It probably shouldn’t be a surprise, both with his play and most importantly, his fan base, that Tyrann Mathieu is rising up in the Pro Bowl balloting at free safety. Mathieu, who wasn’t even on the ballot the first few weeks voting was open, is now sixth at his position with 42,359 votes. Seattle’s Earl Thomas leads with 277,482 votes; no other free safety has reached 88,000. Mathieu remains one of five Cardinals among the top 10 at his position in this new year of “unconferenced” teams in the Pro Bowl. Fan balloting remains one-third of the final voting, with coaches and players counting for the other two-thirds. Once players make it, the teams will be “drafted” by former players who are serving as captains.
The other four Cardinals showing up on the voting list:
– DT Darnell Dockett is ninth (99,561 votes, trails first-place Dontari Poe of the Chiefs, who has 233,212.)
– ILB Karlos Dansby is ninth (79,050, Buffalo’s Kiko Alonso, 265,232)
– CB Patrick Peterson is third (253,688, Seattle’s Richard Sherman, 367,076)
– Special teamer Justin Bethel is eighth (35,775, Denver’s David Bruton, 95,841)
Voting concludes Dec. 26. If you want to vote, click here.
Tags: Darnell Dockett, Justin Bethel, Karlos Dansby, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl, Tyrann Mathieu
Posted in Blog | 8 Comments »
2014 Pro Bowl balloting is now open! For the first time, the Pro Bowl will be unconferenced. You vote for the best players regardless of conference. Then, the stars will be realigned through a fantasy draft format with Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders serving as alumni captains. Vote now for your favorite Cardinals at AZCardinals.com/probowl
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, NFL, Pro Bowl
Posted in Since1898 | No Comments »
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Cardinals, National Football League, NFL, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl
Posted in Since1898 | No Comments »
The Cardinals have the day off, so the NFL did us a favor and threw out a little news: The Pro Bowl is changing. The biggest news of these changes is that, instead of AFC-NFC, the Pro Bowlers will be picked and then “drafted” on to two separate teams. Could that mean Patrick Peterson covering Larry Fitzgerald in the Pro Bowl? Yes. Then again, we see this all the time in camp. (It’s been suggested this won’t work, that say Terrell Suggs can’t be asked to sack Joe Flacco, or Aldon Smith to Colin Kaepernick. Maybe. Seems like, in general, a good idea for a game looking for good ideas.)
There will be other changes too. From the NFL release:
- Game within the Game – A two-minute warning will be added to the first and third quarters and the ball will change hands after each quarter. This will increase the opportunities for quarterbacks to direct “two-minute drills,” which are especially exciting for fans.
- No Kickoffs – The coin toss will determine which team is awarded possession first. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line at the start of each quarter and after scoring plays.
- Rosters – The rosters will continue to consist of 43 players per squad. The kick return specialist will be replaced by an additional defensive back.
- Cover Two and Press Coverage – The defense will be permitted to play “cover two” and “press” coverage. In previous years, only “man” coverage was permitted, except for goal line situations.
- Stopping of the Game Clock – Beginning at the two-minute mark of every quarter, if the offense does not gain at least one yard, the clock will stop as if the play were an incomplete pass. This rule will make the team with the ball attempt to gain yardage toward the end of each quarter.
- Game Timing – The game clock will start after an incomplete pass on the signal of the referee, except inside the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.
- Play Clock – A 35-second/25-second play clock will be adopted instead of the typical 40-second/25-second clock.
- Sacks – The game clock will not stop on quarterback sacks outside of the final two minutes of the game. Currently, the game clock stops in these situations outside of two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.
We’ll see how it works.
– The Cardinals are off today. They resume meetings tonight and have practice outside at the team’s Tempe facility tomorrow. I’ll be curious to see how many of the injuries can be cleared up by then. (The team goes back to University of Phoenix Stadium Friday and Saturday, with Saturday being the Red-White practice.) Here’s the list of players who were still out yesterday: G Daryn Colledge (calf), WR Robert Gill (hamstring), TE Alex Gottlieb (hamstring), TE Jeff King (knee), TE Kory Sperry (ankle), RB Ryan Williams (knee), CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring), WR LaRon Byrd (concussion).
– With six days of camp and five practices in the books, it’s a good time to recap. So here’s the first mashup of camp. Truth be told, it’s very cool.
Tags: Alex Gottlieb, Daryn Colledge, Jamell Fleming, Jeff King, Kory Sperry, LaRon Byrd, Pro Bowl, Robert Gill, Ryan Williams, training camp
Posted in Blog | 18 Comments »
It wasn’t Larry Fitzgerald’s finest year in the NFL — not with 71 catches, 798 yards and four touchdowns, all well below his regular output — but his reputation around the league has always been good. So it wasn’t a shock to see that Fitzgerald was still an alternate for the Pro Bowl when those announcements came out at the end of the season. And, with the many players who end up missing the Pro Bowl, it wasn’t a shock to see Tuesday that Fitz will once again be a Pro Bowler, replacing Chicago’s Brandon Marshall. Marshall reportedly needs hip surgery, and he becomes the second Pro Bowl wideout to have to give up his spot because of health reasons (Detroit’s Calvin Johnson is the other.) Tampa’s Vincent Jackson replaced Johnson. The other NFC receivers are Atlanta’s Julio Jones and the Giants’ Victor Cruz.
It will be Fitzgerald’s seventh Pro Bowl in nine NFL seasons. He joins fellow Cardinals Patrick Peterson and Daryl Washington in Hawaii.
The berth will give Fitzgerald a chance to extend his NFL record of career touchdown receptions in the league’s all-star game. Fitzgerald already has seven TD catches. Last year, he had six catches for 111 yards and three scores.
Tags: Daryl Washington, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl
Posted in Blog | 37 Comments »
When the Pro Bowl teams were announced at the end of the regular season, linebacker Daryl Washington admittedly was disappointed he wasn’t chosen. Today, he ended up going to Hawaii anyway.
With the 49ers winning the NFC Championship and going to the Super Bowl, Washington officially was elevated to the Pro Bowl roster as a replacement for 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman. It was Bowman and fellow 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis with whom Washington battled all season as a potential Pro Bowler. Now, Washington gets his first shot in his third season.
Washington is the first Cardinals linebacker to make the Pro Bowl since Seth Joyner did it back in 1994. He’s the first Cards’ inside linebacker to get to the Pro Bowl since E.J. Junior in 1985. Washington had 140 tackles this season — 110 of them of the solo variety — with nine sacks, 14 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one interception, a fumble recovery and six passes defensed.
The Pro Bowl will be televised on NBC a week from today, at 5 p.m. Arizona time. Washington joins teammate Patrick Peterson as the lone Cardinals in the Pro Bowl.
Tags: Daryl Washington, Pro Bowl
Posted in Blog | 22 Comments »
Pro Bowl voting for fans is over and players and coaches will soon be doing their version for the teams that will be announced next week. I know there is a lot of speculation over how many Cardinals might be able to find their way to Hawaii. Profootballfocus.com named their Pro Bowl teams — not that it means anything with the actual roster — and included defensive end Calais Campbell and safety Kerry Rhodes.
Campbell impressed the PFF guys enough to remain even though he missed a couple of games. “(I)n spite of missing a long stretch of the season Calais Campbell’s impact for the Arizona Cardinals cannot be denied as he put up strong pass rush numbers (5 Sacks, 9 Hits and 17 Hurries) and also brought a greater presence as a run defender than he mustered in 2011.”
As for Rhodes, “Kerry Rhodes has re-discovered some of his best form as a coverage defender and all round safety after missing much of the 2011 season.”
Can’t argue with either one. As for the missing, well, there are arguments to be made. The PFF guys noted they left off linebacker Daryl Washington, who has been very, very good, but apparently not good enough (in PFF’s eyes) to beat out the 49ers duo of Patrick Willis or NaVarro Bowman. And I know a lot of people have wonders about Patrick Peterson. Peterson didn’t get a mention in a group of Seattle’s Richard Sherman, Chicago’s Charles Tillman and Green Bay’s Casey Hayward. Again, we will see who actually gets the call next week, and don’t forget there are always guys who beg off — meaning replacements will be named too as the weeks go.
UPDATE: PFF owner/founder Neil Hornsby saw my post and wanted to give his thoughts on Peterson: “He’s had a very good year and was highly graded and reasonably consistent but as with most things Pro Bowl-related it’s a numbers game. Only someone who doesn’t watch much football would argue against Tillman and Sherman so it comes down to one place. The choice of Hayward was tough because he’s only played nickel so we had to think long and hard especially putting him up against Tim Jennings, Tarrell Brown and Peterson.
“The truth is though, (Hayward) has been unworldly in his 633 snaps. In that time he has only one less interception and twice as many passes defensed as Peterson and quarterbacks have a 23.5 rating throwing at him. Those numbers are not a fluke and he’s one of the few people to live in the middle with Cruz for example. Peterson was our fifth man up, after Jennings but before Brown, but most significantly was much improved on last year and will almost certainly have his day.”
Tags: Calais Campbell, Casey Hayward, Charles Tillman, Daryl Washington, Kerry Rhodes, NaVarro Bowman, Patrick Peterson, Patrick Willis, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Focus, Richard Sherman
Posted in Blog | 22 Comments »
The initial Pro Bowl voting totals are out — voting runs through Dec. 17 — and three Cards appear in the top five at their positions in the NFC.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is fifth among NFC wideouts, with 105,743 votes. He trails the Giants’ Victor Cruz (257,016), the Bears’ Brandon Marshall (153,574), the Vikings’ Percy Harvin (144,978) and the Lions’ Calvin Johnson (118,454). That’s going to be a tough lineup to crack, especially if Fitz can’t make a strong second half statistical push.
Inside linebacker Daryl Washington (69,757) is second, trailing the 49ers’ Patrick Willis (91,609) and with only a slight lead on the 49ers’ NaVorro Bowman (67,024).
Meanwhile, Patrick Peterson is fourth among NFC cornerbacks (57,537 votes), trailing the Bears’ Tim Jennings (116,347), the Bears’ Charles Tillman (80,604) and the Rams’ Cortland Finnegan (73,201).
Fans can vote by clicking here. The Cards could help themselves by generating a few wins, too. The final Pro Bowl rosters are selected by giving one-third weight to the fan vote, the coaches’ vote and the players’ vote.
Tags: Daryl Washington, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl, Pro Bowl voting
Posted in Blog | 11 Comments »
Life isn’t all about the NFL draft the next few days. Turns out Mikhail Gorbachev — yes, the one-time leader of the Soviet Union and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize — is in town to speak at a fundraiser for the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He needs to get back to New York, where Cardinals president Michael Bidwill just happens to be headed Sunday for some NFL meetings, Bidwill said during an interview on Ch. 12 this morning while previewing the draft. Since Bidwill is also a pilot, he said he will be giving Gorbachev and his group a ride.
Of course, life is mostly about the draft in my part of the world. So we wait for the first pick coming in less than four hours. There’s been lots of talk about potential trades. Nothing yet though.
– Reportedly the Vikings have CB Morris Claiborne as the No. 1 player on their board. Goodness, I hope that’s because Luck and Griffin are already locks to go elsewhere.
– It sure seems like there could be a trade possibility when the Cards are on the clock. A lot can happen between then and now. Options could be there, though.
– I know this is the last place where you’re thinking “Pro Bowl,” but the league is reportedly thinking about suspending the Pro Bowl. Clearly, that game has gotten worse the last couple of years. It did bring up this interesting tweet from Dominique Foxworth, president of the NFLPA: “The Pro Bowl is an important tradition we are in talks with the league to improve and preserve the game for our players and fans.” It definitely needs improving to give it a reason to go on.
– Finally, for ongoing, interactive draft chat, feel free to follow me and ask questions on Twitter, @cardschatter. I’ll respond as much as I can as we go through the afternoon and evening.
Tags: Michael Bidwill, Morris Claiborne, Pro Bowl, Vikings
Posted in Blog | 16 Comments »
The guys at ProFootballFocus.com watch all the games every week and grade and break down all the players. So it makes sense they would have a big-picture view of those worthy for the Pro Bowl and today, site founder Neil Hornsby put together a list of who he feels should make the Pro Bowl thus far, based on the totality of the work.
The Cards may be 4-7, but Hornsby put three Cards on the NFC squad, all as starters: Patrick Peterson as a return man, Larry Fitzgerald as a wide receiver and, wait for it … Adrian Wilson at safety.
It’s been a quiet year for A-Dub since the regular season started, in more ways than one. He was playing with his biceps injury, and he had a big red-zone interception the second game against Washington. He, like the entire defense, took some time to find a comfort zone in Ray Horton’s new scheme, and the communications issues in the secondary — along with the oft-painful growing pains of cornerbacks Peterson and A.J. Jefferson — didn’t reflect well. With the team losing games too, Wilson has often been a ghost when the media is around too. It’s not hard to see he has been frustrated.
Clearly, though, Wilson has put together a solid season as it has progressed, and video analysis has shown it.
Hornsby didn’t analyze Wilson in the web story, so I asked him to do it for me. Wilson has had a “very consistent, very balanced all-round performance with underneath coverage being a strong suit,” Hornsby wrote in an e-mail. “Giving up less than 50% completions when thrown at and has a passer rating of 66.8 into his coverage. Areas to work on: Cutting back on penalties and getting better value than two hits and four pressures from his 46 blitzes.”
Wilson has 45 tackles this season, with five tackles for loss, the pick, three quarterback pressures and 10 pass deflections.
Hornsby also noted he really, really likes the play of defensive end Calais Campbell and linebacker Daryl Washington, and the only reason they aren’t on the list is because of the talent depth at the positions in the NFC.
By the way, here is Hornsby’s take on Fitz, whose catches are way down (51) but he already has 888 yards and six touchdowns with five games to go: “(Calvin) Johnson is an awesome specimen but surely the best receiver in football is Fitzgerald. With what he’s had thrown at him the last couple of years most players would have crumbled, but he’s done more to impress me in this period than he did when the great Kurt Warner was his teammate – and he was brilliant then.”
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Pro Bowl
Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »