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5-8-12: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - 09 Draft Review

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  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Time for todays links, with a look back at the 09 draft and some news on Ryan Williams.

Also something interesting about what Houston thought of a former member of the Cardinals who continues to be divisive among us.

And finally, congrats on the Coyotes for making it to the Western Conference Finals!

Arizona Cardinals News:

Evaluating the Cardinals NFL draft - three years later
There's an NFL axiom that says it takes at least three years to accurately assess a draft class.So let's take the focus off the Cardinals 2012 class for a while. The only thing we can do is guess how those players are going to fare. We don't know yet if it was smart for the Cardinals to pass up an offensive lineman in the first round, or to take a cornerback in the third. Time will allow the rest of us to second guess. Let's look back at the 2009 draft class, where time has told us something: the results were average, at best.

Word From the Birds Blog | Ryan Williams: "I’m not worried at all"
Ryan Williams knows there are people who doubt he can return to form this season after his patella tendon ruptured last year, ruining his rookie season. He knows, ultimately, he can’t prove anything until the season starts. "I kind of feel like the most anticipated player of the year, and (fans) haven’t even seen anything but a couple weeks of training camp," the running back said. Williams is the guy who craves football. His biggest fear isn’t coming back from this injury, but being cut from the team. The rehab is just another hurdle in a life full of hurdles. Williams isn’t going to guarantee anything, but he comes about as close to that line as he can without stepping over, and he acknowledges his confidence in what he can do in 2012 is plentiful.

Word From the Birds Blog | No rush to linebackers
Before the draft, it seemed — at least, in my opinion — the Cards had three areas that most warranted help: offensive line, pass rusher and receiver. The Cards took care of the latter right away with the Michael Floyd pick. They obviously hit the line hard with three choices, including potential right tackle starter Bobby Massie. But, sticking to their board — and perhaps revealing just how much they think of their young players — the Cardinals didn’t take a pass rusher. Didn’t take a linebacker at all.

Warner's respectful concussion dialogue - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Under criticism from ESPN's Merril Hoge and others, Kurt Warner has clarified his stance on concussions with a reasoned response that advances the conversation with civility. Should we have expected anything less from the former St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals quarterback?

Tough keeping NFC West QBs in one piece - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals: Kolb suffered a turf-toe injury during a Week 8 game at Baltimore. He stayed in the game, making it unclear exactly when he suffered the injury. Kolb was under pressure frequently, however. Pass protection was a problem. Kolb eventually returned, only to suffer a concussion during a Week 14 game against San Francisco. Kolb took an inadvertent knee to the helmet. These could have been fluke injuries. In general, though, Kolb would benefit from improved pass protection and better pocket instincts.

Arizona Sports News:

Phoenix Coyotes defeat Nashville Predators, advance to Western Conference finals
Ever since their franchise was thrust into instability three years ago, the Coyotes shut off their peripheral vision, heeding little or no attention to the rumors about their feasibility, their limitations and their relevance. That hasn't always been easy, as evidenced by their four-game sweep last playoff season courtesy of the Detroit Red Wings when reports of an imminent move to Winnipeg circled hours before puck drop on Game 1. But since then, the Coyotes have kept their focus between the boards - the only area they have control. As ownership speculation heightened, critics renounced them as underdogs and doubters multiplied, the Coyotes were callous to it all. An hour before Game 5, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced a tentative deal with Greg Jamison to keep the Coyotes in the Valley. The news could have been another distraction, another excuse to get lost in the off-ice battle rather than the one on it, but the blinders the Coyotes are wearing only hone in on a Stanley Cup. And now, the Coyotes need only four more wins to reach the stage where they can compete for it. The Coyotes defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Monday at Arena in front of 17,182 to take the Western Conference semifinal series 4-1.

Phoenix Coyotes near ownership deal with optimism
Much like the script of a blockbuster sports movie, the downtrodden Phoenix Coyotes have fought their way deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs and, amid fan frenzy, league executives say the team's long ownership battles are nearly resolved. National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman swooped into Phoenix Monday night, ahead of Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals, to say the league had reached a deal on terms of a team sale. Bettman was flanked by former San Jose Sharks chief executive Greg Jamison, who will likely pay $170 million to purchase and keep the team in Glendale. Fans of the team that has lived by its marketing mantra, "hockey the hard way," cheered the announcement. But this isn't a movie and the credits can't start rolling just yet.

Arizona Diamondbacks pounded by St. Louis Cardinals in series opener
Most of the Valley's attention was focused on an ice rink in Glendale on Monday night rather than Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Maybe that was a good thing for the Diamondbacks. The defending World Series champion St.Louis Cardinals pounded out five home runs and sent the Diamondbacks to their eighth loss in their past 10 games at Chase Field and their 13th loss in their past 20 overall. The Cardinals won 9-6 but needed all of their substantial firepower to withstand a six-run Arizona seventh inning.

NFL News:

All 4 Players Appeal Suspensions In Saints Bounty Case -
All four players suspended in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal have appealed their suspensions. It was previously reported that Jonathan Vilma appealed his season long suspension, but now news comes down that three other players involved have filed appeals as well.

Saints Coaches Told Anthony Hargrove To Lie About Bounty Program, According To Signed Declaration -
Jonathan Vilma and three other players suspended in the New Orleans Saints bounty case have filed appeals with the NFL. Vilma has appealed his suspension while the three others filed a "Reservation of Rights" essentially saving their right to appeal if it is shown that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is the one who has the authority to suspend the players.

Tim Tebow Will Be Jets Special Teams Contributor -
The New York Jets acquired quarterback Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos in a trade over the offseason and came up with a slew of ways to use him on their football team, including on special teams. Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff told the New York Daily News that Tebow wil be a productive member of his unit.

VIDEO: Eli Manning Is A Little Brother's Best Friend On SNL - From Our Editors -
Eli Manning got his chance to host Saturday Night Live on Saturday night, and while he wasn't nearly as smooth as big brother Peyton was in his 2007 appearance, the Giants quarterback managed to get some comedic mileage out of that little brother status.

LaDainian Tomlinson '95 Percent' Sure He'll Retire -
Free agent running back LaDainian Tomlinson says he's 95 percent sure he's going to retire.

Fred Jackson, Bills Agree On 2-Year Contract Extension -
Fred Jackson agreed to a two-year extension with the Buffalo Bills on Monday. He was very productive in 2011 before his season was cut short by a broken leg.

Report: League "misrepresented" Gregg Williams’ interviews | ProFootballTalk
When it comes to the question of whether the NFL should release all evidence related to the Saints alleged bounty program, the evidence in favor of putting all cards on the table continues to grow. The latest chunk of it comes from Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, who buries a bombshell in an article regarding the fallout of the Anthony Hargrove declaration

Talk of 18-game season should go away, permanently | ProFootballTalk
At one point in the not-too-distant past, the NFL had launched a full-court press aimed at persuading the players, the media, and the fansthat the 20-game football season should be shifted from four preseason games and 16 regular-season games to two and 18, respectively. Since then, talk of two extra regular-season games has quieted considerably, and as Peter King of points out in his latest Monday Morning Quarterback, it needs to stay that way.

Oakland Raiders' Matt Leinart still wants to start in the NFL -
Matt Leinart is still encouraged he will someday get to put down the clipboard and lead an NFL offense. Only this year, he's comfortable backing up former USC teammate Carson Palmer, the former top-10 pick told KSPN-AM in Los Angeles on Friday.

Rotoworld: King: Texans were very high on Matt Leinart
According to SI's Peter King, the Texans believed Matt Leinart was "just getting it" before breaking his collarbone last season.