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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, who was named a Pro Bowl alternate last month, is headed to the game. He’ll replace Minnesota’s Kevin Williams (who had already replaced Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh) and join teammate Adrian Wilson in Hawaii (plus, if the Packers beat the Bears in the NFC Championship, Larry Fitzgerald is expected to replace Green Bay’s Greg Jennings for the Pro Bowl, since Jennings will obviously have other things to do next week.
This is Dockett’s third Pro Bowl.
Tags: Darnell Dockett, Greg Jennings, Kevin Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, Ndamukong Suh, Pro Bowl
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Adrian Wilson is nothing if not self-aware. And blunt. Maybe that’s why, after a decade, I have come to appreciate dealing with him (sure, that means jumping through hoops sometimes with faux-grumpy A-Dub, but that’s OK). So was I surprised to hear him talk about how Kerry Rhodes deserved today’s Pro Bowl nod over him? Not at all.
When Rhodes first showed up after being traded to the Cardinals, he was well aware people had heard of the “Hollywood” reputation from New York. He figured there were plenty of people wondering exactly what kind of player he was. It meant a lot to him to play well here. He promised to be a playmaker. And he was, with his four interceptions (for 174 yards), four fumble recoveries, a blocked field goal, a couple of touchdowns (and what should have been a third had he not been caught from behind in Minnesota). At one point, he wondered aloud if the doubters thought he’d do the job.
That brings us back to today. Wilson doesn’t exactly love outside criticism, but I kind of get why – he’s already criticizing himself internally more than anyone else could. His reaction to his Pro Bowl selection was genuine. There were times early in his career – before he made his first Pro Bowl – when his snubs ate at him. He knows what Rhodes (who has yet to make a Pro Bowl) is going through.
Look, the Pro Bowl is what it is. Plenty of talk has been generated around the league of snubs and how-did-that-guy-get-in and most of it has nothing to do with A-Dub or Rhodes. This stuff happens all the time.
But listening to Wilson talk today about Rhodes, it just reaffirms to me the kind of person he’s always been. He doesn’t have a lot of sugar-coating in his game, and he doesn’t off the field either. As for Rhodes, his season (I’d call him this year’s team MVP, beating out kicker Jay Feely) showed he was a good replacement for Antrel Rolle, the playmaker some worried about losing.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Pro Bowl
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For the first time in a long time, I’m in the office this Monday.
I’ve been lucky enough in my job to have covered eight of the last nine Super Bowls, including the last seven in a row (missed the Rams-Patriots Tom Brady-coming-out-party because my second son was born). I didn’t think my streak was going to stay alive when I left newspapers to come work for the team, but that happened to be the year the game was held here in the Valley. Then, last year, a little magic got me a trip to Tampa. So finally, I am home and not in the center of the NFL universe.
The coaches are mostly off, although I saw Ken Whisenhunt in his office working on something. There really isn’t any offseason for the head guy.
– In the wake of the Kurt Warner retirement, our crack broadcast department is putting together a 30-minute special on the Cards’ former quarterback. It’ll premiere Thursday at 5:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Arizona, the first of many, many showings.
– Antrel Rolle made his Pro Bowl debut Sunday night with five tackles, while Darnell Dockett had one tackle in the NFC’s 41-34 loss to the AFC (and as a quick aside, Antrel addressed his tax issues with ESPN.com’s Mike Sando).
Tags: Antrel Rolle, Darnell Dockett, Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, Pro Bowl, Super Bowl
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The Cardinals are going to have a safety play in the Pro Bowl after all, now that free safety Antrel Rolle has been named to replace the Saints’ Darren Sharper in Sunday’s game. Sharper, of course, had to bail now that his team is in the Super Bowl. Strong safety Adrian Wilson had been named a starter, but he is skipping the game with his wife due to give birth very soon. Rolle will join Darnell Dockett in the game, after Wilson, Larry Fitzgerald (knee) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (knee) all bowed out.
A total of 14 Pro Bowlers were lost yesterday when the Colts and Saints each made the Super Bowl and their players were ruled out. And I’d expect a host of the many Vikings and perhaps Jets to step away too, given how close the Pro Bowl is to their championship game loss, which includes Brett Favre. In theory, the door could open for Kurt Warner, but I’m not so sure — given his situation of deciding on his football future — that he’d be jumping to play in the game himself.
UPDATE: Tony Romo has been named to the Pro Bowl to replace Favre (Donovan McNabb replaced Drew Brees), so whether Warner was an alternate behind Romo or Warner just turned it down, it doesn’t matter — Kurt won’t play in Miami.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Antrel Rolle, Darnell Dockett, DRC, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Pro Bowl
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