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9-4-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Getting Ready For The Opener

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 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images

With only one week left until the Cardinals open the season against the Panthers, time for some weekend links.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Arizona Cardinals 2011 Preview - ESPN
ESPN looks at the Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals restore optimism for '11 season
We are the Peter Pan of sports markets. Everyone wants to know when we're going to grow up and leave our childhood teams behind. Well, it's already happening. The seismic shift in Valley allegiances can be heard in Glendale, where the Cardinals have sold out all 55 games they've played, preseason included. The change in behavior can be seen in public gathering places, where red jerseys have become common desert attire. It can be felt in civic mood entering the 2011 NFL season, as giddy fans are assuming the Cardinals will resume their pursuit of a championship trophy. At long last, we have become a real NFL city, with real NFL expectations.

Arizona Cardinals RB Beanie Wells on the offensive
He looks leaner. He looks meaner. But wait, what's that nestled firmly atop his deltoids this year? Why, is that a chip on Beanie Wells' shoulder? "No question. No question," the Cardinals running back said, nodding twice with a scowl. And how big is that chip? "It's huge," Wells said. "I don't really like to say I have to go out and prove people wrong, but I have a lot of people saying what I can't do and who I'm not, so I'm going to go out there and play football and enjoy it." Just don't get in his way, because Beanie looks and sounds like he really means it. After two generally nondescript seasons in the NFL, it's time.

Arizona Cardinals still getting to know each other
The introductions are long over, and the name tags came off the helmets a couple of weeks ago. Everyone can put a name with a face now, but it's going to take more time for the Cardinals to really get to know each other. The roster is full of new names. And many returning young faces are being counted upon to play important roles. Because of the NFL lockout, the Cardinals have worked together for just more than a month now. Four preseason games provided intrigue but few answers. Anyone making declarative statements about how the Cardinals will play this season is a charlatan, not a sage.

Arizona Cardinals broadcasters to call a division championship?
Dave Pasch stops to reflect as he enters his 10th season as the play-by-play man of the Cardinals. He notes that he now has spent a quarter of his life as the radio voice of the Valley's NFL team and, lately, the years seem to have flown by. "Some years, of course, seemed like they were 10 years in themselves," Pasch, 39, says. "I think back to Sun Devil Stadium and the sparse crowds, the losing. That's why it was so rewarding a few years ago when the Cardinals made the Super Bowl and returned to the playoffs the following year." But can the Cardinals rebound from a disappointing, last-place 5-11 season and return to glory in 2011? Pasch and his KTAR (AM 620 and FM 92.3) broadcast partners, color analyst Ron Wolfley and sideline reporter Paul Calvisi, agree that the NFC West title is within reach if enough good things happen for Arizona.

Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald is on a mission
Larry Fitzgerald is unhappy. Again. He just signed a contract worth as much as $120 million, and all he can think about is what he failed to do last season.

True to form, Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb makes himself a perfect fit
Kevin Kolb slipped into the Cardinals roster like it was a pair of old, soft jeans molded especially for him. This did not surprise Kolb or anyone who knows him, because it's what he's done his whole life. Showing up in a new locker room, knowing all are eyes are on him, and then within a few days making it seem like he was as much a part of the place as the old washing machine in the back. That's why Kolb acts as if he has no stress about expectations he will be the Cardinals savior at quarterback - not pressured at all about the Cardinals giving up cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in a trade for him or the $60 million contract extension he signed.

Chester Taylor, Brandon Tate cuts could benefit Arizona Cardinals -
NFL roster cuts are on-going and there are two available players that could benefit the Arizona Cardinals.

Top 10 dates of the Arizona Cardinals' 2011 season
Key dates for the Arizona Cardinals this season.

Arizona Sports News:

Arizona Wildcats dominate NAU in second half to open 2011
At the onset of Arizona's football season Saturday night, the new $7 million video scoreboard at Wildcat Stadium showed an image that only took up 15 percent of the available space, emphasizing how the new look would be 6 1/2 times larger than the old one once it was fully used. The Wildcats played the same way, starting small before finishing big in a 41-10 victory over Northern Arizona in front of 51,761 fans.

Ian Kennedy outduel Tim Lincecum as Diamondbacks even series against Giants
The Diamondbacks have built the kind of cushion in the National League West that all they needed to do to avoid disaster this weekend was win one game against the San Francisco Giants. They did that Saturday night, battering Giants ace Tim Lincecum and sucking some hope out of AT&T Park with a 7-2 victory that built their division lead back up to six games. Right-hander Ian Kennedy was dominant again, rookie slugger Paul Goldschmidt tormented Lincecum for a second time, and the Diamondbacks bounced back from an uncharacteristically sloppy game the previous night.

Mercury clinch playoff spot with win over Sparks
Hello, postseason. The Mercury made sure they extended their season beyond the regular 34 games with a 93-77 victory against the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday night in front of 9,620 at US Airways Center.

NFL News:

NFL Roster Cuts: Teams Begin 53-Man Roster Crunch -
NFL roster cuts need to be finished by Saturday afternoon to reach the 53-man roster limit.

San Francisco 49ers cutdown analysis - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A look at the 49ers Roster moves

St. Louis Rams cutdown analysis - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A look at the Rams roster moves

Seattle Seahawks cutdown analysis - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A look at the Seahawks roster moves.

2011 NFL team age ranks at 53-man cuts - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The NFL's mandatory reduction to 53 players provides an opportunity to revisit team age rankings. Every team has young players. Every coach can speak to youth at specific positions. It'll be tough for the Arizona Cardinals or St. Louis Rams to blame any defensive struggles on overall youth, however. Both teams rank among the NFL's three oldest on defense, behind Pittsburgh, according to the rosters I maintain for every team in the league.

Updated: NFC West roided-out rosters - NFC West Blog - ESPN
NFL teams have gone from 90 to 80 to 53 players since Tuesday.

NFC West cuts: practice-squad eligibility - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The following recently released and waived/injured NFC West players are eligible for practice squads if they clear waivers:

NFL Roster Cuts: Dallas Cowboys Cut Igor Olshansky, Josh Thomas, 24 Others -
The Dallas Cowboys made their way down to the 53-man roster limit Saturday afternoon as they released 26 players. The Cowboys opened the day with some surprising moves as they released Igor Olshansky, Chris Gronkowski, Shayne Graham and Dave Rayner. The Gronkowski move was a surprise as it leaves the Cowboys with zero traditional fullbacks on the roster. The Olshansky move ends the five year $22.5 million deal he signed prior to the 2009 season. It's safe to say that didn't work out.

New England Patriots Roster Cuts: Brandon Meriweather, Sammy Morris Among Final Cuts -
The New England Patriots cut their roster down to the league-mandated 53-man limit on Saturday by releasing 15 players and making five additional roster moves. The two most notable moves saw the team release recent Pro Bowl linebacker Brandon Meriweather and utility running back Sammy Morris. While Morris will likely remain on speed dial with the Patriots, Meriweather had managed to work his way from number one pick and Pro Bowler, into Bill Belichick's dog house fairly quickly.

New York Giants Roster Cuts: Mark Herzlich Makes 53-Man Roster -
The New York Giants waived nineteen players and made eight other transactions Saturday afternoon to reach the 53-man roster limit. One of the more notable players to make the roster is undrafted free agent linebacker Mark Herzlich. The success of Herzlich is particularly notable due to his by now well-known cancer survivor story. What's more important on the football field is that he is a solid linebacker who the Giants believe can make a contribution this season.

NFL Roster Cuts: San Francisco 49ers Release Josh McCown, Ronald Johnson, Tony Wragge Among Others -
The San Francisco 49ers cut their roster down to the 53-player limit Saturday afternoon as they released 27 players. The most notable cuts were probably QB Josh McCown, OL Tony Wragge and WR Ronald Johnson. The team has some areas they might be looking to fill with a veteran presence, which means current members of the 53-man roster are not necessarily safe.

Cincinnati Bengals' Cedric Benson released from Texas jail - ESPN
Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson has been released from a Texas jail after serving five days of a 20-day sentence for misdemeanor assault.

Troy Aikman still carries a grudge, might ‘get physical’ with Skip Bayless - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
Like most of the professional yellers on ESPN these days, Skip Bayless was a moderately respected writer of books and newspaper articles before he realized that it was much easier to simply go on television, be as annoying as humanly possible, and get paid alarming amounts of money to do so. Of course, Skip had a talent for annoyance even in his ink-stained wretch days, and the most famous example of that was when he released baseless accusations about former star NFL quarterback Troy Aikman's alleged homosexuality in a 1996 book about the Dallas Cowboys.