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Blogs

Fanvision option at stadium

Posted by Darren Urban on September 26, 2010 – 1:37 pm

The Cardinals are one of 12 NFL teams offering a Fanvision these days — a small portable video device that allows a person to have multiple benefits, including watching live out-of-market games, listening to the Cards’ radio broadcast while watching the game, the NFL Red Zone channel, multiple replay angles (including some not available elsewhere), on-demand Cardinals content (like “Maximum Cardinals” and “The Ken Whisenhunt Show”) and real-time stats. You can even plug your fantasy team into the device and have a channel dedicated to your team’s real-time stats.

“Our emphasis is to make University of Phoenix Stadium the most fan-friendly stadium in the NFL,” team president Michael Bidwill said in a pre-game press briefing. “Fans want more interaction with the game.”

It goes even deeper than that, too. It’s about a sense of survival as well. Fanvision spokesman Carl Peterson — a former general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs — noted that with such technological advances like HDTV and multiple replays, some fans would rather stay home than come to games. This way, they can get a live game to attend and still have replays and key stats.

“We think this will enhance the experience (in the stadium),” Peterson said.

The device can be purchased for $199 for the first few weeks of the season (the price will eventually be $259) and be free to use this season. In 2011, there will be a per-game charge of $5 to use. For more info, go to FanVision.com.


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Watson still inactive

Posted by Darren Urban on September 26, 2010 – 11:48 am

Nose tackle Gabe Watson remains on the inactive list this week for the Raiders game. RB Beanie Wells is playing, as is WR Steve Breaston. The rest of the inactive list:

  • QB John Skelton
  • CB A.J. Jefferson
  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Brandon McDonald
  • C Ben Claxton
  • WR Early Doucet (hernia surgery)
  • LB Alex Hall
  • NT Gabe Watson

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Friday before the Raiders

Posted by Darren Urban on September 24, 2010 – 4:30 pm

A sampling of three comments from my blog:

“I’m a (season-ticket holder) and this is it. I’m not going to suffer through this anymore. This team’s inconsistency and inability to show up for the big game is unacceptable.”

“My heart was broken with this game. I even took down my Cardinal flag. Maybe the question should be asked is ‘Was last year a fluke?’ ”

“One thing I do agree on from many posts is the ‘Ho hum’ attitude from Coach Whiz and the players after an embarrassment like this. I know Coach Whiz is a pretty even tempered person but I didn’t see him take any accountability himself for it.”

The talk of frustration, certainly.

But it wasn’t from this week.

It’s from after the Colts game last season, a disastrous blowout loss. The season turned out OK, right?

Look, I’m not trying to say this team is as good as last season. We can guess if it is or isn’t, but reality says it’s hard to know for sure two games in. You ask my opinion, and, given that it is the home opener and that the Raiders are far from an established opponent, I believe this is almost a must-win – especially given a trip to San Diego and a visit from the Saints up next. But I also thought the Cards would clobber the Panthers last year and lose at least one of the six road games they ended up winning.

Coaches don’t know exactly who and what their teams are after two games. No one does.

On to the Raiders:

– What’s more important this week? Derek Anderson’s showing? Or the defense? I vote the defense, because I agree with safety Adrian Wilson – this team is going to have to be about defense first. They don’t have to be the 2000 Ravens or anything, but they have to be stout, they have to keep this team in games knowing the offense probably isn’t scoring 25 points a game and they have to make a impact play or two (preferably in the turnover category).

– That said, Anderson needs to click more often. Everyone knows that, including Anderson. If the Raiders blanket Larry Fitzgerald with Nnamdi Asomugha – which is possible – fine. Let Steve Breaston rip them up. Breaston is capable.

– What will Beanie Wells bring? He’s not going to out-carry Tim Hightower. Not this week. Limited again Friday, Beanie hasn’t practiced fully since he got hurt in the final preseason game Sept. 2 (and subsequently had surgery to repair a meniscus tear). Coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged this week Beanie isn’t in football shape. Yet Beanie is a threat and a nice compliment to Hightower. If this game stays close, riding the running backs a little more might help Anderson too.

– The Cards are 5 for 21 on third-down conversions this season. That absolutely must improve, although I am pretty sure that message has been delivered multiple times.

– Not sure who gets the call as punt returner. It may be rookie Andre Roberts’ turn, now that Max Komar had first-game issues and Breaston is already nursing that sore knee. Roberts has had trouble consistently catching passes this first year, and that can’t happen as a punt returner. Breaston, on “learning” how to catch punts: “You don’t want to say any person can catch them,” Breaston said. “It’s all about that pressure coming down on you. Any given time, someone could release a block and knock you on your butt. It’s like going across the middle every play – are you going to focus on that ball? Or are you going to focus on that safety?”

As receivers, both Roberts and Komar can understand such an analogy. The question is, can they make it work?

What a week. Started with disappointment in Atlanta, ended with a small Russian woman and Fitzgerald dancing after practice. Not exactly a sequence I had been expecting. Now we’ll wait to see how Sunday plays out.


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Warner returns — as a dancer

Posted by Darren Urban on September 24, 2010 – 3:23 pm

Remember how I said Kurt Warner wasn’t walking through that door?

Guess I was wrong.

Not totally wrong. Warner returned to the Tempe facility and practice Friday not to play football but to tape some content with his “Dancing With The Stars” partner Anna Trebunskaya. So they discussed football and watched a little practice and took a tour of the locker room and weight room (It’ll be featured on the part of the show Monday when the episode airs the taped piece about the duo’s week just before they dance). Warner said hello to a bunch of teammates as they came off the field and then watched as Trebunskaya tried to teach Larry Fitzgerald some dance moves.

(Fitzgerald, by the way, said he had been invited to be on the show in the spring following the Cards’ Super Bowl appearance. He told them no. “I just didn’t want my teammates to think I wasn’t committed to the cause,” Fitzgerald said. When I followed up by asking if he’d be on the show if he wasn’t playing, Fitz chuckled. “I didn’t say that,” he said. “I didn’t say that, either.”)

Funniest part? When Warner was taking Trebunskaya through the locker room, he showed her Adrian Wilson’s locker. Her response? “Is that the guy who jumps?” They’ve apparently been watching youtube.

They both took a second to talk a little bit on camera. Trebunskaya spoke about coming back to Warner’s home turf, and the vibe she got when he showed up. “I kind of felt we were going to come back and people were going to ask his advice and say, ‘Hey come back,’ ” she said.

No one said that specifically, she added, but “I kind of saw it in a few peoples’ faces. They didn’t say it, but that longing, ‘I wish you were the one throwing the ball.’ ”

That brought a smile to Warner’s face, who acknowledged that part of it had made the decision to retire difficult. Coming back to the field “made me want to get out there a little bit,” he said.

“When you make the decision, you have both sides of the coin,” Warner said. “You have to do what is best for you and your family and your future, but at the same time you understand the responsibility to your teammates and your organization because of what you’ve built.

“That’s one of the hardest parts, especially after coming out of the blocks and the changes and (seeing) the struggles early, you feel a little responsibility. But the one thing I always fall back on in making the decision is you feel we built this thing up and when I left, it was in a great position to continue to succeed.”

Interestingly, one of the most difficult things Warner is having with the show? Hearing the music while he is dancing. After spending so many years tuning out the crowd noise on the field – he, like many players, blank it out when playing – he finds himself doing the same to the music. That doesn’t work well when your rhythm must line up to that music.

One of his strengths as a dancer? “He’s a pretty good leader,” Trebunskaya said. Warner a good leader? Who would’ve thunk it?




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Beanie’s scope and other Friday notes

Posted by Darren Urban on September 24, 2010 – 12:52 pm

Running back Beanie Wells did have minor arthroscopic knee surgery after he was hurt Sept. 2 in the preseason finale, coach Ken Whisenhunt acknowledged Friday, but it was never anything serious, the coach insisted.

“He cleaned it out, but it wasn’t like a normal procedure where you are down ‘X’ amount of weeks,” Whisenhunt said. “It was a day-to-day thing. It was something he had done in college and he played a week later.

“It was definitely something we wanted to check out, but it was never anything we thought was serious where it would keep him from playing on a week-to-week basis.”

Beanie told Kent Somers it was a torn meniscus. That explains Beanie’s will-he-or-won’t-he status of the past couple weeks, and why the Cards kept waiting to make sure swelling wasn’t a long-term issue. Wells will play Sunday barring something crazy, even though Whisenhunt shook his head when asked if he was 100 percent sure Beanie will play. “It’s a good chance,” Whisenhunt said. “Nothing is for sure yet. Anything can happen.”

– Beanie’s return allows the Cards to put LaRod Stephens-Howling back on special teams coverage. The Hyphen has not been able to play there in the first two games because the Cards couldn’t risk another running back injury. Having LSH back on special teams should be a huge boost in the coverage game. He was Pro Bowl-caliber last season.

– LB Gerald Hayes (back) can’t practice with the team until six weeks are up, according to PUP rules. That means it’s impossible to know if Hayes is truly ready to go yet. Whisenhunt said he is progressing well, but until Hayes can actually do football work, his future remains up in the air.

– Three Cardinals were fined after the game in Atlanta. S Kerry Rhodes was hit for $2,500 for contact with an official. S Adrian Wilson and NT Bryan Robinson each were fined $5,000; Wilson for a blow to the head and Robinson for a major facemask.

– Finally, Kurt Warner was back at practice Friday … to shoot some footage for “Dancing With The Stars.” I’ll have more on this in a bit. It was funny to watch Warner and his partner, Anna Trebunskaya, give some lessons to Larry Fitzgerald. Warner also was reunited with teammates like Wilson, who talked with Kurt and Anna for possible inclusion to next week’s show.



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Fitz: Kurt has moved on

Posted by Darren Urban on September 23, 2010 – 9:39 pm

It’s not exactly “Larry Bird is not walking through that door.”

But Larry Fitzgerald understands (as should everyone, frankly) Kurt Warner is a future Hall of Famer who isn’t playing football anymore. And obviously, it affected the Cards.

“When you have a Hall of Fame player, I don’t care if it is a quarterback, if it is a tackle, a linebacker, I don’t care where, if he’s a Hall of Fame talent (losing him) is going to be a difference,” Fitzgerald said. “It happened to be a Hall of Fame quarterback.”

But Fitz — who was close to Warner and remains so — knows Warner has moved on and so too have the Cards.

“He decided to move on with his life and pursue some other goals of his, and who are we to question what he wants to do as a man?” Fitzgerald said. “We love him and respect him, but we know this game is bigger than one person. We have to continue to go on and try and do the best we can and we want to see him do the best he can as well.”

I assume Fitz means at everything in life, and not just on “Dancing With The Stars.”



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Beanie’s potential workload and the defense’s meeting

Posted by Darren Urban on September 23, 2010 – 2:03 pm

RB Beanie Wells (knee) did a little more at practice today, and if he comes in Friday and “everything is good,” coach Ken Whisenhunt thinks he’ll be able to play Sunday. What that means is a different story.

“We will get a feel for it as it goes,” Whisenhunt said. “If he gets a hot hand, like he has shown before, we will give some work. But he’s not in football shape, so to think he’ll get 25 or 30 carries, that’s not going to happen. He’ll get enough, and if it’s the right situation, we will see where he is.”

Whisenhunt still has left the door open pretty wide. Beanie didn’t get even 20 carries in a game all last season, so he’s probably not going to approach 30 anytime soon, not with Tim Hightower in the backfield and the Cards committed to using multiple backs.

– The defensive players-only meeting Wednesday was also a topic. Linebacker Joey Porter called it, and basically, the defense reiterated to itself a game like Sunday in Atlanta can’t happen again.

“I have been around a number of teams that it has happened,” Whisenhunt said. “If you have the right people doing it and get the right things out of it, it’s a good thing.”

Whisenhunt recalled a year he was playing for the Redskins when they had players’ only meetings every Saturday night. “It became kind of like a ritual for us,” he said. “Hopefully we will see good results from (this one) Sunday.”

– The game against the Raiders is a sellout and won’t be blacked out, meaning it will be televised locally on CBS (Ch. 5).

– The Cardinals re-signed LB Cyril Obiozor to the practice squad Thursday.


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Ware, teammates, Twitter and free tickets

Posted by Darren Urban on September 23, 2010 – 9:07 am

In a quest to help some teammates elevate their Twitter followers — and, I suppose, his own list — safety Matt Ware is holding a Twitter contest this week. First, he wants to get as many people as he can to join Twitter pages of himself (@MattWare22), receivers Max Komar (@MDKomar22) and Stephen Williams (@SteveWill_14) and defensive backs Trumaine McBride (@TruMcBride) and Hamza Abdullah (@HamzaAbdullah21).

Then Friday, Ware will post a trivia question on Twitter, with the first to send the right answer receiving two free tickets to Sunday’s game against Oakland. Seems simple enough.

Oh, and if you are on Twitter and you’re not following me (@cardschatter), I mean, really?


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Beanie, Cards get back to work

Posted by Darren Urban on September 22, 2010 – 2:07 pm

The Cards got back to work for the first practice of the week and running back Beanie Wells (knee) was out there and on schedule to return against the Raiders. “It was terrible (sitting out),” Wells said. “I wanted to be out there with the guys. Seeing Tim last week (with 115 yards rushing) gave me extra motivation.”

The Cards should be fairly healthy. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald won’t call himself 100 percent but is feeling much better. Wide receiver Steve Breaston was limited after banging his knee in the game, but it was precautionary and he will be ready Sunday.

Otherwise, a quiet workout — about what you’d expect as a team settles into the grind of the season. The main news comes from the other team, where reports have the Raiders going with Bruce Gradkowski over Jason Campbell as quarterback.


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A little of this, little of that

Posted by Darren Urban on September 22, 2010 – 10:07 am

Stuff I wanted to touch on:

– Kent Somers has a good breakdown on the Cards’ QB situation and how the Cards got here. Couldn’t have reconstructed the timeline any better myself. You can argue the decisions — and we all know many of you already have with me — but this is how it happened.

– On his conference call this morning, Raiders coach Tom Cable wouldn’t say who his starting QB will be Sunday against the Cards. He didn’t even want to talk about quarterback changes in general.

– If you haven’t had a chance, part two of the Adrian Wilson video has been posted about Wilson and his legacy. (And part one is here, if you haven’t seen it).

– Because of the break in temperatures, practice for the week will be at the team facility rather than any at ASU’s practice bubble.

– If you are looking for a way to interact with the Cardinals’ coaches and players — and bowl a little too — you can attend the Kingpin Challenge Oct. 12, with all proceeds going to Cardinals Charities. For details, click here.


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