Updated January 10, 3:00 p.m.

Updated January 10, 3:00 p.m.

With a rash of new head coaches recently, the NFC West is positioned for a quick turnaround.

Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com

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New Head Coaches Give Hope For NFC West

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Monday, 3:00 p.m


The NFC West has been labeled as the worst division in football over the past handful of seasons and rightfully so. But with recent head coaches Pete Carroll (Seahawks) and Steve Spagnuolo (Rams) joining the division and now Jim Harbaugh (49ers), the NFC West is poised for a quick turnaround.

Up until last season, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt would have probably been ranked as the top coach in the division but soon might find himself looking up to his counterparts. Spagnuolo has turned around a laughable operation in St. Louis and Carroll has the charisma and likeability that Whisenhunt sometimes lacks.

Now with Harbaugh entering the mix as one of the hottest names in years to join the NFL - and the Cardinals' dismal 2010 campaign - Whisenhunt's stature might be set to drop even more. Even though Harbaugh has yet to coach a game in the professional ranks, his background and philosophy is expected to thrive in the NFL.

Seattle will enter next season with momentum of at least one playoff win while St. Louis came within one victory of a postseason berth. Like Arizona, San Francisco failed to live up to expectations this year, but the addition of Harbaugh should do wonders to rejuvenate the 49er faithful.

Whisenhunt, once a very hot commodity himself, has a great deal or rebuilding to do with a roster that will be overhauled for the second consecutive season. The addition of new coaches won't make his job any easier.


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Bucs Postgame Update

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Monday, 10:00 a.m


Following the Cardinals' 38-35 loss against Tampa Bay, it was a very somber mood in the locker room. It was a winnable game for Arizona, who finds itself now in third place in the NFC West.

There's no question, the Cards' quarterback play has to improve dramatically to have any success this season. It's a shame given that the division is wide open and Arizona has the other pieces in place to win it for the third consecutive year.

Although Larry Fitzgerald had two scores against the Bucs, he's still not being utilized to his full potential. Meanwhile, Steve Breaston has emerged as the favorite target for both Max Hall and Derek Anderson.

The primary reason for this is the differences between Breaston and Fitzgerald's skill sets. Throws to Fitzgerald are more difficult to make than to Breaston. Breaston is often working underneath coverage, but did make a handful of plays over the top against Tampa.

Anderson showed flashes of being an adequate NFL quarterback but the interception deep in Bucs' territory proved to be a horrible decision. Arizona had the game-tying field goal in its back pocket and Anderson's throw into triple coverage proved costly.

Anderson made a number of solid deep throws, but the interception overshadows the positives he displayed. That said, there appears to be little questioning that Anderson gives the Cardinals a better chance to win than Hall at this point.


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Week 7 Update

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m


The Cardinals return to action this week with a critical matchup in the Northwest against Seattle. The key to Sunday's contest – and for the rest of the season – will be the play of rookie QB Max Hall. If Arizona is to secure its third consecutive NFC West title, Hall will need to severely outplay his status as an undrafted free agent.

While it certainly looks to be a possibility, expectations are probably nearing an unreasonable level for Hall. He's more polished and mature than your typical rookie, but he's still learning the job on the fly and will be prone to mistakes. Hall should benefit from a healthier group of wide receivers following the bye week but the running game will need to get back on track.

Speaking of the running game, Tim Hightower has been the forgotten man of late. Hightower has carried the ball only 11 times for 30 yards during the previous two games. Hightower's role was expected to diminish with Beanie Wells returning from injury but he'll need to be utilized more effectively if the Cardinals' offense is to reach its full potential.

Defensively, Arizona needs to show improvements across the board. The return of LB Gerald Hayes should help the team's run defense but it's still unclear how healthy Hayes really is. In pass defense, finding a way to rush opposing quarterbacks could end up being the Cardinals' best weapon. LB's Joey Porter and Clark Haggans have been quiet so far and need to produce more.

CB's Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler have been solid but are probably capable of even greater contributions in the secondary. DRC's skill-set is already well known and he has the potential to develop into one of the superior playmakers at the position. Toler still has a ways to go, but he'll have plenty of opportunities as quarterbacks will look his way often during the final 11 games of the year.

As for the rest of the NFC West, it certainly looks to be one of the more improved divisions in the league. The Seahawks have a shot to stay in the mix until the end and St. Louis' rebuilding effort is far ahead of schedule. The 49ers will more than likely also have their say, and despite a dismal 1-6 start still have a shot to play their way back into the hunt with several games within the division remaining.


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Observations heading into the bye week

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Monday, 12:45 p.m


Max Hall and Larry Fitzgerald are developing a nice chemistry. On one occasion, Hall threw before Fitz cut outside and the throw was executed perfectly. Derek Anderson didn't show the capabability of making those types of throws.

The Cardinals made a conscious effort to feed Beanie Wells the ball. Not much success with only 35 yards but Wells' 20 carries helped keep the Saints defense honest.

Hall's first touchdown came on a fumble and recovery by Levi Brown for the score. Not exactly how he envisioned his first NFL TD.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is playing well. He's going to be a perennial Pro Bowler.

The tight ends have been much more involved of late. Ben Patrick was targeted five times and made five receptions.

Karma was on Arizona's side. Another missed chip-shot field goal, the fumble for a touchdown. Arizona got the bounces – exactly what they needed to beat the defending Super Bowl champs.

After an up and down start, WR Andre Roberts is turning the corner. I suspect he'll be a very good player for the remainder of the year.

With the surplus of rookies playing, the future looks bright. Especially in the passing game where Hall and a plethora of rookies are being counted on to produce.

Hall reminds me a lot Kurt Warner, for several different reasons. Sunday it was Hall throwing to ‘spots' rather than to receivers that replicated the future Hall of Famers' skill-set.

CB Greg Toler continues to progress. Toler had a big interception in the second half. He and DRC will be a dynamic duo in the secondary for a while.

DT Alan Branch is getting more and more playing time. He's finally starting to realize his potential and is taking snaps from Calais Campbell – who was considered a prime candidate to break out this year. Maybe it will be Branch instead.

LB Paris Lenon has to be one of the more unappreciated players in the entire league. Another solid performance by the overlooked free-agent addition, including an interception deep in Saints territory.


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Max Hall to Start

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 2:45 p.m


Undrafted rookie Max Hall has come full circle. After being overlooked in the draft, Hall will get his shot to start under center. Derek Anderson will be the backup and is still available if Hall struggles.

While addressing the media Wednesday, Hall appeared confident and calm despite the whirlwind situation. Since arriving as a rookie free agent, Hall has had a certain aura about him that few others have.

Hall has even been compared to future Hall of Famer Kurt Warner as the two have several similarities, particularly that neither were drafted.

Most would think the Cardinals have no shot against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, but Hall might just be that special player who can put a team on his back. We'll find out Sunday.


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Another Surgery

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, 2:45 p.m


Apparently meniscus issues are a common problem. Just weeks after news broke that RB Beanie Wells had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus, WR Steve Breaston underwent a similar procedure.

Breaston had been dealing with a knee injury but managed to play through the first three games of the season. Now, it looks as if Breaston will be out for at least two to three weeks. Breaston will probably miss upcoming games against San Diego and New Orleans, returning in Week 6 after the bye.

Breaston's absence will more than likely further limit QB Derek Anderson's rapport with his receiving corps. Larry Fitzgerald is returning to form but undrafted rookies Stephen Williams and Max Komar are expected to assume the second and third wide receiver spots on the depth chart.

Fellow rookie Andre Roberts has been improving in practice and newly re-signed Onrea Jones might be able to provide a spark.

Certainly it's becoming more and more difficult to judge Anderson, something that coach Ken Whisenhunt has sounded like a broken record preaching. Given the circumstances it's hard not to agree with him.

With upcoming games against explosive offenses, look for Wells and RB Tim Hightower to play an integral part on offense. The Cardinals will need to do a better job of keeping possession of the ball, limiting the time their defense stays on the field.


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Friday Practice Update

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, 1:45 p.m


RB Beanie Wells' bruised knee was a little more serious than the team was leading on. Wells apparantly had surgery to repair a torn minescus following the preseason finale against Washington.

The minor surgery was never considered serious, thus why coach Ken Whisenhunt and company kept it under wraps. Now that Wells is set to return to action Sunday against the Raiders, it was time to let the cat out of the bag.

The news isn't surprising as Wells was a bit reluctant to discuss things with the media over the past two weeks. He's looked much more comfortable heading into this week's contest and appears to have no ill effects from the injury.

When asked how many carries he could handle on Sunday, Wells answer was simple: "A lot".


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Wednesday Practice Update

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 3:30 p.m


The sentiment around the Cardinals' locker room is that last week's 41-7 trouncing in Atlanta is behind them. QB Derek Anderson literally refused to talk about anything from last week, a good sign that the team has put it behind them.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt didn't have much of a preference whether Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski was under center for the Raiders. He described both quarterbacks as good players and doesn't expect Oakland's game plan to change much regardless of who gets the start.

RB Beanie Wells has been a popular target for the media in recent weeks and seemed much more up beat following Wednesday's practice. Last week he looked uncomfortable talking with reporters about his health but said he'll "definitely" go in the Cards' home opener.

Wells also said that he feels the Arizona offense runs through him, not Tim Hightower, who was the starter throughout the preseason and the regular season even prior to Wells' injury.

Another theme from the players was the relief of being home after two road games. Whisenhunt commented on just how difficult it is to play not only two road games to start the season but two home openers for the opposition.

There was also no taking Week 3's matchup against the Raiders for granted, something that wouldn't be too hard to do given Oakland's struggles of late. The blowout loss in Atlanta put an end to looking past anyone, something that could turn into a bonus down the line.


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Beanie's Chances of Playing

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, 4:00 p.m


I'd say the chances of RB Beanie Wells playing Sunday are getting slimmer by the day. Beanie is officially listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision in Atlanta.

Wells talked to the media on Thursday but looked a tad bit uncomfortable discussing his bruised knee. On Friday, he ducked reporters following practice. Lets just hope this doesn't turn into a long-term problem.

Click HERE for the entire injury report.


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Friday Morning Injury Update

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, 9:00 a.m


While the majority of the Cardinals' injuries has been manageable, WR Early Doucet is the first player to miss extended time. Doucet will be out 3-6 weeks following sports hernia surgery, leaving very little chance he'll be back before the team's bye week.

If Doucet was just able to stay on the field, he looks like a prime candidate to break out. The emergence of Steve Breaston helps as does the improved knee of Larry Fitzgerald. Furthermore, the gift of undrafted rookie Stephen Williams is coming in handy about right now.

RB Beanie Wells has been limited again this week but he seems to think there's nothing keeping him out of the lineup against the Falcons. However, Wells was saying similar things a week ago. Friday will be a good test for Wells' bruised knee as he's expected to increase his activity.

See video of Wells talking about his knee injury HERE.

Knee injuries seem to be a common theme around the team's locker room and DE Kenny Iwebema is another players who's been slowed of late. Iwebema said he knee is fine and is ready to go Sunday.

Despite QB Matt Ryan and WR Roddy White, Atlanta is a run first team and having a healthy Iwebema in the defensive rotation up front will help keep the rest of the unit fresh.

See video of Iwebema talking his injury and more HERE.


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Keys to the Game

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Sunday, 12:00 p.m



UPDATE: RB Beanie Wells is inactive for today's game. Look for Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling to pick-up the slack.

The Cardinals will attempt to start the 2010 campaign on the right foot and should have a good opportunity to do so against St. Louis. The Rams are coming off a 1-15 season and Sam Bradford is set to make his first NFL start on Sunday.

First and foremost for the Arizona defense will be getting to Bradford. The Cardinals' defensive line has been tremendous throughout the preseason and will look to carry that into the regular season. If they're unable to do so against the rookie under center and a lackluster Rams offensive line, it could prove as a wake-up call for the unit.

Also a priority on defense will be limiting the production of RB Steven Jackson. Jackson has been a workhorse for St. Louis since joining the team but has started wearing down of late. There is little firepower other than Jackson on the offense, so the Cardinals will likely force someone other than Jackson to beat them. Not exactly sure who that would be.

Offensively, it all starts with QB Derek Anderson. Anderson's performance will be under the microscope due to the team's commitment to him after trading Matt Leinart. Anderson will need to get wideout Larry Fitzgerald into the game as he returns to action still nursing a knee injury. Keep an eye on wild cards Stephen Williams and Max Komar - two undrafted rookies - as they developed an outstanding rapport with Anderson and could be targeted on specific plays in the game plan.

RB Beanie Wells is questionable but in a game Arizona should win, it might be best to keep him on the sidelines. Furthermore, Tim Hightower's two best games as a pro came in St. Louis and getting LaRod Stephens-Howling into the game more often has been a focal point for coach Ken Whisenhunt. This seems like a logical opportunity to do so, while allowing Wells to fully heal from a bruised knee.


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Wednesday Practice Notes

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 1:45 p.m


The Cardinals' running game may take a hit this weekend if Beanie Wells can't go. Wells suffered what was thought to be a slight knee injury in the preseason finale against Washington but didn't practice on Wednesday.

If Wells is unable play against the Rams, look for Tim Hightower to pick up the slack with LaRod Stephens-Howling receiving more touches than usual. Backup running back and special teams ace Jason Wright also didn't practice.

The injury news regarding WR Larry Fitzgerald is more positive and the perennial Pro Bowler should be on the field in St. Louis. Fitzgerald is expected to wear a brace on his right knee buts it's substantially smaller than the one he's been rehabbing with.

Six captains were announced for the 2010 campaign. Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett, Ben Graham, Lyle Sendlein, Adrian Wilson and Jason Wright.


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Green and Togafau Added to Practice Squad

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, 1:30 p.m


As expected, CB Marshay Green was added to the practice squad as was LB Pago Togafau. The Cardinals have now filled all eight spots.


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Practice Squad Filling Out

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Monday, 3:30 p.m



UPDATE: Two more members have been added to the practice squad. WR Tim Brown (New York Giants) and LB Curtis Gatewood (Washington Redskins) will be heading to the desert.

The final two spots should be filled early this week.

As reported here last night, RB Ian Johnson and WR Isaiah Williams are on to the Cardinals' practice squad.

Two more players joining them are offensive linemen Herman Johnson and Tom Pestock. Johnson is somewhat of a surprise considering he was expected to garner interest from other teams' 53-man rosters.

CB Marshay Green is another solid candidate to make the practice squad, and if he does it would leave three open sports remaining. However, nothing has been confirmed of yet.


PRACTICE SQUAD
RB Ian Johnson
WR Isaiah Williams
OL Herman Johnson
OL Tom Pestock


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New Additions Rolling In

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Sunday, 6:30 p.m



Update: Reagan Maui'a has reportedly been released. Another fullback must be coming because Maui'a was the only one on the roster.

In addition to Maui'a, LB Pago Togafau and CB Marshay Green have been released. Togafua not so surprising but Green - who's had a solid camp and preseason - came fairly unexpected. Especially since CB A.J. Jefferson remains. Maybe he will stick around after all.

FB Jerome Johnson is the only other signing to report. Formerly of the New York Giants.


Two newcomers added so far:

CB Brandon McDonald
DE/OLB Cyril Obiozor

Find more about them here: New Players Being Added

Stay tuned for future updates.


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Leinart gone, two other cuts made

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Saturday, 12:00 p.m



UPDATE: The news of Leinart has been confirmed. He is officially out. No surprise but it's a done deal.

The other two cuts are RB Alfonso Smith and LB Chris Johnson. More moves expected to come, so roster is not set in stone.

CB A.J. Jefferson is still likely to be a casualty as some point but the Cardinals' obviously are very high on him. The idea is probably to keep his rights until teams scramble to fill their practice squads, then waive him with a better chance of him staying in Arizona.


Adam Schefter is reporting Matt Leinart has been informed of his release. As of now, the Cardinals will enter the 2010 campaign with two rookies (Max Hall and John Skelton) backing up Derek Anderson.

Two cuts remain, RB Alfonso Smith and CB A.J. Jefferson seem to be the likely choices.

A couple of newcomers are expected to enter the mix as well.

Stay tuned for more updates following coach Ken Whisenhunt's noon press conference.


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Looking at the final three roster moves

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Saturday, 9:00 a.m


Frankly, after dissecting the final three cuts to be made today, I would sum it up as puzzling.

There must be something going on behind the scenes because as of now, OL Ben Claxton and LB Chris Johnson appear to be making the team. Neither player was expected to, possibly Claxton, but it would have been an upset.

This conclusion is drawn after examining the final 56 players on the roster following Friday's moves. RB Alfonso Smith couldn't possibly make it as the Cardinals will not be carrying five running backs (plus a fullback). The same goes at cornerback. Should Marshay Green and A.J. Jefferson make it, the team would have six corners. Plus, it appears that safety Hamza Abdullah has made the squad, and that would make 11 players in the secondary if Green or Jefferson made it (I give Green the advantage here and expect Jefferson to be among the final three cuts).

After Monty Beisel, Stevie Baggs and Cody Brown were released, the linebacking corps is depleted. Would Arizona go into the season with so few linebackers running the 3-4 defense? I don't see that happening, meaning that LB Chris Johnson would have made the cut. A major surprise.

So here's my thinking. Jefferson, Smith and Leinart are the final three cuts. Jefferson and Smith will likely end up on the practice squad. That leaves the remaining 53 players with surprises such as Claxton and Johnson (even Abdullah but not to the same extent).

The twist is Claxton and Johnson keeping the seat warm for newcomers. There's no chance Claxton would be kept on the roster over someone like Herman Johnson. A name to keep an eye on is Justin Hartwig. Hartwig spent the last two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was just released. It might just be a matter of time before Claxton is replaced by Hartwig.

A similar situation seems to be arising with Johnson, with him be a placeholder for another player. Johnson more than likely wouldn't have been kept over Beisel, confirming this theory. No one has been singled out yet as a possibility but there's a good chance the Cardinals' front office have locked in on a handful of replacements.

For a full breakdown of the 53-man roster and the last five players in and last five out. Click below.

Fight for 53 - LINK


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Friday Roster Moves

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, 4:00 p.m


Cuts already taking place today: LB Monty Beisel, LB Stevie Baggs, TE Anthony Becht.

Guard Reggie Wells traded to Eagles for sixth-round pick.


LB Cody Brown (2009 second-round draft pick), OL Herman Johnson, OL Tom Pestock next round of casualties.


Next round of cuts: Jeremy Clark, John Fletcher, Trevor Ford, Ed Gant, Mike Jones, Onrea Jones, Justin Miller, Johnathan Palmer, Charles Scott, Mark Washington, Isaiah Williams.

Gerald Hayes to PUP list, opening up another roster spot for the time being.

Three more roster moves required by tomorrow's deadline.

Stay tuned for future updates


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Cardinals vs. Redskins In-Game Notes

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, In-Game


Around 30 Redskins won't play tonight.

Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts, Jason Wright, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Gerald Hayes out for Arizona. No surprises there.


Derek Anderson gets the start.

Anderson a back shoulder throw to Stephen Williams. Williams proving he can make all the catches.

Anderson threads the needle to Doucet, perfectly thrown ball.

Drives stalls as Anderson slightly overthrows an open Stephen Spach over middle.

Feely hits 42-yard field goal.


Defense making plays. Calais Campbell bats down pass at line of scrimmage. Haggans strip sack but offsides called.

Cards defense going against one notable player, RB Willie Parker.

Adrian Wilson stands up RB in hole. Forces fourth down and field goal.


Komar getting a look on special teams. In on kick return team, good for 25 yards.

Leinart in, on target to Williams who seemingly makes first drop of career with Arizona. Was it on purpose?

Leinart leads a three-and-out on second offensive possession. Takes a sack on third down, not much of a chance.


Washington shows great closing speed on a furious tackle for a loss on a swing pass.

Quick possession by the Washington offense.


Beanie gets his first carry. Off tackle, nowhere to run.

End of first quarter.


Leinart continues to dink and dunk. Will he ever air it out?

Beanie gets tripped up, almost broke a long run to the outside. To the sidelines with an injury.

Reggie Wells getting beat up front. Is he feeling the heat from Deuce Lutui?

Alfonso Smith should get plenty of carries tonight. Either for the practice squad or showcasing for another team.

Leinart floats a pass to the outside on an apparent miscommunication with Williams. Almost intercepted by Redskins.

Leinart not increasing his trade value or his chances of starting somewhere else this year - there's virtually no shot regardless.


Kenny Iwebema continues to come up big in preseason. Sacks Bartel deep in Redskins territory.

Washington offense not doing much. Should be the case as backups have played whole game.


Max Hall in at QB

Hall's first pass is into triple coverage. Whiz, are you sure you want two rookie backups?

Hall improvises out of pocket and hits Spach for 17-yard game.

Hall again shows his ability with his feet. Scampers out of the pocket for first down.

Hall looking sharper than Leinart. Crisper passes.

Hall hanging onto the ball too long. Needs to throw away on some occasions. Maybe having difficulty reading coverages.

Lutui is a man mover in the trenches. He plays even bigger than he is.

Great drive being engineered by Hall.

Onrea Jones playing a nice game so far. Too bad he didn't flash this earlier. Oh, and Stephen Williams didn't show up.

Alfonso Smith rushes for his second touchdown of preseason. Rex Hadnot pulling at guard to make a nice block.


Hall and Onrea Jones clicking on first drive of second half.

Probably too little too late for Jones in Arizona, but might open up opportunities elsewhere.

Hall slightly overthrows Williams for a circus catch in back of end zone.

Hall engineers another nice drive, ends in short field goal by Feely.


Max Komar finally makes an appearance on offense. Long gain up the seam.

Hall evades the blitz, does his best Mike Vick imitation to score just inside the pylon.

Should see Skelton soon.


Bartel moving the ball against Cards reserve defense. Poor tackling in the second level of the defense.

Not many standout performances by guys needing to make up ground. As of now, shouldn't be any major changes on the depth chart.

CB Trevor Ford went for interception, Redskins wideout Terrance Austin makes the grab and strolls into the end zone.


Skelton in at QB.

Max Hall 7 of 9 for 126 yards. Might have locked up the backup job if Leinart leaves as planned.

Quiet performances from some notables: Marshay Green comes to mind as does Reggie Walker.

Albert Haynesworth playing in the fourth quarter. Skelton lofts a pass to sidelines, almost picked off in double coverage.

Not much doing for Skelton so far.


Terrance Austin having a game for Washington. Not sure if he has a chance to make the roster.

Monty Beisel gets the INT on a bad John Beck pass, fumbles but Cards recover.


Reggie Walker finally gets into the action, sacks Beck on big hit.

Marshay Green showing some good cover skills down the field.


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Giants, Bills Out of Leinart Sweepstakes

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 4:00 p.m


Two potential suitors in the Matt Leinart sweepstakes are no longer interested in the now displaced quarterback. The New York Giants are looking for someone more content with backing up Eli Manning. Leinart still wants to start - or at least an opportunity to. The Buffalo Bills expressed interest during the offseason but are thought to be wary of Leinart's $7 million-plus salary in 2011.

While a team coming out of the blue remains a possibility, keep an eye on the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. Both are fairly set at the quarterback position but neither has a true franchise quarterback.

In Oakland's case, Al Davis has never shied away from signing a big-name player such as Leinart. Jason Campbell provides the Raiders with their best option under center in years but he's far from a sure thing. Kyle Boller and Bruce Gradkowski are the other two quarterbacks in the mix but neither players spot on the team is completely set in stone.

Meanwhile, Leinart's obvious connection with the Seahawks is first-year coach Pete Carroll. Leinart thrived under Carroll while at USC and a reunion isn't out of the question. Seattle already has Matt Hasselbeck and their quarterback of the future in Charlie Whitehurst but don't put this move past Carroll. J.P. Losman is third on the depth chart and assuming Leinart can be had at a bargain price, Losman would be sent packing.

On a more positive note, Darnell Dockett's long awaited contract extension has been finalized. Dockett's new deal will keep him in Arizona through 2015.

The four-year, $47 million contract includes $31 in guaranteed money.


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Leinart's Future

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 8:30 a.m


After Derek Anderson was named the starter in the third preseason game, the Cardinals' quarterback controversy has taken on a life of its own. There's been a lot said by coach Ken Whisenhunt and Matt Leinart over the past week and at this point it seems a parting of ways is imminent.

Both have indirectly taken shots at each other, most notably Leinart who undermined Whisenhunt's decision in several of his comments. Meanwhile, Whisenhunt took a more politically correct approach, stating the two had been communicating but something must have been misinterpreted.

Now the question is what to do with Leinart. Given his second demotion in the last five years, Leinart knows he's not in the team's long-terms plans. Leinart's camp should be working diligently to reach the best possible destination while the Cardinals are more concerned about the best possible compensation.

One potential sticking point is Leinart's contract. He's due to make over $7 million next year and that number is expected to become even larger due to stipulations in his contract. At that rate, a limited number of teams will show interest unless Leinart approves a restructured deal prior to agreeing to a trade. If he refuses to do so, an outright release might be the only option.

As far as Leinart seeing the field this year, don't count on it. Looking around the NFL, most quarterback depth charts are relatively set even if they're not the best of scenarios. One potential landing spot is explained HERE. Leinart would prefer to play right away, but the chances of that are slim.

Unfortunately, negativity surrounding Leinart's work ethic, leadership skills, and now relations with his head coach will likely follow for the rest of his career. Unless Leinart manages to parlay his role as an underdog into new-found success, his current label as a bust will stick with him, wherever he goes.


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In-Game Notes From Chicago

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Saturday, 9:00 p.m


Looks like the secondary will be tested early. Hester takes DRC.

Interesting, DRC gets beat twice in the first five plays, then gets the INT. Might have been setting Cutler up.

Anderson on mark with first pass. Then throws into double coverage on third down. Very poor decision.


Running games looks much better. Offensive line getting after it up front.

Whisenhunt wants first downs? Don't call a reverse on second and short that kills the drive.

Anderson not taking advantage of the start yet.


Defense struggling to get off the field on third down. Look vulnerable on screen passes.

DRC might have gotten away with pass interference.

Pass rush showing up for the defense. Dockett shows his non-stop motor.

Another blocked FG by Calais Campbell, a specialty of his. Whiz pumped up.


DA hangs in pocket makes the dump off to Hightower. Finally another first down.

DA not finding much time to operate. Yet to take a shot down the field, mostly check downs ala Leinart.

Great pass to Stephen Williams with pressure on his backside. Those are the types of plays that will make him the starter. Great catch by Williams by the way.

Anderson had Doucet open. Inaccuracy, lack of touch needs to be addressed – might not be possible.

Williams takes big hit, hands on. Guy looks like a Pro Bowler out there.

Touchdown Williams – steal of the draft wasn't even drafted.

Anderson with a terrific end to that drive.


Daryl Washington covers a lot of ground. Has a nose for the ball.

Michael Adams is very unappreciated in the secondary. Really a great contributor.

Missed FG, mojo definitely on Cards side. Things just feel different with Leinart on sidelines.


Whiz leaves Anderson in, DA going for the jugular. Another completion to Williams.

I mentioned the chemistry of DA and Williams quite a few times in past weeks. See it now?

Williams almost seems un-coverable out there. Same thing last week against Tennessee as well. Not playing against backups anymore, the real deal.


Toler good coverage on the outside. Not much going on his side of the field, which is a good thing.

Sack by Calais Campbell – almost certainly will break out this year. Guy has skills.

Another INT, this time by Toler. Bad pass by Cutler, but Toler and DRC might be one of the league's best CB tandems within a couple years. Who knows, maybe this year.


Leinart in, once again Williams open. Is un-coverable even a word? I don't think so.

Underneath throws continue to dominate Leinart's game. They're getting the job done tonight, however.

Leinart eludes pass rush, finds Breaston for a first down.

ML leads highly efficient two-minute drill, ends in Beanie Wells fumble.


Drive stalls but Leinart looking super accurate. QB positions suddenly doesn't look so bad. Dray with a nice play.


Gabe Watson penetrates the line and gets a sack.

Porter makes a tackle for loss. Cards disruptive defenders showing up.


Hightower playing outstanding. He seems to clearly be ahead of Beanie in terms of touches, which says something about his ability. He isn't disappointing.

Levi Brown beat off the edge by Peppers, Leinart sacked.

Leinart hits Breaston on crossing route for TD, great effort by Breaston jumping from the three-yard line to score.

Leinart making his case for starting job as well.


Kenny Iwebema continues to make plays, depth on the defensive line is tremendous


Skelton in at QB – just looks the part in the pocket. Very smooth and stands tall.

Beanie running hard – something to prove after the fumble. Very Adrian Peterson –like with his power running style.

Skelton has Dan Marino shiftiness in pocket. Not that nimble but maneuvers very well under duress.

Bridges and Herman Johnson both beat off the edge. Skelton sacked, not much of a chance.


Cards backup defenders keep Bears out of the end zone.

Abdullah is very active in the secondary. Probably going to be tough for him to make the roster with four safeties already in line.


Skelton not as sharp as two weeks ago against Houston.

Beanie has an extra gear when he gets rolling. Wouldn't want to be a defensive back when that happens.


Quiet night for Marshay Green. Hard to tell if that's good or bad without see game tape.

Sixth-round pick Jorrick Calvin beat on fade for touchdown.

Similar to Michael Adams, Matt Ware a valuable player who's under appreciated. Great tackle to deny two-point conversion


Max Hall in, immediately makes his presence felt. Hits Komar up the seam for long gain. Perfectly placed ball.

Undrafted free agent Alfonso Smith getting a look at running back. Candidate to make the practice squad.

Hall another long completion to Onrea Jones. Going to be tough to part ways with Hall.

Cards kneel in redzone to end game.


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Bears Preview, Leinart Cut?

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Saturday, 12:30 p.m.


One of the Cardinals' most important preseason games in recent years takes place tonight in Chicago. All eyes will be on Derek Anderson as he gets the start and Matt Leinart coming off the bench. Just days after losing his grasp on the starting spot, Leinart might need to prove himself to stay on the roster.

Reports have surfaced that Arizona is seriously considering releasing Leinart prior to the start of the regular season. Those same reports have suggested the team has their eye on a handful of quarterbacks that will potentially hit the waiver wire in the coming weeks.

While ending the Leinart era sounds like an easy proposition, it could prove very risky. If nothing else, Leinart would be a serviceable backup who knows the offensive system. Furthermore, the names being mentioned as a replacement don't seem to be much of an upgrade, if any.

If the Cardinals went with Anderson and the two rookies – John Skelton and Max Hall – things could get dicey if Anderson falters or gets injured. Both Skelton and Hall have looked good in limited action during the preseason but it's come against second and third-string defenses.

Making things even more uncertain is the inconsistent play of Anderson. Although he's getting a shot as the starter, his performance is nothing to write home about. Questionable decision making, two interceptions and a QB rating of 58.3 immediately come to mind. If he can't get the job done against the Bears, Leinart might be back into the starting lineup as quickly as he exited.


Other areas to watch tonight:


QBs and WRs: Evaluating Anderson and Leinart may prove difficult as Steve Breaston is the lone wideout playing from top three spots of the depth chart. Additionally, his time will likely be limited as a precautionary measure. Anderson has the advantage here given he's worked with guys like Stephen Williams, Andre Roberts and Max Komar on the second-team offense.

Offensive line: The o-line must do a better job in the trenches, particularly protecting the quarterbacks. Tackles Levi Brown and Brandon Keith are still very suspect and need to prove they're capable of patrolling the perimeter. The interior of the offensive line has been better, but running lanes must be created for Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells to run through.

Battle at cornerback: Greg Toler can wrap-up the starting job with a good performance. On the flip side, if he struggles against a weak group of Bears' wideouts and Trumaine McBride recovers from a questionable game against the Titans, the battle might return to its deadlocked status.

Rookie defenders: LB Daryl Washington has already moved into the starting lineup but needs a solid outing to stay there. DT Dan Williams has been getting some time with the first-team defense and a breakout game may earn him even more opportunities up front.


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Leinart Reacts

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, 2:30 p.m.


Responding to the news of Derek Anderson being named the starter in Chicago, Matt Leinart put his tentative attitude both on and off the field aside on Friday. Leinart called out coach Ken Whisenhunt and surprisingly sounded assertive with his comments on the situation. It's surprising given Leinart's rather low key presence during playing time and press conferences.

There's a couple different ways to run with Leinart's comments. One on hand, it can be argued a fire has been lit under the fifth-year quarterback and maybe that fire follows him on the field Saturday as he comes off the bench in relief. But the comments could also be classified as Leinart's most recent act of immature behavior or that he's just fed with the criticism coming his way.

I will say this, Leinart has a point. Assuming he's really done everything the coaching staff has asked, it hasn't been much of a fair fight. Anderson has received at least double the amount of playing time and has also being going up against second and third team defenses for the most part. Whether it's a result of who's been under center, the play calling has been more adventurous with Anderson leading the offense while it's been particularly bland with Leinart.

Looking back at the game tape, Leinart and the first-team offense were up against nasty defensive lines against both Houston and Tennessee. Leinart was under constant duress and had little time to process the defense, let alone make accurate passes downfield. The running game did virtually nothing to help and he's been without Pro Bowl wideout Larry Fitzgerald for more than a week.

Let's not rush to judgment on Leinart's comments or his future fate just yet. There's still a good chance he's the starter come opening day and plays a prominent role in the Cardinals' 2010 campaign. Instead, let's watch and see how Saturday night turns out. After all, Anderson's performance has been less than spectacular thus far and what's to think that will change in Chicago?

Notable quotes from Leinart today:

"All I can do is really focus on just me. I don't make these decisions, and sometime you don't know why decisions are made. I believe that I'm going to be starter that opening game."

"I don't know how we judge performance when you have 13 pass attempts to the other guy's 40."

"I'm disappointed. I've done everything to this point that they've asked me to and more. I'm not really sure what's being asked of me. I'm going to continue to be a leader on this team."

"I am confident in my ability. I am extremely disappointed, and I'm not exactly sure why this decision was made, but it's not my decision. In the limited, limited opportunities I have had, I think I've done my best."

"I have learned the last two weeks, you control what you can control. I think I have made the most of my opportunities when I have had the chance. We weren't in the best situations all the time, and that's all of us."

"It's mentally draining. It drains you a little bit and it's been like that the last three years."

"Coach has a way of handling me and my situation the last three years, even when Kurt was here. For me, I've always kind of taken it with a grain of salt."


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Quarterback Concerns and More

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.


There's been a lot a talk about the Cardinals' concerns at quarterback and there are two different scenarios starting to pan out.

First, of course, is the battle between Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson to be the starter under center. Leinart's preseason has been very sketchy both because of inconsistent play and his limited time on the field. Leinart came into 2010 with everything to prove all over again but he's thrown just 13 passes in the first two preseason games.

Following both of his ho-hum performances, Leinart seemingly refers to preseason as if it's meaningless compared to the regular season. Now, that would hold true for other veterans such as Kurt Warner or Brett Favre but the preseason is vital for Leinart and his growth heading into the season. Leinart's game needs a lot of work, particularly in the vertical passing game.

Everyone likes to throw out the term "gameplan" in the preseason because most teams don't do it. However, one would think this would give quarterbacks even more of an opportunity to move the ball around and have some success through the air. That held true for the likes of Matt Schaub and Vince Young who played about a quarter against the Cardinals, making a few first downs and even leading the offense to a touchdown.

The same can't be said for Leinart. If he's been unable to show any signs of life in the "insignificant" preseason, how can he be expected to perform in the gauntlet of the regular season? Now, as coach Ken Whisenhunt likes to point out, everything isn't on the quarterback, which could cause even more reasons for concern as the deficiencies extend to the offensive line, running game and a banged up wide receiving corps.

The other situation taking place simultaneously is the battle for the third quarterback spot. Arizona would prefer not to lose John Skelton or Max Hall but it looks like they'll have to part ways with one.

Obviously it won't be fifth-round draft pick John Skelton, leaving Hall as the likely man out. The Cardinals would be more than happy to keep him on the practice squad but unless Hall falters badly down the stretch, there should be a team in need of a younger option at the position as a third quarterback.

Both Skelton and Hall's performance, albeit it against backups, has arguably been the highlight of the team's quarterback play in the preseason. There's even been suggestions of keeping Skelton and Hall while dropping either Leinart or Anderson. While that propositions is foolish at this point, losing Hall to another team would be unfortunate but necessary given the other more pressing areas of need on the roster.


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Monday Night Football In-Game Notes

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Monday, In-Game Notes


Looked like Leinart audibled on first play to a successful out pattern. A good sign for his command on the offense.

Although Andre Roberts hasn't been overly impressive at wide receiver, he looks confident as a punt returner.

Secondary looking suspect. Kerry Rhodes beat on long pass. Trumaine McBride beat on quick slant to Washington, couldn't keep up.


Running game still struggling. Hightower definitely getting the call ahead of Beanie at this point.

Leinart stays in the pocket and delivers pass over the middle to Roberts.

Like the play call on third and short, looked like a miscommunication between Leinart and Stephen Williams.


Cards getting manhandled up front. Big push from the Titans' o-line.

Young going after McBride. McBride may have got away with pass interference.

Justin Miller nice kick return, probably his only way to make the roster.


Anderson in at QB, surprised Leinart's already done. 4 of 6, 28 yards. Didn't show much again.


Nice pass on Anderson's first attempt. Offense looks like much more of a threat with him under center.

Anderson to Williams, beautiful pass in single coverage. 37 yard gain.

Anderson had Breaston in end zone off play action. Needs to make that pass.

Beanie comes in at goal line. Could be a sign of things to come in regular season.


CB Marshay Green getting early playing time. Running stride for stride with Kenny Britt on outside.

Short-yardage defense definitely a strength.


Anderson and Williams have been developing a noticeable rapport in camp and it's continuing during the game. Williams is real deal.

Anderson and Leinart again not getting much help from the o-line. Trenches looking very shaky.

Play calling much more passer friendly with Anderson on field.


LB Daryl Washington in the backfield again. First time he surfaces late in second quarter.


Offensive line not doing its job. Levi Brown getting beat n outside. Interior of line doesn't seem to be producing any running lanes.


Anderson looking solid in two-minute drill. Good decision making and eyes are downfield at all times.

Knock on Anderson is no touch on short to mid range throws. Maybe he's been working on that because they're not bad tonight.


Halftime Observations: Stephen Williams - 3 catches for 59 yards on 8 targets. He might be the second best wideout on the roster besides Fitz.

Calais Campbell 7 tackles (6 solo), QB hit - all over the field.

Running game anemic - 7 rushes for 3 yards.


Not sure if Herman Johnson has the lateral quickness to play tackle.

Anderson loses the snap. Can't make mistakes like that and content for starting job.

Maybe Titans' second-team defense is just that good or Cards' offensive reserves are not.


Washington not as impactful tonight but still holding his own.

Cards need to show a more physical presence in all aspects. Don't think that will sit well with Whisenhunt.


Max Hall in before Skelton. Whiz probably wants to ensure work for Hall and then hand over rest of game to Skelton.

Offense goes three and out with Hall. Now 1 of 12 on third down.

Punter Ben Graham muffs punt snap. Starting to unravel for Cards.


Cards standing around on defense. Alan Branch pushed out of play with ease by Ten backup o-line.


LaRod Stephens-Howling finally gets a chance, still looks dynamic with the ball in his hands.

Hall throws into double coverage, not going to help his chances.


Stevie Baggs getting some expanded playing time. Not making much noise as of yet. Going to be tough to make the team considering he might have to jump Will Davis. Check that – Steve gets to Chris Simms off the edge and nearly gets the strip sack.


Hall looking more comfortable in the pocket. Making nice, quick throws. Has a savvy on play action.

Ed Gants shows a lot of explosiveness. Needs to secure ball better going to ground and made a bad drop.

Hall steps up and avoids defender, throws perfect strike to Gant who drops it. Hall gets another shot and throws TD to Max Komar after flushing the pocket.

Cards could have a dilemma on their hands with Hall.


Lots of missed tackles by reserves on defense.

Baggs making some traction, knocks down pass at line of scrimmage.


Understand Whiz wanted to see Hall but don't see how not playing Skelton makes sense. Maybe his practice performance has something to do with.


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Training Camp Cliff Notes

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Saturday, 2:30 p.m.


After a long three weeks, Cardinals' training camp came to an end on Saturday morning. If you missed out on the action, here's the condensed yet informative version of what transpired in Flagstaff.

Same old Leinart: Whether it's good or bad, Matt Leinart looked how he's always looked. Some good, some bad with overall inconsistent play.

Not so fast Derek: Some thought Derek Anderson would compete for the starting quarterback job but Anderson has yet to click with the Cards' offense.

Share the rock: Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower both deserve their fair share of carries and the running back by committee will continue.

O-line, oh no: There's still hope the offensive line will gel, but there were some shaky times during camp. Keep your fingers crossed here.

Musical wideouts: Injuries and newcomers made for an interesting camp at wide receiver. Remember the name Stephen Williams.

New faces, no problem: The overhauled defense was supposed to be a liability but the rookie and free-agent additions may have upgraded the unit.

D-line domination: No description needed here. We'll wait and see if Darnell Dockett and company can translate this to real opponents.

Secondary sneaky good: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Adrian Wilson remain but newbies Greg Toler and Kerry Rhodes are the ones to watch.

Meet Mr. Washington: An early candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year is Daryl Washington. Should be fun to watch.

Who's that?: Unknown rookie free agents were one of the highlights of camp. Look for some to contribute during the upcoming season.



Want a full recap of Cardinals training camp action? Check out our training camp archive.

Training Camp Archive - CLICK HERE


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Under the Lights, Defense Dominates

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, 8:30 a.m.


The Cardinals held their second night practice of training camp on Wednesday at Coconino High School in Flagstaff. The trend during the past week of camp has been a consistent diminish of intensity. A couple reasons for this as the team has been going after it for nearly 20 days and they received their first taste of game action against Houston last Saturday. While practice is always important, it generally doesn't compare to a game day.

The resounding conclusion from Wednesday night's session was that the defense is still further ahead than the offense. A year ago, the offense carried Arizona to it's second straight NFC West title but if a third consecutive crown is in the mix, the defensive unit will be much more involved. With the cornerback and linebacker positions growing stronger by the day, the Cardinals' defense has a chance to be the best it's been since coach Ken Whisenhunt arrived in the desert.

Regardless of who it is, the backup receivers continue to impress. The talk about rookie free agent Stephen Williams has been endless but fellow undrafted teammate Max Komar is showing promise. Komar is more of a possession threat but he showed his big-play ability in the preseason opener, making a diving catch from QB John Skelton. With the competition at wide receiver proving to be very stiff, Komar could be relegated to the practice squad but it's looking more possible that he has a place in the NFL.

Skelton's tremendous debut leading the Cards' comeback against the Texans overshadowed a couple of tough weeks of practice. Unfortunately, his inefficient performance in practice continues to plague him. While game action is the tale of the tape, Skelton will have difficulty moving up the depth chart if he can't sustain a high level of play in practice. Skelton continued to look lost at times under center and botched handoffs on multiple occasions Wednesday.


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Cards' Wideouts Hurting, Whisenhunt Not Pleased

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.


The big news out of Cardinals camp continues to be the status of Pro Bowl WR Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was tackled low during Saturday's preseason game and an MRI revealed an MCL sprain in his right knee. Fitzgerald insists he's fine but he's expected to miss the remainder of the preseason. Fitzgerald has nothing to prove but the time lost to fine tune things with QB Matt Leinart will certainly hurt.

Also out of action on Monday was WR Early Doucet. Doucet has experienced a handful of injuries since arriving in the desert and at this point his durability has to come under question. Ed Gant still has yet to return to practice and his chances of making the active roster are fading by the day.

One player taking advantage of the hurting wideouts is undrafted free agent Stephen Williams. Williams has been lights out during camp so far and also performed well in the preseason opener. Williams found himself working with the first-team offense on Monday, certainly a whirl wind for the rookie from Toledo.

While team's young receivers have impressed coach Ken Whisenhunt, he wasn't pleased with much more than that during Arizona's 19-16 win against the Texans. Whisenhunt has made several comments about the Cards' numerous mistakes and sloppy play. Whisenhunt hasn't shied away from expressing his disappointment but also remains optimistic that his team will grow heading into a Monday night match-up against Tennessee.


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A win is a win, but...

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Saturday, 10:30 p.m.


The first-team offense never got in sync, including QB Matt Leinart. Although he completed 6-of-7 passes, he was sacked twice and botched a handoff to RB Tim Hightower. The majority of Leinart's throws came underneath and he'll need to stretch the defense in order to have success this year. Leinart did manage to connect downfield with WR Larry Fitzgerald on one occasion who took a shot to the knee. Fitzgerald said he's fine but came up gimpy following the hit.

Derek Anderson was even more disappointing, making several mental errors in his first game as a Cardinal. Anderson threw into triple coverage multiple times and paid the price with two interceptions. Anderson appeared to be calm and cool in the pocket but his tendency to make bad decisions has translated from the practice field to game action.

In addition to the passing game, there was very little production on the ground. RB Beanie Wells found room to run in the second half but the team compiled only 68 yards on the evening. Rookie free agent Alfonso Smith had the highlight of the night, taking a pitch around the corner midway through the fourth quarter for a touchdown.

The offensive line performed along the same lines of inconsistency. RT Brandon Keith was beaten badly by Texans DE Mario Williams at one point, sacking Leinart in the process. Williams also showed his explosiveness working against TE Stephen Spach for his second sack in limited playing time. Alan Faneca experienced some difficulties, particularly when Leinart fumbled. Faneca was out of position, allowing the Houston defensive line to penetrate into the backfield.

The real story of Saturday night's game was the play of two rookies. QB John Skelton has been less than impressive during camp so far but he flipped a switch in his preseason debut. Skelton had a perfect QB rating of 158.3 after completing 5-of-6 passes for 84 yards and a score. Skelton showed poise in the pocket, finding open receivers and making the appropriate check downs. Unlike both Leinart and Anderson, Skelton was able to move the ball down the field, completing long passes to wideouts Max Komar and Stephen Williams.

The other rookie that stood out was LB Daryl Washington. Washington was all over the field, making plays in every way imaginable. In total, Washington racked up 13 tackles, recovered a fumble and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Washington was seemingly in on every tackle and looks to have a real shot at starting at inside linebacker.


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Preparing for Preseason Opener

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, 8:00 a.m.


The Cardinals continue their preparations for Saturday's preseason opener against the Houston Texans. The team's intensity in practice has decreased over the past couple days and that continued on Thursday.

Amongst the highlights was solid play from the quarterbacks and the wide receivers. Both Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson were on target for most of the day and limited their mistakes. Leinart's tendency to have two or three good practices followed by a clunker continues and hopefully his off-day won't be against Houston.

Wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston showed the secondary a few of their tricks, beating them for touchdowns during practice. Second-year CB Greg Toler had gotten the best of Fitzgerald a handful of times recently but Fitzgerald was determined to return the favor, which he did. Look for Fitzgerald and Breaston to play a quarter or less on Saturday, allowing the team's younger receivers an opportunity.

The defensive line has been dominate throughout camp so far and the defense will need that to continue during game action this weekend. With major questions at linebacker and cornerback, the defensive line will be counted on to carry the load particularly this time of year. Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell and company certainly look as if they're up for the task. Also helping will be a number of pass rushers at outside linebacker such as Joey Porter, Clark Haggans and Cody Brown.

Another area were battles are set to begin is along the offensive line. Deuce Lutui is fighting to retain his starting spot at right guard but Reggie Wells currently sits atop the depth chart. Newcomer Alan Faneca is entrenched at left guard but don't forget about Rex Hadnot, another new face that came over this offseason. Hadnot is extremely versatile with the ability to play both guard spots and center. If starter Lyle Sendlein shows any inefficiencies, look for Hadnot to get a shot at center.

The tackle positions could be Arizona's most critical area heading into this season. The majority tend to focus on the quarterbacks but if Levi Brown and Brandon Keith can't protect, it won't matter who's under center. Brown, a former top 10 draft pick, needs to display some sort of dominating presence at left tackle while Keith needs to patrol the blind side of Leinart, providing he doesn't lose the starting job to Anderson.


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Wednesday Camp Notes, Preseason Preview

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, 7:00 a.m.


A few players were held out of Wednesday's camp action but nothing is considered to be serious. WR Steve Breaston was one of the players sitting but it gave the team's younger receivers an opportunity for more reps.

Matt Leinart continues to lead the race at starting quarterback and he did some nice work in the red zone on Wednesday. Due to his arm strength, Derek Anderson could be considered superior inside the 20-yard line but Leinart connected with wideout Early Doucet on a 10-yard touchdown.

Leinart is expected to play about a quarter in Saturday's preseason game against the Houston Texans. It should be a good challenge for Leinart and the Cards' offensive line going against a talented group in the trenches for the Texans. Guard Alan Faneca will have an opportunity to showcase his pass protection while Reggie Wells and Deuce Lutui will start what should be a heated competition at right guard. Furthermore, tackles Levi Brown and Brandon Keith will get their first game action at their new positions.

RB Beanie Wells continues to play with sore ribs and the fact that he's showing no ill effects is promising. One of the knocks on Wells coming out of college was his durability. Shortly after arriving at Cardinals camp a year ago, the injury bug hit again. However, this year seems to be different and as Wells continues to learn how to deal with injuries, it will only help him join the league's elite group of running backs.

DE Keilen Dykes, who suffered a torn triceps tendon, has been released. Dykes was having a solid camp, finding himself in the backfield on several occasions. Arizona signed DE John Fletcher to take is place, most recently of the Baltimore Ravens. With Dykes gone, Kenny Iwebema can breath a little easier with another threat to take a roster spot out of the picture.

The linebacker and cornerback positions are other areas to watch during preseason action this weekend. While the starting spots are certainly important, developing depth below may be even more critical. Outside of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the team is thin at cornerback with Greg Toler and Trumaine McBride proving to be the next two options. Newcomers Justin Miller and Trevor Ford are also in the mix as are rookies Marshay Green and A.J. Jefferson.

At linebacker, Monty Beisel remains the starter next to Paris Lenon but the team is probably hoping Pago Togafua or Reggie Walker can rustle the starting spot from him. Beisel has been a backup for most of his career but the team seems comfortable with his as the starter with Gerald Hayes out until at least September.


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Tuesday Camp Notes

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 7:00 a.m.


The most important part of Tuesday's training camp action was the return of RB Beanie Wells. Wells took part in almost the entire practice and looked good during 11-on-11 play. It's still uncertain whether Wells will play in Saturday's preseason match-up against the Houston Texans but the rib injury he sustained on Monday doesn't appear to be a long-term issue.

Other injury news saw CB Greg Toler leave the field with an apparent ankle injury on Tuesday. Toler has been making a move to join the starting lineup but this will certainly slow him down. For the time being, Trumaine McBride will continue working with the first-team defense but the team is hopeful Toler will take over the starting job at some point early in the season.

Over the past few days, not much has transpired in the quarterback battle as Matt Leinart still reigns supreme. However, that can change in a hurry if Leinart struggles against Houston. Based on what coach Ken Whisenhunt has said, Leinart will more than likely need two poor performances in the preseason to have any danger of losing the starting job. Even if that does happen, Leinart might be under center for the regular season opener.

The team's depth chart was released for Saturday's game against the Texans and there were a few notable developments. First-round draft pick Dan Williams currently stands on the third unit but will undoubtedly move up if he performs as expected. Williams currently resides behind veteran Bryan Robinson and Gabe Watson. Williams is also low on the totem pole due to his abbreviated holdout.

The most suprising area of the depth chart was probably the race for the third quarterback spot. Max Hall has looked head and shoulders better than fellow rookie John Skelton but Skelton is listed as Arizona's third option. While Hall has outplayed Skelton up to this point, the team has much more invested in Skelton and is counting on him to develop into the quarterback of the future. Based on the first week and half of practice, Skelton has a long way to go.


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Wells Hurt, Practice Continues

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, 7:00 a.m.


The thought of RB Beanie Wells going down with an injury is about as dark as they come. However, the Cardinals seemed to have caught a break as tests revealed no major damage to the potential breakout star. Wells' injury is being classified as sore ribs and he's currently listed as day-to-day.

Although the team's defense has been performing lights out so far, there's still plenty of work to do. There's also reason to believe that the success on defense has come at the expense of a underwhelming offensive unit. Putting that idea on hold for the time being, the defensive line is set to have a monster year but other areas aren't so certain.

One player who's doing his best to rectify that is CB Greg Toler. Tolers was described as a raw talent selected in the fourth round of last years draft but the former small-school prospect is on the verge of cracking the starting lineup. Toler continues to perform at a high level in the secondary and should overtake current starter Trumaine McBride any day.

Another concern on the defensive side of the ball involves the linebacker position. Veterans Paris Lenon and Monty Beisel are competing for the starting job along with rookie Daryl Washington. An ideal situation would have Washington seizing the job but that scenario is unlikely at this point. Washington should play a large role this year but Lenon has a firm grasp on the starting spot.


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Training Camp Highlights / Observations / Notes (So Far)

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Sunday, 7:00 a.m.


1) Stephen Williams – the undrafted rookie from Toledo has been nothing short of remarkable. Of course, we still need to see him in game action but he is performing at nearly a No. 2 receiver level. He has great size (6-foot-5, 208 pounds) and makes big play after big play. That said, he hasn't spent a ton of time against the No. 1 defense but impressive nonetheless. There could be something brewing here where Fitz and Williams line up on the perimeter with Breaston / Doucet / Roberts working in the slot. Don't see how he could be left off the roster at this point but still a ways to go in camp, so anything can happen.

2) LaRod Stephens-Howling - good season on special teams a year ago and really looks poised to breakout on offense. While not as explosive, he reminds me of a Darren Sproles type player. He has been catching the ball out of the backfield, using his speed to get to the corner on the ground and even showing power running in between the tackles. He may be the victim of Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower getting most of the carries but I think coach Ken Whisenhunt and company know they need to find a way to get Stephens-Howling the ball.

3) Greg Toler - I think he's ready to jump into the starting lineup and do a nice job opposite of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Toler was matched up a lot with Fitzgerald on Saturday and more than held his own. I was most impressed with his ability to use his body against Fitz. Fitz is one of the best receivers in the game when it comes to positioning and Toler beat him at his own game on at least a couple occasions. For a guy whose fundamentals and technique has been questioned, Toler looked smooth, polished and confident in the secondary.

4) The defensive line as a unit - Darnell Dockett is a top 5 defensive lineman in the league. He's all over the place and his versatility allows him to be disruptive from anywhere on the field. Calais Campbell is developing into an outstanding player, very balanced and well rounded. Not going to blow you away with his skills but fits great with Dockett. Add big Dan Williams to the mix and those three (in the 3-4 defense) could be about as good as it gets in a year or two. D-line is going to have to carry the defense this year and I think they can without a problem.

5) Of course the quarterbacks need a mention – Matt Leinart looks the same to me. Not sure if that's good or bad but we know what results the past has produced. There seems to be a pattern of two or three good practices followed by a clunker or two. With his lack of arm strength, Leinart needs to complete a minimum of 60 percent of his passes. I'm not sure he can do that. I had reservations about Derek Anderson's decision making, even in lightly paced practice. However, Anderson impressed on Saturday showing off his arm strength and accuracy. He simply makes throws Leinart cannot. In another battle, Max Hall should be the team's third quarterback with John Skelton likely headed for the practice squad.


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Wednesday Night Practice Notes

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, 7:00 a.m.


A handful of injury scares took place Wednesday night but thankfully none of them appear to be serious. TE Ben Patrick was down for awhile but eventually limped off the field. The injury is being called a sprained knee and he's scheduled for an MRI tomorrow.

Second-year wideout Early Doucet was also favoring his knee at one point in practice but returned to the field without a problem. Rookie DT Dan Williams had his foot stepped on but missed only limited time.

There were plenty of 11-on-11 drills under the lights, and the usual suspects were out and about on defense. Darnell Dockett penetrated through the offensive line on multiple occasions while Adrian Wilson came free on a safety blitz. In addition, Calais Campbell tallied a sack during goal-line drills.

On offense, WR Andre Roberts continues his resurgence after tough start and Matt Leinart is still not 100% comfortable in the pocket. Meanwhile Derek Anderson performed slightly better but has a long way to go in order to challenge for the starting spot.


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Dan Williams Signs

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Monday, 7:00 a.m.


The Cardinals have finally agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Dan Williams. Details of the five-year contract were not released.

Wiliiams, the 26th overall pick, is an ideal fit in Arizona's 3-4 defense. He is expected to compete for immediate playing time with incumbents Gabe Watson and Bryan Robinson.

Stayed tuned to AZRedReport for more details on the signing.


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Live from Flagstaff: Day 1 Camp Observations

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Sunday, 7:30 a.m.


QB - Along with Leinart, Anderson got a lot of reps. Anderson's arm strength is easily superior to Leinart's. Skelton is big but seems to have a lot of work to do on his fundamentals and motion. Truly a developmental prospect at this point.

RB - Beanie Wells is due for a breakout year. He has everything needed to be a star in the NFL. That said, Tim Hightower is going to continue to play at a high level. If Leinart and the passing game can keep opposing defenses honest - and the offensive line does its job - it will be a big year for the Cards' running game.

OL - A lot of question marks but progress is being made. The offensive line and cornerback positions are probably the most uncertain (and of course quarterback) but the o-line could be sneaky good. Arizona has quietly acquired a lot of depth and if some of the guys on the brink of breaking out do, watch out.

CB - As good as I feel about the RB and OL positions, it's almost as equally concerning at cornerback. Trumaine McBride was running with the first-team defense and McBride is probably a borderline nickel back for most teams in the league. Greg Toler will more than likely be the eventual starter opposite of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie but a last-minute free-agent addition might come in handy.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow from Flagstaff.


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Schofield Signs

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.


Fourth-round draft pick O'Brien Schofield has agreed to terms with the Cardinals. Details of the contract have not been released and it's still uncertain whether Schofield will see the field this year.

After suffering a major knee injury during Senior Bowl week, this is a reassuring moment for the former Wisconsin standout. In response to Schofield's signing, Devyn Tyler was released, a rookie free agent from Temple.

With five draft picks now under contract, just Daryl Washington and Dan Williams remain unsigned. Look for both players to sign prior to the start of camp later this week or shortly thereafter.


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Breaking Down the Depth Chart: Offensive Line

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, 7:00 a.m.


Aside from the quarterback position, the most critical area for Arizona on offense this season will be in the trenches. The Cardinals' offensive line has made strides since coach Russ Grimm arrived in the desert but more growth is needed. In addition, Arizona is transforming into a more balanced offense and the offensive line will be tasked with helping the running game continue to progress and protecting what could be a vulnerable passing attack.

LT: Levi Brown / Jonathan Palmer
LG: Alan Faneca / Rex Hadnot
C: Lyle Sendlein / Ben Claxton
RG: Reggie Wells or Deuce Lutui / Herman Johnson
RT: Jeremy Bridges or Brandon Keith / TBD

After inspecting the depth chart, the two most contested battles will come on the right side of the line. With Alan Faneca patrolling the left guard position, Reggie Wells and Deuce Lutui will compete at right guard. Lutui is the incumbent starter but Wells shifted over after the acquisition of Faneca. Furthermore, depth at guard is probably the strongest along the offensive line with Rex Hadnot and Herman Johnson also in the mix.

At right tackle, two inexperienced lineman are vying for the starting job. Jeremy Bridges performed admirably when called upon a year ago but there has been a buzz about Brandon Keith ever since he began working at the tackle position. Regardless of who wins the starting job between Bridges or Keith, there will be a learning curve involved while protecting QB Matt Leinart's blind side.

One player inparticular to keep an eye on is Hadnot. Hadnot has the ability to play both guard positions and center. While Lyle Sendlein has been serviceable anchoring the Cardinals' offensive line, Hadnot could overtake him at some point during the season. Even if that scenario doesn't take place, Hadnot should prove to be an extremely valuable asset, given his ability to play multiple positions.


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Bullock Passes on Cards

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Saturday, 4:00 p.m.


Following the news of Gerald Hayes' back injury earlier this week, Arizona began its scramble for a replacement. Although Paris Lenon, Monty Beisel and rookie Daryl Washington are already on the roster, the Cardinals made a push to sign veteran linebacker Keith Bullock.

Bullock, entering his 11th season in the NFL, spent his entire career with the Tennessee Titans prior to agreeing to terms with the New York Giants. Bullock is a New York native and as soon as the Giants inquired about his services there was little chance he'd end up in Arizona.

With Bullock off the market, there are limited options available if Hayes ends up missing an extended period of time. That scenario could leave the Cardinals in an inopportune spot as Washington needs time to bulk up while Lenon and Beisel would likely be considered top backups on most NFL teams.


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Hayes' Back Injury Threatens Cardinals' Defense

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, 7:00 a.m.


After breaking down the depth chart on defense earlier this week, the one glaring weakness just got worse. Arizona's depth at linebacker, particularly inside, is extremely limited and the news of Gerald Hayes missing the start of training camp is a major concern.

If Hayes does indeed miss extended playing time, rookie Daryl Washington or second-year LB Reggie Walker will most likely be next in line to step in. Washington has tremendous potential in the 3-4 defense, but is somewhat undersized as he begins his career in the NFL. Meanwhile, Walker has looked good in limited action but has seen little significant playing time.

The timing of Hayes' injury is somewhat puzzling and this will more than likely be a lingering issue throughout the year.


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Breaking Down the Depth Chart: Defense

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, 7:00 a.m.


With training camp rapidly approaching, there are a few areas of concern on the Cardinals' rosters, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. While the defensive line remains one of the team's biggest strengths, major question marks reside at both the linebacker and cornerback positions.

Linebacker

LOLB: Clark Haggans / Cody Brown
LILB: Gerald Hayes / Daryl Washington
RILB: Paris Lenon / Monty Beisel
ROLB: Joey Porter / O'Brien Schofield

On the outside, Joey Porter and Clark Haggans should be a formidable tandem with Cody Brown returning from injury in his second season. The real questions are in the middle, where Paris Lenon or Monty Beisel are competing for a starting spot.

For the better part of his career, Beisel has been a career backup and his abilities don't match that of a normal starting inside linebacker at the NFL level. Meanwhile, Lenon is a journeyman who has displayed talent in the past never found a long-term home along the way.

Cornerback

LCB: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie / Trumaine McBride
RCB: Greg Toler / Michael Adams

The big story here is whether or not second-year corner Greg Toler is ready to compete at a starting level. Toler was a raw skilled, small-school prospect in the college ranks and will be tasked with guarding the NFL's elite throughout the season. Behind Toler, Michael Adams is currently slotted as the nickel back but there is virtually no experience from that point on the depth chart.

On the other side, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has Pro Bowl ability but is coming off a serious injury in 2009. If Rodgers-Cromartie shows any lingering effects it could spell disaster for an already short-handed secondary that has allowed over 220 yards per game in each of the past three seasons.


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Roberts Next in Line to Sign Four-year Deal

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, 3:30 p.m.


The Cardinals rookie signing parade continued on Thursday as third-round pick WR Andre Roberts is the latest to agree to terms with the team. Exact terms of the contract have not been released but the four-year deal is expected to be worth $2.5 million, including a signing bonus of just under $725,000.

Roberts was arguably the most contested draft pick for Arizona as the team still boasts an excellent receiving corps even with the departure of Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin. However, the loss of Boldin will leave a huge void on the Cardinals' offense and Roberts will be counted on to help pick up the slack.

In addition to his duties on offense, Roberts will likely spend time on special teams in the return game. Roberts racked up several records during his career at The Citadel including punt return yards (1,160).

For the first time this season, Arizona failed to sign its draft picks in chronological order. Roberts jumped fourth-round pick O'Brien Schofield in the pecking order but a Schofield signing should be coming soon.


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Skelton Signed to Four-year Deal

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.


Following the signings of Jim Dray and Jorrick Calvin, QB John Skelton is the next Cardinals rookie to agree to terms with the team. The four-year deal is reportedly worth just under $2 million.

Skelton is the latest in a string of small-school quarterbacks that have been highly regarded by many NFL teams. Arizona parted ways with former starting CB Bryant McFadden in order to trade up and secure the services of Skelton in Round 5.

Currently sitting behind Matt Leinart and Derek Anderson on the depth cart, Skelton will have plenty of time to learn the offense. First he'll have to beat out fellow rookie Max Hall for the third spot but Skelton will be a massive favorite given the Cardinals hefty investment in the former Fordham standout.


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Whisenhunt's Ties to Pittsburgh Continue

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 6:45 a.m.


Since arriving in the desert courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Ken Whisenhunt has instilled the same principles that helped bring him success in the Steel City. While Whisenhunt's ties to Pittsburgh continue, the Steelers took note of Arizona's example when extending the contract of coach Mike Tomlin

Whisehunt and Tomlin are two of the brightest young coaches in the NFL and their recent success confirms their status among the league's elite. Whisenhunt was first to receive a contract extension earlier this offseason and Tomlin wasn't far behind. Pittsburgh came to terms with Tomlin on a three-year extension that is expected to pay him in excess of $5 million per season, similar to the deal Whisenhunt received.

The comparisons don't stop there as both Whisenhunt and Tomlin have similar records during their relatively short head coaching careers. Tomlin has accumulated a record of 31-17 while Whisenhunt's managed a 27-21 record. Given the state of the Cardinals prior to Whisenhunt's arrival, his ability to revitalize the franchise could be considered more impressive than Tomlin's accomplishments.

The two squared off in Super Bowl XLIII, with Tomlin and the Steelers prevailing in the final seconds. If their performance up to this point is an indication of things to come, it may not be last time Arizona and Pittsburgh square off in the Super Bowl.


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Rookie Signings Continue

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Saturday, 10:45 a.m.


General manager Rod Graves and the Cardinals' front office are hard at work signing this year's rookie class. Stay up-to-date on all the recent happenings by clicking on the links below

Jorrick Calvin Signs

Jim Dray Signs


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Early Odds to Win NFC, Super Bowl

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Friday, 6:55 a.m.


Coming off two straight playoff appearances including a Super Bowl berth in the 2008 season, the Cardinals are expected to take a step back this year. Those lowered expectations are also being reflected in Las Vegas. Arizona is currently 25/1 to win the NFC and 50/1 to win the Super Bowl, both ranking near the bottom.

ODDS TO WIN THE 2010-2011 NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

Dallas 4/1
New Orleans 4/1
Green Bay 9/2
Minnesota 6/1
N.Y. Giants 15/2
Atlanta 10/1
Philadelphia 14/1
Washington 14/1
Chicago 15/1
San Francisco 20/1
Arizona 25/1
Carolina 30/1
Seattle 30/1
Detroit 40/1
Tampa Bay 50/1
St. Louis 75/1

ODDS TO WIN SUPER BOWL XLV

Indianapolis 13/2
Dallas 8/1
New Orleans 8/1
San Diego 17/2
New England 9/1
Green Bay 19/2
Minnesota 11/1
N.Y. Jets 12/1
Baltimore 14/1
N.Y. Giants 15/1
Pittsburgh 20/1
Atlanta 22/1
Cincinnati 25/1
Tennessee 25/1
Washington 28/1
Philadelphia 30/1
Chicago 30/1
Miami 30/1
Houston 30/1
San Francisco 40/1
Seattle 50/1
Denver 50/1
Jacksonville 50/1
Carolina 50/1
Arizona 50/1
Cleveland 80/1
Kansas City 100/1
Detroit 100/1
Oakland 100/1
Tampa Bay 100/1
Buffalo 120/1
St. Louis 150/1


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Seventh-round pick TE Jim Dray signs

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, 11:55 a.m.


The Cardinals agreed to terms with their first 2010 draft pick after signing TE Jim Dray to a four-year deal. Details of the contract have not been released but the deal is worth $1.84 million over the length of the term.

Dray, selected with the 233rd overall pick, played in the collegiate ranks at Stanford. He was regarded one of the best tight ends in the Pac-10 before experiencing a serious knee injury during the 2007 season. Dray has overcome the injury and is thought to be one of the best blocking tight ends in this year's draft.


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Dockett to Appear as Guest Host on NFL Live

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Thursday, 7:00 a.m.


Outspoken DT Darnell Dockett will appear as a guest host on ESPN's NFL Live on Friday. In addition to NFL Live, Dockett will be making his way around the ESPN campus. Dockett will also appear on First Take, First and Ten as well as ESPNEWS and SportsCenter.

Given Dockett's outstanding repertoire of quotes and tweets, he should have plenty to say in front of a national audience. The most entertaining portion could come when he debates ESPN's Skip Bayless during First Take and First and Ten.


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Fitzgerald's WR Camp a Success

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Wednesday, 6:30 a.m.


Larry Fitzgerald's annual wide receiving camp in Minnesota attracts some of the biggest names at the position. Jerry Rice, Cris Carter and Randy Moss are just a few that have stopped by over the years

So far this year, Green Bay Packers TE Jermichael Finley and Seattle Seahawks WR Golden Tate have attended and benefited from guest appearances from future and current Hall of Famers such as Michael Irvin.

Fitzgerald's camp continues over the next few weeks leading up to training camp with the attendees changing each week.


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Dockett's Latest Tweet

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Monday, 7:55 p.m.


Is there some tension building between Darnell Dockett and Kerry Rhodes?

A tweet from Dockett earlier today: @kerryrhodes u taking all these trips & ****! I hope u getting ready to play some FOOTBALL cuz antrell rolle would be ready.

Rhodes has been present during all offseason activities since arriving in the desert so the comments seem to be off base. More than likely just a case of Dockett being Dockett.


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