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Wide receiver Hines Ward is being released by the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's been a long and dedicated career for Ward, but his numbers have been dipping the past two seasons, only playing nine games and catching 46 passes last season. Now that Ward is about to turn 36 years old, it's clear he's on the downside of his career, and that his best days are behind him. It doesn't make sense for the Steelers to commit too much to him when Ward's production is only likely to decline from here on out.
That being said, Ward isn't ready to hang it up by any measure. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the story.
Ward previously had said he’d be willing to take a pay cut from his $4 million salary to stay with the team. But even at the 10-plus-year veteran minimum of $925,000, Ward had fallen too far down the depth chart to justify having a roster spot and not playing special teams.
Other teams could be interested. Former Steelers offensive coordinators Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey are coaching the Cardinals and Jaguars, respectively. Also, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune pointed out, Ward played for Bears receivers coach Darryl Drake at Georgia.
Ward could really make an impact for a team like the Arizona Cardinals, particularly playing the foil for the outstanding Larry Fitzgerald. His familiarity with Whisenhunt should make it easier for him to adapt to playing with the Cardinals. Ward sounds like a strong match for Arizona if everything works out right.
To discuss Ward and the Cardinals, head on over to Revenge of the Birds.
The Arizona Cardinals are going to be playing the first game of the 2012 NFL preseason when they trek up to Canton Ohio to face the New Orleans Saints. The game will be Sunday August 5th on the NFL Network at 5 p.m. in Arizona. Arizona has gone 1-1-1 in previous Hall of Fame Game contests.
The Hall of Fame game is known for being the contest commemorating the newest batch of nominees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Arizona and New Orleans will take the field just after the newest class of enshrinees – Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf – are formally enshrined into the Hall of Fame during ceremonies held at Fawcett Stadium located in Canton on Saturday, Aug. 4.
After a lot of speculation regarding the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff and front office, it seems things are finally done. The final move (or lack thereof) came as it is reported that the St. Louis Rams have hired Les Snead to be their general manager.
Arizona Cardinals director of player personnel Steve Keim was a candidate for the job and had interviewed, but with the hiring of Snead, he will remain with the Cardinals.
Most Cardinals fans will be pleased with this news because Keim is well-respected and has helped with the drafting of some very talented players on the team.
It is his 13th season with the team, and has had his current position since May 2008. He worked his way up to his current job starting as a scout and getting promotions from there .
You can talk more Cardinals over at Revenge of the Birds.
The Arizona Cardinals announced on Wednesday that wide receiver coach John McNulty has shifted gears to become the team's new quarterback coach, while hiring Frank Reich from the Inidanapolis Colts to be their new wide receivers coach.
McNulty enters his fourth season on the Arizona Cardinals' staff, but will be his first season coaching quarterbacks, spending the other three in his former position. The 10-year NFL assistant previously coached quarterbacks at Rutgers University as offensive coordinator. He also spent time wide receivers and offensive quality control coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars (1998-2002) and wide receivers coach with the Dallas Cowboys (2003) as well.
As for Reich, he comes to the Cardinals after six seasons with Indianapolis, including the 2011-12 season where he was their wide receiver coach. He began his coaching career with the Colts as an intern in 2006-07 before becoming an offensive staff assistant in 2008, then QB coach from 2009-10.
For more on the Cardinals, head over to Revenge of the Birds.
The Arizona Cardinals are looking to land a top-tier coach to develop their quarterbacks and it appears their search now has one less candidate to lure to Glendale. According to multiple reports on Saturday afternoon, former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has accepted the offensive coordinator job with the Indianapolis Colts.
Arians had been linked to the Cardinals for some time and some thought he may be the frontrunner to land the gig.
Former Steelers OC Bruce Arians has agreed to become the Colts new OC. He's flying to Indianapolis on Monday to review and sign contract.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 28, 2012
Arizona will continue to search for their next quarterbacks coach and will likely make a decision in the near future. In the meantime, expect the organization to continue to scout potential prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft. Workouts and practices will be here before you know it, folks.
For more on the Cardinals and to discuss their coaching search, head on over to Revenge Of The Birds.
As noted the other day could possibly happen, Greg Schiano, the new head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is interested in interviewing Arizona Cardinals wide receivers coach John McNulty for their offensive coordinator position. McNulty worked under Schiano from 2004-2008 at Rutgers University as offensive coordinator and QBs coach. Mike Jurecki is reporting right now that Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt has denied the Bucs that interview.
McNulty is already under contract with Arizona. Although the position in Tampa is a promotion, the Cardinals are not required to allow such an interview. They cannot stop interviews for head coaching positions. In fact, the Pittsburgh Steelers did the same thing to the Cardinals when they were interviewing candidates to become defensive coordinator. Ken Whisenhunt wanted to interview Keith Butler, but Pittsburgh blocked it.
As Jurecki notes in his article, McNulty apparently wants to interview for the job. Reportedly he may talk to ownership to see if he can get Whisenhunt's decision overridden.
The Cardinals already have a coaching hole to fill. They are looking for a quarterbacks coach.
McNulty is currently in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl as a guest of Larry Fitzgerald.
You can talk more Cardinals over at Revenge of the Birds.
Kent Somers of AZCentral.com is reporting that Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells is back in the Valley resting and beginning rehabilitation after a minor arthroscopic procedure was done to scope out his troublesome right knee this week.
The procedure was done by world renown surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, FL this week and went completely as expected. Wells was seen at Cardinals facilities walking on crutches on Friday to begin his rehabilitation work.
Somers believes that if everything remains on schedule with Wells' recovery and rehab, that he should have no problems taking part in normal team activities this offseason. Hopefully he is right.
For more in depth discussion and analysis of the Arizona Cardinals, make sure you check out Revenge of the Birds, the most comprehensive place on the interweb for Cardinals fans. For all the latest AZ sports news, follow us on Twitter @SBNArizona and "Like" us on Facebook.
Mike Jurecki of XTRA 910 Sports in Phoenix is reporting that he is "[h]earing" that the Chiefs are "refusing" to pay Todd Haley the remainder of his contract, which suggests that Haley was fired for cause. As in did something detrimental to the team.
If the Chiefs are refusing to pay the final year of Haley’s contract for cause, the two parties may engage in a grievance. These are issues usually resolved between the coach, team and the league so the process will move somewhere in that direction if it is indeed accurate.
Haley is currently said to be in talks with Arizona Cardinals management about joining the team as some kind of coach for the offense, probably the quarterbacks coach. The Arizona Republic reported that Haley wanted the coordinator's job.
The Arizona Cardinals have already had some speculation swiriling around the status of their coaching staff this offseason, and with Greg Schiano taking over for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cardinals insider Mike Jurecki is speculating that he may steal some staff from Arizona to fill out his own:
Something to keep in mind Cards wr coach John McNulty was Greg Schiano offensive coordinator & qb's coach @ Rutgers from 04-08. #justsayin— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) January 26, 2012
McNulty, a ninth-year NFL assistant, spent his third season in 2011-12 as Cardinals wide receivers coach after his stint at Rutgers with Schiano. The fact that they have a long rapport together could signal him leaving for higher ground, especially if he could possibly become an OC in Tampa.
After the hiring of Jeff Fisher as coach, it was deemed less likely that Keim would join the Rams after being considered a candidate for a while now. It was thought that Fisher would want Lake Dawson to join him as the GM after the two worked together in Tennessee.
Keim was still seen as a candidate to depart to another team but it looked like the Rams weren't going to be that team. This new interview is proof that that is not the case.
Keim just finished his 13th season with the Cardinals after joining the club in May 1999 as a regional scout. He was promoted once in 2006 to Director of College Scouting and again to his current position in May 2008. He works under the direction of general manager Rod Graves.
The Arizona Cardinals fired quarterbacks coach Chris Miller on Monday, possibly clearing the way for Todd Haley's return.
The St. Louis Rams are leaving no stones unturned in their quest for a new head coach as they are interviewing current Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton sometime Friday to take over as head coach in St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas.
Rams confirm they are interviewing Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton today for head-coaching position.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) January 6, 2012
Horton has been the defensive coordinator in Arizona for only a single season, in fact, he's only been a defensive coordinator for a single season, working as an assistant with the Steelers, Lions, Bengals and Redskins before that in his coaching career.
Logic would make it seem that the Rams hiring a head coach that was a coordinator for only one season isn't the smartest move, though there may be something else the Rams see in Horton they like enough to make him their next head coach.
Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910 AM reported on Friday that former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley could make a good fit as the Arizona Cardinals' offensive coordinator, though it could take a bit of finagling to get it done.
Hearing If Haley joins the staff Mike Miller would be the QB's coach, Kitchens stays as TE's and current QB's Chris Miller could be let go.
Another thing of note from Jurecki is that Mike Bidwill & Larry Fitzgerald are apparently big supporters of Haley, though coach Whisenhunt will have the final say on the 53 man roster & staff due to a clause in his contract. More light should be shed on the situation in the upcoming days of the offseason.
Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals during their Super Bowl run in 2008. Haley was poached by the Chiefs following his success at leading one of the NFL's top offensive units. He maintains a house in the Phoenix area and is considered a good friend by Whisenhunt.
Steve Keim, who has served as the Arizona Cardinals Director of Player Personnel for 12 years, has been a hot name in recent weeks as teams shakeup their front offices. According to a report, the St. Louis Rams were given permission to interview Keim for their open general manager position. There is no indication of how much interest each side has, but it is likely he will at least listen to their offer.
St. Louis Rams have asked permission 2 interview Cards Director Player Personnel Steve Keim re GM position, Keim entering his 13 yrs w/ Az.— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) January 6, 2012
Keim is widely regarded as one of the best in the business and it is not surprising to see the Rams show interest. Formerly the Cardinals scout in the east, Keim was promoted to the title of Director, College Scouting in June, 2006 and was promoted again to his current title of Director, Player Personnel in May, 2008. In his current role, Keim coordinates the activities of both the college and pro scouting departments.
We will continue to monitor the discussions, but as of now nothing seems too serious. Keim has been praised for his scouting work and has received credit for the success the Cardinals have had in April building for their future.
For more on the Cardinals, head on over to Revenge Of The Birds.
When Patrick Peterson was drafted by the Cardinals fifth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft he could not have asked for a better situation. In the secondary, he was surrounded by veterans to guide him in his rookie season. Veterans like pro-bowler Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes.
Peterson also was matched up against Larry Fitzgerald everyday in practice. While Fitzgerald taught Peterson lessons that the rookie will never forget, Peterson impressed Fitzgerald on and off the field.
"He (Peterson) is a real team guy," said the five-time pro-bowler Fitzgerald. "He works his tail off every single day at his craft," said Fitzgerald.
Peterson came in and had an immediate impact on special teams. He set an NFL rookie record with 699 punt return yards, and tied an NFL record with four punt return touchdowns.
Peterson had his ups and downs as a corner in 2011. Peterson finished 2011 with 64 tackles, 13 pass deflections and two interceptions. Fitzgerald believes that Peterson has all the tools to become an elite corner in the league.
"He's got great ball skills, good instincts, he'll come up and tackle you, he can press you, he is quick enough in and off coverage that he can break on any pass," said Fitzgerald.
Peterson has high expectations for himself and expects to one day be the best cornerback in NFL. "I feel like I could have done better (this season)," said Peterson. "Next year I feel like I will be a much improved football player," said Peterson.
Peterson will continue to improve with a full offseason playing alongside Wilson and Rhodes and playing against Fitzgerald.
For the Arizona Cardinals, two of the bigger (pun intended) contract situations to be resolved in the 2012 NFL offseason will be with LT Levi Brown and DE/DT Calais Campbell. Both guys are in very different situations with Brown coming off a huge rookie deal that he under-performed. Campbell, on the other hand, was a steal for the last four years, making just $3.4 million over that period. He's played his way into a much bigger pay day.
Levi Brown is owed $8.3 million for next season but that money is not guaranteed and will almost certainly not be paid based on his performance since signing a huge contract as the fifth-overall pick from the 2007 NFL Draft. It remains to be seen if the Cardinals can renegotiate a smaller deal with Brown that's more commiserate with his play.
According to Whisenhunt, however, Brown did play well in the later half of the season. "We're always going to look for opportunities to make our team better and hopefully, Levi will be a part of that," Whiz said.
There aren't a lot of left tackles available and the Cardinals don't seem to have a young player ready to step in. They are expected many to use their first-round pick (13th overall) on an offensive lineman but it's far too soon to say if that will happen.
Calais Campbell is a free agent in 2012 having completed his rookie contract signed after being drafted in the second-round of the 2008 NFL Draft. There's no questioning Campbell's value and importance to the improved Arizona defense. The 6-8 lineman can play both defensive end and tackle and led the team with eight sacks and recorded another three field goal blocks this season.
Whisenhunt agreed that Campbell is a focus for the team, "He had a great year for us and we're looking forward to having many more years with Calais to come."
The contract discussions have reportedly been going on for some time, however, and as of Sunday Campbell was uncertain where things stood.
"I'm not sure how close we are. I feel like we're communicating, trying to get something worked out," Campbell said. "I feel like we'll figure something out though. This is a great organization and I love being a Cardinal so, can't beat that."
That's certainly encouraging to hear that both sides are motivated and interested in reaching the same conclusion. In the event that a deal can't be reached, the Cardinals would almost certainly put the franchise tag on Campbell to prevent him hitting the open market.
The Arizona Cardinals paid a big price to get Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles only to see him miss half the year to injuries and play inconsistently in the early season games he did start. His back up, John Skelton, amassed a 6-2 record but was inconsistent, turnover prone and benefited heavily from the improvements on the defensive end of the ball.
That combination doesn't leave a warm feeling about the overall level of quarterback play for a Cardinals team with expectations of being a consistent playoff contender for years to come. But there were positive signs from both guys and head coach Ken Whisenhunt sounds very confident about the future of his offense.
"I've seen things this year that gives me a lot of comfort going into next year as opposed to where we where a year ago," Whisenhunt said about the depth at QB. "I'm please with where we are at that position."
And where the Cardinals are heading into the offseason is without a designated starting QB.
Kolb said he has no expectation that he will the starter when he arrives at training camp next fall and he's looking forward to the competition with Skelton. Whisenhunt likes it that way. He insists the team will play the guy that gives the team the best chance to win and encourages open competition at all spots.
Here's a quick comparison of the two quarterbacks this season with both essentially playing eight full games:
Kolb's numbers were clearly better despite mostly playing in the early part of the season before the team had time to gel. There's no telling how he would have performed over the second half, but staying on the field is an important part of the job even if the injuries were both "flukes".
Skelton, despite his struggles early in games and with picks, showed flashes of brilliance and most importantly had the ability to bounce back from mistakes and deliver in a the clutch. Winning games late is a quality Whisenhunt admires and covets in his QB.
There may not be a designated "ace" on the staff, but there's good reason for the Cardinals to be confident in their starting rotation.
Based on what we've seen and Whisenhunt's expressed confidence in his guys, it would be a surprise to see the Cardinals use a high draft pick or make a big move to get another quarterback. Skelton and Kolb are ready to compete for the job next year and whoever comes out of camp as the starter will have the support of the other. Having two options at that critical position can't be a bad problem to have.
Visit Revenge of the Birds for more Cardinals discussion.
The Arizona Cardinals are confident about where their team is as they head into the 2012 NFL offseason. They will assess their needs and prepare for free agency and the draft.
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