Campbell debuts on top 100 list

Posted by Darren Urban on May 6, 2015 – 8:53 pm

The NFL Network’s annual top 100 players list began to be revealed tonight, and the first 10 players included a Cardinal: Defensive end Calais Campbell.

It’s the first time Campbell has made the list (last year, Daryl Washington was named, as was Larry Fitzgerald and finally, Patrick Peterson.) There is little question the last year or two Campbell had a serious argument that he should have been in when he wasn’t. As for this year, Campbell clearly has mixed feelings.

“It’s a cool list to be on but I don’t feel they really get enough people to vote on it so I don’t know how accurate it is,” Campbell said. “But it is cool interacting with the fans and putting it on NFL Network and everyone likes to watch it. I just wish they did a better job getting more votes. Still it’s cool to be on the list and even if you are not it’s cool to watch it and see the other guys and see what people think of other players.”

It’s hard to argue the point about accuracy — as good as Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is, can he really be considered better than Campbell? (Campbell was 99th on the list, Vinatieri is 98th.)

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Peterson at 22 in Top 100 list

Posted by Darren Urban on June 26, 2014 – 8:31 am

The Cardinals have their third and (likely) final player in the NFL Network’s Top 100 of 2014 after Wednesday night’s unveiling of cornerback Patrick Peterson at No. 22 on the list. He follows linebacker Daryl Washington at 96 and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald at 38.

Peterson has made a steady climb. He was 55th in 2012 after his rookie season, 33rd last year and now 22. In the constant chatter of who is better, Peterson will end up lower ranked than Seattle’s Richard Sherman, who has yet to be picked (but is certain to fall in the top 20 after his 2014 season.) But he is ahead of Darrelle Revis (37) and Joe Haden (39). Whatever and however people might want to pick at him this offseason, clearly many of his peers feel he’s pretty good. That’s clear in the video.

With everything that’s been said about Peterson this offseason, it will be interesting to watch how he plays this season – and whether Peterson can climb higher on the list next June.

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Fitz still impresses peers for Top 100 spot

Posted by Darren Urban on June 18, 2014 – 10:15 pm

For the same reason Larry Fitzgerald keeps making the Pro Bowl — vast respect from his peers — is the same reason the Cardinals receiver again got into the top 40 of NFL players even though his numbers have been down the last couple of years. The NFL Network is again doing their “Top 100” countdown over the summer, and Fitzgerald clocked in at No. 38 Wednesday night. He’s the second Cardinal to make this year’s list (we won’t talk about who else has already been named.)

Fitzgerald has been falling over the years. In 2012, he was seventh. Last year. he was 22nd. (He was 14th on the initial list in 2011.) There are some high-profile receivers that are behind Fitzgerald on the list, although despite his “low” yardage total of 954 this past season (still much better than 2012’s 798) he did have 10 touchdowns and as you can see on the video, opponents still worry about him. We’ll see if Fitz can find a way to climb up again after this season, with a second year in Bruce Arians’ offense.

The Top 100 list has now reached the top 30. Patrick Peterson should make it in at some point — I’m not sure he tops Richard Sherman again this year, but it’ll be interesting wherever he ends up.

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CBS gets into “Thursday Night Football”

Posted by Darren Urban on February 5, 2014 – 10:56 am

The NFL had been shopping part of its “Thursday Night Football” package — perhaps you have heard how valuable the NFL is on TV — and now comes the news CBS was the network that has become the TNF partner. CBS will televise eight Thursday games in the first part of the NFL season, games that will also be simulcast on the NFL Network. The NFL Network will then take the final six Thursday games, plus a pair of late-season Saturday games. But all 16 games will be produced by CBS, and every Thursday game will be broadcast with the top announcing team for CBS, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. The pregame, halftime and postgame analysis will be done with a mix of NFL Network and CBS Sports announcers.

The package is for the 2014 only, although the NFL has an option to renew for the 2015 season.

Teams were already playing on Thursday nights, so this doesn’t impact the product on the field compared to the last couple of years. As usual, every team will end up playing one of the dates.




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Mac’s last speech

Posted by Darren Urban on October 24, 2013 – 5:19 pm

It was the last day of the 2003 season, and the Cardinals shocked the NFL — and certainly, the Vikings — when they rallied from an 11-point deficit with less than two minutes to go by winning on a Hail Mary TD pass from Josh McCown to Nate Poole. I was thinking about it again now that McCown, after his long roller-coaster ride of an NFL career, is starting for the Bears after Jay Cutler’s groin injury.

Back in 2003, though, McCown was getting a shot at what everyone knew was the end of the Dave McGinnis coaching tenure. McCown not only survived, he impressed new coach Denny Green enough to be the quarterback choice the next year over some impressive potential draft picks (and notably allowing the Cards to pick Larry Fitzgerald.) As it was, McCown made sure the Cards didn’t get (cost them?) the No. 1 overall pick and Eli Manning when he crushed the Vikings’ hopes and dreams in 2003 with his Poole pass.

(You can see the end of the game right here. Be sure to notice my radio broadcast partner Damien Anderson, who recovers the onside kick to even give the Cards a chance to make their game-winning drive.)

But I digress. The NFL Network, on its 10th anniversary, has made available to teams a handful of historical clips, and I happened to notice one in the system that I had never seen before. It was McGinnis’ locker room speech after that emotional Vikings win. I had never seen it before. Pretty powerful stuff. It was cool to step back in time, to see all those players I used to cover (Anderson sneaks into the Mac video too, just off to the left of the screen, as does current front office man Josh Scobey.) No one says it, but everyone knows it’s goodbye.

You’ve got my heart. You’ve got my heart.”

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Guessing what Card is up on NFL Net’s 100

Posted by Darren Urban on May 21, 2012 – 1:50 pm

For those who have NFL Network (and/or are following this at, you know that of their now annual top 100 list of current players (determined by a vote of the current players in the league) has now named players 61-100 with nary a mention of a Cardinal. That’s changing this week.

This week’s group of 10 will include a Cardinal (the show will air for the first time Wednesday at 5 p.m. Arizona time, 8 p.m. in the East.) Who it is I don’t know yet. I do know it is a player from the defense, although I would have bet my life savings it wouldn’t have been Larry Fitzgerald anyway — too low.  (Fitz was 14th last year.) I know the Card wasn’t on the inaugural top 100 list last year, which would rule out safety Adrian Wilson (who was No. 89 last year.)

That would seem to leave three legitimate candidates. Darnell Dockett is one, but since he didn’t even make the list last year when he had been more statistically productive, I’m not sure he’s jumping in the top 60. To me, defensive end Calais Campbell makes the most sense, with his impact both on defense and special teams and his arrow pointing up — but I’m not sure how much overall respect Campbell is getting yet around the league with his peers.

That leaves Patrick Peterson, and I can see it. He grabbed headlines — spectacularly — with his four punt returns for touchdowns last year, will get better as a cornerback and still made a few plays. Other players seem to like guys with the right pedigree, and Peterson qualifies there. He’s already high-profile.

We’ll see Wednesday afternoon.

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