Of the Cards’ six offensive touchdowns thus far (a seventh TD came via Patrick Peterson punt return), five have come on six plays of possession or fewer.

Kolb Shows Why He's A Hit
Absorbing blow on TD toss doesn't go unnoticed by teammates

Feeding Beanie
Notebook: Washington does not practice; Branch starting in Seattle

NFC West: Injury situations that matter - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Arizona: Inside linebacker Daryl Washington continues to miss practice with a calf injury suffered during the regular-season opener. He did not play against Washington and will be missed if unavailable again this week. Washington flashed playmaking ability last season and picked up where he left off. The other starting inside linebacker, Paris Lenon, practiced fully despite briefly leaving the Washington game. The Cardinals should have strong depth at the position, but veteran newcomer Stewart Bradley has struggled getting comfortable in a 3-4 scheme. He and Reggie Walker could play more against the Seahawks. Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling was limited in practice and could return from a hand injury. He's a threat on kick returns and tends to get the ball when Arizona puts him on offense, but if the hand injury threatens ball security, that could change. Beanie Wells is commanding more carries, anyway.

Larry Fitzgerald the strong, silent type? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Larry Fitzgerald reaches out to players throughout the NFL, offering encouragement and inviting them to his offseason training sessions. On the field, he's apparently all business.

Beanie off and running as `the man' for Cardinals -
Beanie Wells is off and running as ``the man'' in the Arizona Cardinals' backfield, so much so that it's not a stretch to ask why he's not carrying it more. The third-year pro from Ohio State has flirted with 100 yards rushing in each of his two games, gaining an average of 5.7 yards each of the 32 times he has carried the ball. Quarterback Kevin Kolb said after practice on Wednesday that it's time to push Wells over that 100-yard barrier on Sunday when Arizona plays at NFC West rival Seattle, a team playing its home opener after an 0-2 start on the road. Wells shared the job with Tim Hightower for two seasons before getting the No. 1 job all to himself this year. The Cardinals traded Hightower to the Washington Redskins.

Kolb almost called Seattle home twice -
This week the Cardinals are playing in Seattle, a city quarterback Kevin Kolb almost called home twice during his career. In a conference call with The News Tribune, Kolb talked about the Seahawks' prior interest in him while he was with the Philadelphia Eagles. "It was the year that Philly was talking about getting rid of me, [Michael] Vick or Donovan [McNabb]," Kolb said. Kolb said Philadelphia ended up trading McNabb to the Washington Redskins and would not trade him unless there was an "outrageous" offer. Kolb ended up starting five games for the Eagles in the 2010 season while primarily serving as backup to Vick.

Whisenhunt says offense will continue to improve -
The solid play of running back Beanie Wells has eased the panic that surrounded the team after rookie Ryan Williams went down with a season ending injury. Now it has been replaced with concern that the Cardinals are not running the ball enough. Go figure. However, it may not be as simple as some may think.

Cardinals ready for loud Seattle crowd -
The Arizona Cardinals head into a big divisional match-up in Week 3 with the potential of facing a loud Seattle crowd. The Seahawks at 0-2 are in a must win game and will be counting on their crowd to give them a significant home field advantage.

Beanie Wells is running well, running strong -
Beanie Wells is averaging 5.7 yards per carry this season, an average that ranks sixth among NFL running backs. However, the third year pro still feels like he's not getting the most out of his runs.

Word From the Birds Blog - Practice squad pick, Dockett’s life, Wright’s work
To follow up on the Cardinals’ roster moves from yesterday, the team filled its empty practice squad spot this morning by signing safety Mark LeGree to the practice squad. LeGree was a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks — coincidentally, the Cards’ opponent this week — before being cut at the end of training camp. LeGree played at Appalachian State (a friend who is also an alum likes to needle me by calling it the "real ASU") and had 22 interceptions over four seasons and 53 games.

Cardinals Underground - Seattle Preview
Paul Calvisi and Darren Urban talk about the Cardinals loss against the Redskins and what needs to happen to experience success in Seattle on Sunday.

Cards Daily - Built Kolb Tough
Ever since he arrived in Arizona, QB Kevin Kolb has shown leadership and toughness that has not gone unnoticed by his coaches and teammates.

Arizona Sports News:

Arizona Diamondbacks jump on Pittsburgh Pirates early, hold on to take series
With their playoff hopes perhaps riding on the play of the San Francisco Giants, Diamondbacks backup catcher Henry Blanco knew it would be a tough sell to convince people that he and his teammates wouldn't be paying attention. So he said what most his teammates probably were thinking: Not only would the Diamondbacks be watching, they'd be rooting for San Francisco to win so they could clinch the division this weekend - on their home field, in front of their home fans. "That's something special," Blanco said after the Diamondbacks trimmed their magic number to two with an 8-5 matinee-game victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday at Chase Field.

NFL News:

Personnel report: NFC West QB production - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A common thread tied together Kevin Kolb's 73- and 70-yard touchdown passes in his first two games with the Arizona Cardinals. Both plays came when the Cardinals had four wide receivers on the field, two more than a base personnel group would feature.

Oh, by the way, Alex Smith had concussion - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The San Francisco 49ers' injury report included a surprise Wednesday.

Jerome Simpson, Anthony Collins 'Involved' In Drug Investigation, According To Report -
A pair of Cincinnati Bengals were at house where drugs intercepted by authorities were delivered.

DeAngelo Hall says he’ll target Tony Romo’s ribs | ProFootballTalk
With Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo intending to play on Monday night despite having a busted rib, Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall intends to try to bust them some more.

Chris Johnson Injury: Sore Ribs Keep Johnson Out Of Practice -
Chris Johnson, who held out the entire preseason before signing a four-year, $53 million extension, has struggled to live up to expectations thus far for the Titans. In his first two games, he's combined for just 79 yards, averaging a dismal 2.9 yards per carry.

Braylon Edwards Has Knee Surgery, Out Indefinitely For 49ers -
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday that Braylon Edwards had a surgical procedure performed on his right knee and will be "out for a little bit."

Jay Cutler Complains Again. But He Might Be Right This Time - From Our Editors -
Jay Cutler has gained a reputation as a -- how can we put this nicely? -- malcontent. So perhaps it's not surprising that Cutler came very close to throwing his offensive line under the bus when asked about the battering he's taken early.

Alex Smith suffered concussion in loss to Cowboys | ProFootballTalk
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was diagnosed with a concussion after Sunday’s overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Week 3 shines light on NFC West moves - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A few recent NFC West moves are coming into focus with an assist from NFC schedule makers. A quick run through some of them:

Michael Vick Injury Update: Eagles QB Participates In Walkthrough, Reportedly Doesn't Practice -
Michael Vick participated in the Eagles' morning walkthrough Wednesday morning, a good sign in his recovery from a concussion suffered Sunday against the Falcons. From USA Today:

NFL Warns Fake Injuries May Be Punished With Fines, Suspensions Or Loss Of Draft Picks, According To Report -
The Giants will not be punished for two players appearing to fake injuries on Monday night, but that doesn't mean the NFL will turn a blind eye to egregiously suspect injuries in the future. The NFL sent each of its teams a memo, obtained by the NFL Network's Rich Eisen, warning of punishments "could include fines of coaches, players, and clubs, suspensions or forfeiture of draft choices" if the league is able to determine that a player had faked an injury.

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler unsure he can survive season getting hit at this rate - ESPN Chicago
Still raspy-voiced from a kick to the throat and beatdown by the New Orleans Saints defense, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler rapped twice on a lectern when pondering whether he could make it through the rest of this season with this type of punishment. "I don't know," Cutler said. "I don't know." Cutler absorbed six sacks, in addition to 16 hits against the Saints in the club's 30-13 loss on Sunday, resulting in extreme soreness in the quarterback's throat, "hips, we can go down the list," he said, jokingly.

Giants’ Rolle: I don’t want any excuses when we put it on the Eagles | ProFootballTalk
With the Giants preparing to play the Eagles this week, one defensive player is saying he wants to see Michael Vick on the field.