This year’s Super Bowl is going to be at University of Phoenix Stadium, in case you hadn’t heard. And in the days leading up to the game, there will be a multitude of NFL busy-ness going on in downtown Phoenix, including the NFL Experience — essentially the league’s football theme park. For those interested, there is a map below of how it will unfold early in 2015. Click on the picture for a full-size version.
– A good story by Kyle Odegard about new strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris and his philosophy resides on the homepage. One thing that struck me was this Morris quote: “From my perspective, we can do all this stuff to improve their physical performance – bigger, stronger, faster, blah, blah, blah – but the bottom line is, can we keep them from injuries so they can play every weekend? That’s where my payoff is.” That’s obviously important for every strength coach, but rarely do you hear it communicated as so much more important than the other stuff.
– The addition of Roger Kingdom as a speed coach is also intriguing. I, like some have said to me, am curious on how it will impact guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd — neither of whom are slow by any means, but are not known for their speed.
– Other than the Mike Jenkins visit, it’s quiet on the Cardinals’ free agency front. Players are hoping they will still drum up the contracts they want, teams like the Cards figure it’s moving to a buyer’s market. We will see if anything comes about by the end of the week, before GM Steve Keim heads to the owners meetings next week.
– Cornerback/kickoff return man Javier Arenas, who didn’t figure to come back, agreed to a one-year deal with the Falcons. The Panthers reportedly have interest in the Cards’ other veteran free-agent cornerback, Antoine Cason.
– Big congrats to media relations coordinator/king of great notes Mike Helm, who, along with wife Marika became a parent this morning to new son Landon David Helm.
Tags: Antoine Cason, Buddy Morris, Javier Arenas, Mike Helm, Mike Jenkins, Roger Kingdom, Super Bowl
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As I was driving to work this morning, it occurred to me that there can’t be too many times when a team undergoes the kind of score swing from one week to the next that the Cardinals had these past two weeks. After losing in Seattle, 58-0, they beat the Lions, 38-10. That’s a swing margin of 86 points. So, with a hat tip to media relations stats guru Mike Helm, Elias was able to confirm that it was the biggest swing from week to week since 1968.
That year, the Lions opened the season with a 59-13 loss in Dallas and then followed up with a 42-0 home win over the Bears — a swing of 88 points. From blown out to blowout. The first part of that isn’t ideal, but better than back-to-back losses. (It actually happens more than I thought. The Giants blew out the Saints, 52-27, last week and then lost, 34-0, to the Falcons this week. Not in the same points ballpark, but the same concept.)
– Speaking of media relations mavens, VP Mark Dalton noted the last time safety Rashad Johnson scored a touchdown before Sunday was when he returned an interception for a 54-yard score while playing for Alabama Nov. 8, 2008 in a win at LSU. You know who also had a pick-6 in that game? LSU freshman Patrick Peterson. Too bad Peterson could complete the circle of life when he stumbled at the end of his interception return Sunday.
– Punter Dave Zastudil has 38 punts downed inside the 20-yard line with two games to go. He is on pace to eclipse the NFL record of 42, held by three players, including the Cards’ Ben Graham in 2009. Zastudil has been fantastic this season. Of course, he isn’t even leading the league, since Kansas City’s Dustin Colquitt already has 41 downed inside the 20. It’s a race to the finish!
– The 25.5 sacks of defensive end Calais Campbell in his career already puts him in the top 10 in franchise history. I don’t know if he’s ever going to reach the top — Freddie Joe Nunn’s 66 is a long way away, especially for a 3-4 end — but if he stays consistent there is no reason to think Campbell doesn’t at least double his total over the next three seasons.
– The Cards flip-flopped their Saturday roster move, releasing defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin — they must expect Dan Williams and/or Ronald Talley back this week — and re-signing guard/center Mike Gibson.
Tags: Ben Graham, Calais Campbell, Dave Zastudil, Dustin Colquitt, Mark Dalton, Mike Gibson, Mike Helm, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Ricky Lumpkin
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Remember the eerie coincidences between the assassinations of President Lincoln and President Kennedy? Yeah, pretty much not true or not so eerie.
You want eerie coincidences, you go to the Cardinals, which, by coincidence, have two people nicknamed Whiz: Head coach Ken Whisenhunt and media relations coordinator Mike Helm (You know why Whiz is Whiz; Helm became Whiz during the Denny Green administration because he was the guy holding up, in poor weather, the backdrop outside behind Green during press conference. The man behind the curtain. Wizard of Oz. Get it?)
Anyway, Little Whiz, as we now refer to Helm, is in charge of the postgame factoids, and he came up with some doozies comparing the doppelganger overtime 19-13 wins over the past two home games, beyond just the final score or the extra time needed, or that the winning TDs and subsequent celebrations ended up in the same corner of the south end zone after a play going right in front of the Cards’ bench.
In both the Nov. 6 win over the Rams and the Dec. 4 win over the Cowboys:
- The Cardinals scored three points in the first quarter, zero points in the second quarter, three points in the third quarter, seven points in the fourth quarter and six points in overtime
- The Cardinals trailed 13-6 entering the fourth quarter.
- Both the Rams and the Cowboys had chances to win the game with field goals at the end of regulation. Against the Rams, kicker Josh Brown’s 42-yard field-goal attempt was blocked. Sunday against Dallas, kicker Dan Bailey missed wide left on a 49-yard attempt
- Both games ended on touchdowns of more than 50 yards the first time the Cardinals had possession of the ball
- The Cardinals had exactly 16 first downs — five rushing, 10 passing and one by penalty.
- The two games are the only ones this season in which the Cardinals committed no turnovers.
- Of the nine OT games in the NFL this season, the two 19-13 victories by the Cardinals are the only ones that were decided by touchdowns. The seven others were all decided by field goals.
Snopes.com can’t touch this.
Tags: Cowboys, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike Helm, Rams
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Couple of quick things on this Tuesday morning.
One, the 2010 media guide has been published and has been updated on the site, if you are into that sort of thing. Stellar work once again by the media relations staff headed by VP Mark Dalton, along with Chris Melvin, Mike Helm and Nate LoCascio.
Speaking of Melvin, who is king of the game program, he asked me to pass along this note. Fans looking to get their picture in Kickoff Magazine — the official game program — have that chance. Just send in your best photo of yourself, or family, or friends (or everyone) wearing their favorite Cardinals’ gear. It can be in your home, or tailgating before a game, or wherever. If there is a good shot of you sporting a Fitz jersey in Rome, what the heck. If your picture is selected, you will be featured in a regular season Kickoff Magazine. Submit the picture, your name and the town you live in (and don’t forget those details) to email@example.com. Fan photos will be selected based on size and photo quality.
Tags: Chris Melvin, Mark Dalton, media guide, Mike Helm, Nate LoCascio
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