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9-3-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Cut Day

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Welcome to todays links. This is the day where all 32 teams need to make their roster cuts to get down to 53 players, but the Cards already did that last night. So, for today lets just watch some college football.

Arizona Cardinals News:

A Cut To 53
Graham, Davis, Ware, Iwebema, Maui'a among those released

Arizona Cardinals make cuts to 53-man roster
The Arizona Cardinals cut their roster from 80 to 53 Friday. They also put two players on injured reserve. These moves leave the Cardinals roster at 53 which all teams must reach by Saturday afternoon.

Word From the Birds Blog - "Final" roster still in motion
The Cards have made their cuts to get down to the required 53-man roster. Some interesting names, but nothing shocking. Punter Ben Graham was let go in favor of Dave Zastudil, and that was something that had been possible ever since last year ended. The hope was to find a guy who was more consistent in changing field position after the Cards’ offense stalled deep in their own territory.

Arizona Cardinals cutdown analysis - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals have made their initial cuts to comply with the 53-man deadline Saturday.

Kurt Warner and NFL Network unsure, unconfident in Kevin Kolb -
Kevin Kolb finished his first preseason in Arizona having completed 21 of 38 passes for 353 yards and one touchdown. Not bad, but not great. "Seven starts under his belt, a few preseason games," Kurt Warner said on the NFL Network, "nothing extremely impressive that we've seen up to this point in a Cardinal uniform." As far as criticism goes that's fairly mild, but it's also not what Cardinals fans want to hear (or maybe even believe). But, as Warner noted, Kolb's presence alone has helped energize a franchise that was beaten down by poor QB play last season.

Cardinals to face Cam Newton in season opener -
Cam Newton will begin his NFL career on the same field where his NCAA one ended. As the starting quarterback. The Carolina Panthers announced the Heisman Trophy winner will be their Week 1 starter, something that really comes as a shock to no one. After all, who else would the Panthers start, Derek Anderson? That's not even funny.

Word From the Birds Blog - Adrian Wilson should play opener
The biggest news Friday probably wasn’t any of the cuts but instead coach Ken Whisenhunt’s optimism that safety Adrian Wilson, rehabbed torn bicep and all, will play in the season opener against Carolina. "Unless there is any kind of setback, yeah, I feel pretty good about (him playing)," Whisenhunt said. "But we will get an opportunity to see. Adrian, obviously, has been practicing (limited)." Whisenhunt also said cornerback Michael Adams (knee surgery) should also be back for the Panthers game. "We’ll get a chance to see Michael do some stuff this week and you feel good where they are," Whisenhunt added. "Hopefully we’ll have a good sense of that later in the week."

Cutting Graham could affect Cardinals' Jay Feely -
The Arizona Cardinals parted with punter Ben Graham Friday, cutting their punter of the last 2+ seasons in favor of veteran Dave Zastudil. Sure, Graham had his struggles last season and wasn't particularly sharp this training camp, but there was a thought that he'd have an edge in the competition. He was, after all, the holder on special teams, meaning he spotted the ball before Jay Feely would kick it through the uprights. Apparently not, and that surprised Arizona Sports 620's Doug Franz.

Wolfley: Cardinals front office 'is unified and committed to winning' -
Say what you will about the Arizona Cardinals heading into the 2011 season, but the team is certainly better on paper now than it was at conclusion of 2010.

Ben Graham, Matt Ware among 25 roster cuts for Cardinals -
The Cardinals trimmed their roster to 53 players Friday, making a few surprise cuts along the way. Most notably is punter Ben Graham, who apparently lost the training camp battle to veteran Dave Zastudil. Re-signed prior to camp, Graham was never able to rediscover the magic that led to his excellent 2009 campaign, and it finally cost him his job.

Adrian Wilson expected to play in season opener | ProFootballTalk
Bad news for Cam Newton: Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson is expected to play in Arizona’s season opener, a little more than a month after Wilson partially tore his biceps.

ESPN insider: 'Kolb worth three wins for Arizona' -
The Arizona Cardinals are about to kick off their 2011 regular season next Sunday against the Carolina Panthers looking to erase the memory of last season. One ESPN insider believes the front office has made the necessary move to correct the major problems they had last season.

Tillman's memory sparks action, not words -
The south steps of Arizona State's football stadium became a shrine in the days after Pat Tillman's death, covered in flags and flowers, signs and mementos. Tributes to the NFL star-turned-soldier continued to pop up across the country in the weeks and months that followed- stadiums, street signs, awards, even children named in his honor. More substantial memorials came in subsequent years: a statue outside Arizona's NFL stadium, a bridge high above the massive Hoover Dam, a veteran's center at the Arizona State University. For all that brick and bronze, no monument captures his spirit. That's carried on through the good deeds and stunning accomplishments of the thousands he inspired. This is their story- the story of what Pat Tillman left behind.

Whisenhunt confident Wilson, Adams ready for opener -
The Arizona Cardinals made their cuts on Friday and one of the biggest surprises was the release of safety Matt Ware. The cut was interesting considering it leaves the Cardinals with only eight defensive backs total on the roster which includes Adrian Wilson and Michael Adams, who have been sidelined with injuries all preseason. Based on his decision to keep only eight defensive backs is a sure sign that coach Ken Whisenhunt is confident Wilson and Adams will be ready to start the season next Sunday.

Cardinals make cuts but roster not finalized yet -
The Arizona Cardinals cut their roster to 53 players Friday, but that doesn't mean the team you see now will be the one that opens up the season September 11 against the Carolina Panthers. "The 53 man roster is written in pencil right now," head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "This will not be the same 53 man roster that we go in to play against Carolina next week."

Cards Daily: Roster cut down to 53 - Video
Coach Whisenhunt talks to the media about cutting the roster down to 53 players and future changes to make before gearing up for the regular season opener.

Arizona Sports News:

Giants snap Diamondbacks' 9-game win streak
The team the Diamondbacks had been following from afar, the one depicted on the out-of-town scoreboard, seemed to have little in common with the San Francisco Giants club that showed up Friday night. The Giants received their standard starting pitching performance and solid defense, but these guys didn't look anemic at the plate. They looked dangerous, stinging line drives and deep shots all around AT&T Park. In seizing a 6-2 victory against the Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series, the Giants were a team with a pulse, not one waiting to be administered last rites.

What we learned: Arizona State vs. UC Davis -
The ASU Sun Devils were supposed to have an easy time against UC Davis and they did, posting a 48-14 victory in the season opener.

ASU's Vontaze Burfict makes a smashing season debut
The caliber of competition made it difficult to quantify Arizona State's accomplishments Thursday night at Sun Devil Stadium. It was far easier to measure the performance of linebacker Vontaze Burfict. He was a rock star. Burfict's 2011 debut came on a stage 100 yards long and 53 yards wide. That alone has been enough in the past to unearth the tempest in the talented junior. In a 48-14 ASU victory over UC-Davis, however, Burfict was everything the Sun Devils hoped he would be when he joined this program in 2008. Relentless. Fearless. Dominating. And in control.

Arizona Wildcats football tries to focus on opener vs. NAU
For a month, there has been no way of telling whether Arizona's football team was preparing for a season-opening game or a season-opening month. Saturday would be the only proof of a Wildcats team caught looking ahead, not that you could blame them much if they did peek around the corner. Northern Arizona visits Wildcat Stadium for a 7 p.m. game Saturday with a mammoth $7 million video scoreboard's debut drawing as much as attention as the game, a FCS vs. FBS mismatch that precedes UA's game at No. 9 Oklahoma State by five days.

NFL News:

San Francisco 49ers name Alex Smith starting QB - ESPN
As if there were any doubts, Alex Smith is the 49ers' starting quarterback heading into the regular season.

Chicago Bears' Lance Briggs seeks trade after not getting raise - ESPN Chicago
Lance Briggs has made a formal request that he be able to seek a trade from the Chicago Bears after the team would not give him a raise.

Vick says, "You can’t design a defense to stop me" | ProFootballTalk
Mike Vick apparently plans to earn every penny of his latest $100 million* contract. Despite late-season evidence of regression and/or defenses figuring out Mike Vick 2.0 in 2010, Vick remains supremely confident in his abilities.

NFL Game Recaps:

Oakland Raiders vs Seattle Seahawks Recap - September 02, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Thomas Clayton and Vai Taua ran for touchdowns to lead the Seahawks to a 20-3 victory over the Raiders in the NFL's preseason finale.