Larry Fitzgerald’s long round at Wednesday’s Waste Management Phoenix Open pro-am created a time crunch at the end of the day because Fitz had a flight to catch to his home state of Minnesota and the current Super Bowl festivities in which he is now taking part. That meant he had to forego interview requests as he hustled off the course.
There would have been questions about whether he will play this season, questions that Fitz at this point would likely have left unanswered. There was one detail I did get to briefly ask about before he climbed in his car — Do you have to know who the quarterback will be in order to make your decision?
“I haven’t thought about any of that stuff, seriously,” Fitzgerald said.
UPDATE: Fitz was thinking about it a couple of days later at the Super Bowl.
Earlier this week, new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said that in his short conversation Fitzgerald was “excited” about the new staff. Both friend Kurt Warner and Fitzgerald’s father have been quoted of late saying they don’t know what Fitzgerald will do but believe he will play. Teammate Patrick Peterson, also golfing Wednesday, was of similar mindset.
“We don’t talk football once the season is over, but my gut feeling is he’ll be back,” Peterson said. “He’s playing too well to hang it up.”
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson, Phoenix Open, Super Bowl
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This story about the Mexican newspaper director — former director, at this point — who allegedly stole Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey is fascinating. It’s fascinating to watch the video, and even more insane to read the AP story about this guy and his apparent history of doing such a thing. There are so many layers to this (including how easy it is to get a media credential at the Super Bowl when you aren’t even doing anything), but it was interesting to see how Brady apparently wasn’t even the only Super Bowl quarterback to have his jersey lifted. Kurt Warner apparently did too.
From the Associated Press story:
Velazquez and Palafox both said Ortega was carrying a bag containing a past Super Bowl jersey worn by Warner and an Emmitt Smith book. Warner was named MVP at the 2000 Super Bowl.
“He showed me Warner’s jersey with his signature and told me a story about how Warner was surprised that he was in possession of the item,” Palafox said. “He said he planned to gather interest from Warner to sell him the jersey for $8,000.”
The story doesn’t necessarily specify which Warner jersey was taken (it mentions he was the 2000 SB MVP — the 1999 season — but doesn’t clarify that was the year it was taken). Warner was in two other Super Bowls, after the 2001 season and, of course, for the Cardinals after the 2008 season. I don’t ever remember hearing about Warner losing his Cardinals jersey, and I’d guess it probably was the 1999 jersey since that was one Warner won. Regardless, it’s a crazy story about a brazen guy. Here’s hoping Kurt gets his jersey back.
(“Kurt, do you know where your jersey is?”)
Tags: jersey, Kurt Warner, Super Bowl
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When the Cardinals released Michael Floyd in December, he was quickly claimed by the Patriots off waivers. It was noted by more than a few Floyd could end up benefiting greatly by making it too the Super Bowl. The Patriots, of course, are playing in the Super Bowl today. Floyd is in uniform — but only for warmups. Floyd is inactive for the game — Bill Belichick allowed all players to dress for warmups, even those inactive, just to allow them that experience.
Floyd didn’t play in the AFC Championship game either after being named inactive. He struggled in the lone playoff game he was in. Top Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss said it was a numbers game that kept Floyd from playing in the Super Bowl. He also said Floyd would like to re-sign with New England and that the Patriots have interest. We will see if that comes to pass — and also what market develops for Floyd after his rocky 2016 season.
UPDATE: But because Tom Brady is Tom Brady, Floyd did get a Super Bowl ring.
Tags: Michael Floyd, Patriots, Super Bowl
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The Cardinals’ offense was inconsistent much of the season, certainly compared to the previous season. And in light of 2015 — when the Cardinals smashed the franchise record for points in a season with 489 — most seasons were going to suffer in comparison. But as I look through the aftermath of this season (and look at some of the notes stat guru Mike Helm puts together), one of the stats that sticks out is the 418 points the Cardinals finished with for the season.
No, it’s not 489, but it’s not far off the 427 the 2008 Super Bowl-reaching team collected, a 427 that had been the franchise record before the 2015 squad came along. In fact, the 418 points the Cards scored this season was fourth all-time in team history. And it was mostly the offense that drove it — special teams did not score this season, and the defense accounted for 22 points (three return TDs, two safeties.)
The total was aided by a flourish of a finish, with 41, 34 and 44 points in the final three games. But even with all their troubles, the Cardinals were held to 20 points or less only five times (and appropriately went 0-4-1 in those games.) That was with what seemed like a rotating door on the offensive line, especially late when the scoring jumped, and with an underachieving wide receiving corps.
As Ron Wolfley likes to say, the ability to score provides hope. The Cardinals have had many years where that hope didn’t exist. The current version still allows for that hope.
Tags: offense, Ron Wolfley, Super Bowl
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First of all, it was cool to see (given that I really didn’t have a rooting interest) that big Cardinals fan Joe Maddon, who happens to be the manager of the Chicago Cubs, led his team to the World Series title. Maddon has been a fan of the franchise since 1963, and stayed with them even from their move to Arizona in 1988. He was rooting for them in their Super Bowl run in 2008, and when the Cardinals were in Chicago last season, he popped over to the Cardinals’ team hotel to talk to Bruce Arians.
Secondly, yes, I saw the graphic.
It was hard to miss, as Fox put it up for the world to see after the Cubs won. (If I would’ve missed it, I had plenty of Twitter followers who wanted to send me a copy.) The fact had already been floating around since the Cubs won Game 6 — if the Cubs won the whole thing, the Cardinals would be the pro sports franchise with the longest title drought. The Cards last won in 1947. The Indians, oh so close Wednesday night, were next at 1948.
The feeling is a little different because the franchise has moved twice since then, although I have talked to plenty of fans who ache even if they became fans in ’88 after the move West. It’s why for many, any part after Larry Fitzgerald’s amazing 64-yard catch-and-run in Super Bowl XLIII is just a blurry memory. It’s why Fitzgerald was so upset in the locker room following last year’s NFC Championship loss. It’s hard to even get a chance to win the whole thing.
But it’s also the great thing about sports, something the Cubs have done for a long time. Each season is a chance renewed. And as Arians said the other night even about this season — which obviously hasn’t gone the way anyone expected — “This is just another good challenge.” This year’s chase isn’t over yet.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Cubs, Joe Maddon, Larry Fitzgerald, Super Bowl
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Just two weeks ago, Steve Keim was emphasizing the need to improve the Cardinals’ pass rush. This is no state secret, or hard to analyze. After watching what the Broncos did to the Panthers in the Super Bowl — and what the Cardinals could not do to Cam Newton in the NFC Championship game — that plan of action couldn’t have been made any more crystal clear.
It changes the game to be able to pressure off the edge consistently. It makes a difference in the biggest games. After the 2007 season, the Patriots, with their 18-0 record and a passing game that scored more than 50 times by itself, stalled in the Super Bowl. The Giants’ defense wasn’t even that powerful overall, necessarily — but it had a front four that could get to the quarterback (and depth up front), that made life hellish for Tom Brady and brought down the undefeated season with a crash.
This has been a constant topic around the Cardinals in recent years. Even looking back at the 2011 draft, when the Cardinals picked future All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson with the No. 5 overall choice, the team was eyeing Super Bowl 50 star Von Miller had he dropped that far (although it became clear in the days leading up to the draft he would not.) You can scheme all you want and blitz more than any other team — which the Cards have done the last couple of years — but blitzing is a risk that can burn a club. And the Cards didn’t always provide the pressure even when they did blitz. The pass rush doesn’t guarantee a title (ask the Panthers, who harassed Peyton Manning pretty well themselves) but it’s an uphill climb without it.
Tags: Broncos, Panthers, Patrick Peterson, Steve Keim, Super Bowl, Von Miller
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After it came out that Chris Johnson had a fracture in his knee (to be clear, it is a tibial plateau fracture, with a chip in the tibia near the knee), it was pretty clear he was going to miss some time. The Cardinals clarified that Tuesday when CJ was put on the IR-designated to return list, meaning he cannot play before the Super Bowl. You know, assuming the Cardinals can get there.
Many have asked if the Cardinals were going to sign a running back. They promoted Kerwynn Williams from the practice squad. They are hoping Andre Ellington, who looks like he’ll be week to week with a turf toe, comes back sooner rather than later. And I was reminded of what running backs coach Stump Mitchell told Chris Johnson when Johnson was considering signing with the Cardinals back in August.
“I love Andre Ellington,” Mitchell said. “I love Kerwynn Williams. I love Stepfan Taylor. I love all the running backs we have here right now. Honestly, we don’t need you to win.”
This isn’t to denigrate Chris Johnson or what he has accomplished. He is shelved with 814 yards rushing, fourth-best in the NFL for now (and sadly, he won’t be one of the few 1,000-yard rushers for the franchise since moving to Arizona. But I digress.) But assuming the Ellington problem is short-term, the Cardinals are prepared and were prepared to attack this season without CJ2K. Rookie David Johnson has looked pretty good in limited time and he looks like he’ll be the starter if Ellington is gimpy. Would they have been as successful? Hard to know — David Johnson certainly would’ve gotten more work by now — but this isn’t something they feared.
Now, if David Johnson gets hurt, or Ellington can’t get healthy, then there’s a problem. It’s not like this offense was anchored by Chris Johnson. This offense still revolves around Carson Palmer and the passing game. You want the running game to be effective, but there is belief that it will be (with better blocking). There is little question every single guy in that locker room is hoping CJ2K plays again this season. Both for his sake, and for theirs.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson, Kerwynn Williams, Stepfan Taylor, Stump Mitchell, Super Bowl
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The NFL commissioner was talking Cardinals this morning, during an appearance on “Doug and Wolf” on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. At one point, he was asked about the status of suspended linebacker Daryl Washington, who has not been reinstated from his at-least-a-year suspension that was handed down in late May of 2014.
Goodell didn’t have details, nor was he going to. He did say that he was “aware that his status is unchanged.”
“The substance abuse policy is something that is collectively bargained with the players association as far as the CBA,” Goodell said. “A very strong tenet of that is the fact is the program remains confidential and circumstances surrounding it stay confidential between the various partners. We have professionals that work on it, they make determinations with individuals within the program and they make recommendations back to the NFLPA and NFL.
“I am not directly involved in that but I am aware his status is unchanged and will remain so until the professionals are prepared to move forward.”
While details aren’t forthcoming, it is telling that the NFLPA is looped in to all this and has not publicly said anything — in particular, gone to bat for Washington asking why he is still suspended. Neither has Washington’s agent. That’s probably not a good sign.
— Goodell also said the league “couldn’t be more pleased” with how the Super Bowl went last season and that the league looks forward to coming back. Another Super Bowl seems inevitable. Remember the one caveat to getting a Super Bowl at some point, officially, is that a host team has to give up a home game to play internationally. (That may be inevitable anyway. With the NFL’s international push, I’m guessing every team will eventually be tapped to give up a home game at some point.)
Tags: Daryl Washington, Roger Goodell, Super Bowl
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Bruce Arians has never been shy about bold proclamations about his team, like after winning the Coach of the Year award before the Super Bowl saying that he planned on his players dressing in the locker rooms of the 49ers’ stadium at the same time the following year — when Super Bowl 50 is played.
Last week at the NFL spring meetings, someone pointed out that Rex Ryan often had the same kind of talk when leading the Jets, until Ryan apparently got to the point where he felt like he was putting an unnecessary target on his team. Arians was asked if he had considered those ramifications.
“No, because we talk about it in the first meeting and then we don’t talk about it anymore,” Arians said. “That’s the goal every year. Last year (the Super Bowl) just happened to be in our stadium. It was easy to look a guy in the eye and say, ‘Who’s dressing in your locker?’ We don’t have that so I have to come up with a new line this year.
“The goal is to win the Super Bowl. We won’t shy away. We talk about it the first day and then we talk about the process, every day the process.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Super Bowl
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The Patriots won the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in early February. The turf upon which they won the Lombardi Trophy will live on for football too (and soccer and other sports.) The grass has been installed at Tolleson Union High School. Through Chandler-based Evergreen Turf (which, not surprisingly is a partner with the Cardinals), about 90,000 square feet of sod was moved from University of Phoenix Stadium about 6½ miles west.
It’s not the first time the sod (which was grown in Alabama, originally) has been shared locally. After the Giants’ Super Bowl win in February of 2008, that sod was moved to Phoenix Moon Valley High School.
Tags: Super Bowl, Tolleson Union High School
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