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1-5-12: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Heading To The Offseason

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

Time for some links

Arizona Cardinals News:

Arizona Cardinals set for off-season trials by fire under training of John Lott
Patrick Peterson was laughing it up with teammates Monday as he and the rest of the Cardinals began cleaning out their lockers before heading into the off-season. In the middle of all the fun, Peterson was asked what he will expect when he returns to the team's Tempe training facility in a month or so and starts working out again under the supervision of Cardinals strength and conditioning coach John Lott. The look on Peterson's face was priceless. His jaw dropped. His smile disappeared. His eyes grew as big as saucers. "Oh, man," Peterson said, looking like he just witnessed a nasty car accident. "It's going to be intense. And we all know it's coming, too." If you don't know anything about Lott, let's just say when it comes to training the Cardinals, especially during the off-season, he's a cross between a demented drill sergeant and the male version of Cinderella's wicked stepmother. And considering that the NFL lockout prevented him from getting his clutches on Cardinals players this past off-season, he might even be worse on them this year.

Following The Finish
As Cards seek to build on momentum, a look at teams who did it before

Polls: Should NFC West fear Kolb, Smith? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Cardinals' opponents have to feel good about Arizona going though another season with Kolb and Skelton as the primary quarterbacks. Both quarterbacks showed promise at times, but neither demonstrated consistency.

Word From the Birds Blog - One drop too many
It started with a Tweet, as so many things do these days. Over at ESPN, Mike Sando noted Larry Fitzgerald had just one drop this season, the lowest total (easily) among the four players (Roddy White, Wes Welker, Calvin Johnson) targeted at least 150 times. Fitz answered back that that was "One too many." There was only one really obvious drop for Fitz this season, so obvious coach Ken Whisenhunt even called him out for it after the Minnesota game, during the Cards’ dark, dark days of this season. My access is to Stats, Inc., not ESPN. Stats has Fitzgerald with two drops (which doesn’t shock me; while the Vikings’ one I remember, there were a couple others I remember thinking they could be Fitz drops at the time) among his 154 targets. By way of comparison, Stats has Andre Roberts with 98 targets at four drops, and Early Doucet with 97 targets and six drops. (Drops, of course, are judgment calls.)

Cardinals regular-season wrap-up - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Sando wraps up the Cardinals 2011 season blogs - Kent Somers - Peterson's rookie learning curve
One of the most difficult lessons a young quarterback in the NFL must learn is that the definition of an open receiver is different than it was in college. Defensive backs are better so receivers don't get as much separation as they did in college. That requires fitting the balls into smaller areas. In a weird way, it's a lesson that young cornerbacks must learn, too. In college, tight coverage would force a quarterback to look elsewhere. NFL quarterbacks, however, won't hesitate to fit the ball into tight spaces.

Word From the Birds Blog - The questions of the offensive line
Aside from the quarterback situation — which will always have top offseason billing unless you have an established stud in place — the spotlight would seem to fall brightest the next on the offensive line as the Cards plan for 2012.

Levi Brown steps up over second half of season -
Levi Brown has been a proverbial punching bag for fans since being drafted No. 5 overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. Ken Whisenhunt's first pick as a head coach, Brown has been mediocre -- at best -- as both a right and left tackle. The 27-year-old has been a mainstay on the line for the last five years, though, and is about to hit the free agent market. Should the Cardinals bring him back?

Mike Sando's MVP Watch - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Larry Fitzgerald: There are no players from losing teams on the final MVP Watch of the 2011 season. Fitzgerald put together a career year despite continued instability at quarterback in Arizona. His nine-catch, 149-yard game against Seattle in Week 17 was among the more memorable performances of his career. Fitzgerald suffered a bruised lung and was spitting up blood. Medical personnel even checked him for a concussion at one point. Fitzgerald dropped only one pass all season. The three other players with at least 150 targets combined for 22 drops, including 14 by Roddy White. Fitzgerald joined Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss as the only players with four 1,400-yard seasons.

Silver linings: Seahawks at Cardinals - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The facts: The Seattle Seahawks finished the season with a 7-9 record following a 23-20 overtime defeat to the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Cardinals Underground - Season Wrap
Paul Calvisi, Darren Urban, and Ron Wolfley talk about the 2011 season and look ahead to 2012.

Arizona Sports News:

Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry pace Mavericks past Suns
Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points in his 1,000th NBA game to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 98-89 victory over the Suns on Wednesday night. Jason Terry contributed 18 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, to help the defending NBA champs (3-4) string together consecutive wins for the first time this season. Lamar Odom added 15 points in his best game since joining the Mavericks in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 11. Steve Nash had 15 points and 12 assists for the Suns (2-4), and Marcin Gortat had 22 points and 10 rebounds.

ASU football coach Todd Graham suspends DE Junior Onyeali
Upon his hire, new Arizona State coach Todd Graham said repeatedly that discipline would be a priority. On Wednesday, he showed as much. Graham indefinitely suspended defensive end Junior Onyeali from program activities "for not meeting the high standards of the Sun Devil football program."

NFL News:

49ers regular-season wrap-up - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Sando on the 49ers

Seahawks regular-season wrap-up - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Sando on the Seahawks

Rams regular-season wrap-up - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Sando looks at the Rams

Jets Locker Room Filled With 'Extremely Selfish Individuals,' Says QB Greg McElroy -
New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy has seen the selfish individuals in the New York Jets locker room but hopes to see things change in 2012.

NFL Playoffs: Rookie QBs Andy Dalton, T.J. Yates Square Off In Historical First -
T.J. Yates and the Texans host Andy Dalton and the Bengals in the first playoff game in NFL history featuring two rookie starters at quarterback. Which one has what it takes to advance to the Divisional round?

Cutler was in favor of Martz’s departure | ProFootballTalk
Norv Turner’s relationship with Philip Rivers may have helped Turner keep his job in San Diego. In Chicago, Jay Cutler’s relationship with Mike Martz helped push Martz out the door. Martz "retired" but his contract was up this month. He wasn’t going to be brought back.

Reasons to temper enthusiasm over Drew Brees and Tom Brady beating Dan Marino's passing record - ESPN
It was a Mount Everest of a record. But the game has changed so much that Dan Marino's passing mark didn't have a chance of standing tall against the Drew Brees and Tom Brady ascents.

Tomlinson’s post-Jets interview should be epic | ProFootballTalk
Jets quarterback Greg McElroy, a seventh-round pick who landed on injured reserve in the preseason, raised eyebrows with a candid radio interview criticizing selfish individuals in the locker room. But an even more candid and blistering interview is certain to come.

The Lions Are Disrespecting Disrespect - From Our Editors -
Yep. It appears the Lions are insulted by the idea that they should be insulted. They don't believe in the "Nobody Believes in Us!" card. It's them against the "Us against the world" phenomenon.

Boomer Esiason -- 'Skittish' Mark Sanchez not New York Jets franchise QB - ESPN New York
Former Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason thinks Mark Sanchez is not a franchise quarterback.