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The Arizona Cardinals picked up a win over the Seattle Seahawks in their final game of the 2011 NFL season, but in doing so, they effectively dropped their standing in the 2012 NFL Draft. While the Seahawks could now pick as high as 11th in the Draft, the Cardinals are now locked in to pick 14th.
As Revenge of the Birds recently pointed out, the offensive line needs serious work, notably both offensive tackles. You could add a top wide receiver to their "want" list, but both positions at OT seem to be at the top of the "need" column.
Unfortunately, there are a handful of other teams also in need of O-line help, many of which are picking ahead of the Cardinals. It's a near certainty that the top OT players in the draft, Jonathan Martin of Stanford and Matt Kalil of USC, will be long gone by the time the Cardinals pick rolls around. There is a very slight chance that Riley Reiff of Iowa will still be on the market for the 14th pick, but Ohio State's Mike Adams might be their best option when turn comes.
The Arizona Cardinals might've finished their season at 8-8, but they did end up probably losing ground in the 2012 NFL Draft.
The Cardinals would've been 11th in the draft order if they had lost to the Seattle Seahawks, but the win will push them down a couple of spots to 13th, Mike Sando of the NFC West Blog reports. At 7-9, Arizona would've been in a tie with the Kansas City Chiefs, but would've lost all tie-breakers and would've thus ended up 11th. Seattle's loss knocks them into a tie with Kansas City in all categories, and the Seahawks and Chiefs will have to go a coin flip to deciding who gets it.
At 8-8, Arizona apparently loses all tiebreakers with all the other NFL teams standing at 8-8, so they will finish at 13th and still have a great shot at landing a premier talent.
For more on the Cardinals, head to Revenge of the Birds.
Larry Fitzgerald makes incredible plays so often that his teammates have come to expect it. Asked about another set of great catches he made in Sunday's win over the Seahawks, a common refrain was, "You should see what he does in practice."
Making this Sunday's performance from Fitzgerald all the more notable was the report after the game (and after Larry had finished his press appearance) that he played with a chest or lung injury and was spitting up blood on the sidelines.
The report first came from Larry Fitzgerald Sr., who works for the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder and attends all Cardinals games as a member of the media.
Cardinals Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald suffered a Lung injury was spitting up blood on sidelines. Will have MRI MONDAY.— Larry Fitzgerald Sr. (@FitzBeatSr) January 2, 2012
The Cardinals confirmed an injury but said there was no MRI scheduled as of yet and the x-rays were negative for broken ribs or punctured lung.
Fitzgerald had x-rays after the game, no fractured ribs, no punctured lungs.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) January 2, 2012
Fitzgerald didn't make any mention of the injury during his press conference. The Cardinals will hold their final media availability of the season on Monday. More information should be available at that time.
The Arizona Cardinals finished their season with another overtime win, their fourth of the season which sets an NFL record. They beat the Seattle Seahawks 23-20 to finish the season 8-8 which is a remarkable accomplishment after the 1-6 start to their year. Larry Fitzgerald was once again the star of the game, logging nine catches for 149 yards including a fantastic crucial grab in overtime to put the Cardinals in field goal range for the win.
The Cardinals got on the board early with an 81-yard touchdown drive on just their second possession of the game. It was the first touchdown for the Cardinals in the first quarter of a game since Week 2. The drive was highlighted by a 39-yard run from RB LaRod Stephens-Howling who started in place of the injured Beanie Wells. RB Chester Taylor completed the drive with a one-yard TD dive at the goal line.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that it was his decision to hold Wells out of the game, "Beanie was made at me because Beanie wanted to play. He's been fighting, he's been a warrior all year playing on one leg and I just thought at this point it was in his best interest that he not play."
The Cardinals were only able to muster another three points in the first half but the defense did its job and gave Arizona a 10-3 lead at the half.
The field goal Arizona recorded came after rookie Patrick Peterson returned a punt 42 yards which set an NFL record for rookie punt return yards in a season. He was just barely brought down by the punter, or he would have set an NFL record with five punt return touchdowns on the season.
"I was kind of stumbling into the cut back anyway, so necessarily he (the punter) didn't get me down," Peterson joked.
The offenses for both teams opened up in the second half. The Seahawks went 74 yards on their first possession of the third quarter and scored on a 48-yard touchdown from RB Leon Washington. Seattle would score again in the fourth quarter on another big play to tie the game at 20-20 when Tavaris Jackson hit Ricardo Lockette for a 61-yard TD bomb against single coverage from backup CB Marshay Green.
John Skelton led the Cardinals on an eight-play, 80 yard drive finished off by Todd Heap's first touchdown on the season. Skelton also threw an interception early in the fourth quarter. It was Skelton's 14th INT in eight games and led to three additional points for the Seahawks.
Fitzgerald reported that Skelton had fainted before the game was questionable to play. "I don't know exactly what happened but I came in the training room and he was laying on the ground," Fitz said. "I was worried but he was able to bounce back and was great. It just shows you his toughness. He's a big, strong tough dude and he wasn't going to allow that to dictate the outcome of the day."
The Cardinals confirmed the incident and said that Skelton was having his knee drained before the game and felt light-headed when he got up from the training table.
With two minutes left on the clock and the game tied, the Cardinals were forced to punt. The Seahawks began their drive on their own 27 yard line but returned the ball to the Cardinals with very little time on the clock. The game headed into overtime with the Seahawks winning the coin toss. The Cardinals had no doubt they would win the game at that point.
Seattle started overtime with a 47-yard kickoff return to give them excellent field position but they managed to go no where and were forced to punt.
The Cardinals started their own overtime drive at their 19-yard line. Skelton completed a 26 yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald who made a great catch in double coverage across the middle. Needing only about seven yards to get into good field goal range, Coach Whisenhunt went for it on fourth and 1 and got the conversion on a QB sneak.
Larry Fitzgerald came up huge again with a one-handed snag on a slant route that went for 12 yards. A better thrown ball goes for a huge gain, but the play was enough to put the Cardinals in field goal range. A couple more rushes moved the ball even closer and Jay Feely ended the game with a 28-yard field goal.
The Cardinals put up 388 total yards in the 23-20 win. They turned the ball over twice and allowed 369 yards of Seattle offense. Larry Fitzgerald finished with nine catches for 149 yards with none bigger than the one-handed grab in overtime. John Skelton went 22-40 for 271 yards with two sacks, one pick and one TD.
The Arizona Cardinals find themselves in the unusual position of taking a lead into the half. They are up 10-3 on the Seattle Seahawks and are in firm control of the game despite a very mediocre offensive performance from back up QB John Skelton.
The Cardinals and Seahawks exchanged turnovers in the second period with neither leading to points. Arizona rookie TE Rob Housler was first with a catch over the middle for a nice 21-yard gain, but he was striped of the ball after the reception. The Seahawks returned the fumble to the Arizona 20.
Seattle moved the ball to the 11 before giving up a sack to Cardinals OLB Clark Haggans. Tavaris Jackson, facing pressure, then threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by CB Richard Marshall and returned 49 yards.
The Cardinals weren't able to convert the good field position from Marshall's interception return into points but got another shot with a drive starting at the Seattle 31 thanks to a Patrick Peterson 42-yard punt return.
Peterson, at the half, has 695 yards in punt return yardage this season which sets a new rookie single-season record.
John Skelton got the Cardinals to within eight yards of the end zone but couldn't punch it in. After a personal foul penalty, Jay Feely kicked a 41-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 10-3 lead going into the second half.
The Cardinals trail Seattle in total yards, 138-128. Skelton is 8-14 for 80 yards with no turnovers. Jackson is 14-20 for 104 yards with one interception.
The Arizona Cardinals did something they've not done too many times this season, they moved the ball and took a lead in the first quarter of a game. Thanks to a career-high 39-yard run from RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona moved the ball deep into Seattle Seahawk territory and punched it in on the goal line with a Chester Taylor dive.
The touchdown was the first for the Cardinals in the first quarter since Week 2 and gave Arizona a 7-0 lead heading into the second quarter. The Cardinals defense held Seattle to just 65 yards in the first quarter.
Cardinals QB John Skelton had his typical slow start but didn't turn the ball over. He went 2-6 for 32 yards. The Seahawks Tavaris Jackson went 7-10 for 34 yards on mostly short passes and two long bombs that were overthrown.
Both Arizona and Seattle are fighting to finish their seasons with a .500 record and bragging rights as the second-best team in the NFC West.
The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks will enter their final game of the season with the same goal, to finish with an 8-8 record. Both teams, however, will have to try and win with key players on the inactive list. For the Cardinals, QB Kevin Kolb (head), RB Beanie Wells (knee) and S Kerry Rhodes (ankle) will all be watching from the sidelines.
The Seahawks will line up without key wide receivers, Mike Williams and Sidney Rice who are both on the injured reserve list. Inactives for Seattle include: QB Josh Portis, S Jeron Johnson, CB Phillip Adams, OLB Malcolm Smith, RG Paul Fanaika, LT Jarriel King and DT Pep Levingston.
The Cardinals other inactives are WR Stephen Williams, LB Brandon Williams, OT D.J. Young, and WR DeMarco Sampson. The good news for Cardinals fans is Patrick Peterson who was questionable due to an Achilles Injury. He looks like he will get his chance to set an NFL record if he can return his fifth punt return for a touchdown.
The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks are both hoping to finish the season with a .500 winning percentage and second place in the NFC West. Both teams saw their postseason hopes dashed with losses in Week 16 and both want to finish 2011 on a winning note, even though Sunday's game will be on January 1, 2012. The teams are evenly matched on paper, so the game should be a close one.
We have all of your relevant viewing and listening information for Sunday's game right here.
Time: Kickoff is at 2:15 PM MST at University of Phoenix Stadium.
TV: FOX will air the game on television (KSAZ FOX 10). Your commentators will be Sam Rosen and Chad Pennington.
Radio: The broadcast can be found on KTAR 620AM or on Sirius 112 (home feed) and 139 (away feed).
Betting Line: The Cardinals are favored to win by between 1.5 and 3 points, according to our friends over at OddsShark.
The Cardinals host the Seahawks on Sunday and will almost certainly do so without Kevin Kolb at quarterback, but they've got a few other injuries to monitor as well. T Brandon Keith has been ruled out, and Rashad Johnson, Patrick Peterson, Kerry Rhodes, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Beanie Wells are all listed as questionable. Wells, Stephens-Howling and Peterson were all limited in Friday's practice, and their absence could be problematic for the team as they try to finish the season on a high note.
Here are the final injury reports for Friday, for both teams.
OUT - T Brandon Keith (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE - S Rashad Johnson (knee), QB Kevin Kolb (head), CB Patrick Peterson (achilles), S Kerry Rhodes (ankle), RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring), RB Chris Wells (knee)
PROBABLE - CB Michael Adams (shoulder), S Sean Considine (foot)
QUESTIONABLE - T Breno Giacomini (abdomen), DT Tony Hargrove (calf)
PROBABLE - CB Kennard Cox (hamstring), LB David Hawthorne (knee), QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral), S Jeron Johnson (illness), DT Clinton McDonald (concussion), WR Ben Obomanu (knee), LB Malcolm Smith (concussion)
The Arizona Cardinals are wrapping up their season against the Seattle Seahawks with relatively little to play for, so it makes sense they shouldn't be trying to play their best players. Chief among them is Kevin Kolb, who has been suffering with concussion issues and has been limited in practice. The Cardinals don't have any real reason to play him, and therefore they won't.
With Kolb out, John Skelton likely comes in, who has done a yeoman job as the backup for the Cardinals. Skelton has won a couple of close football games by simply managing the game and not making too many mistakes. It's likely he'll need a similar type of performance against a surging Seattle defense that has been playing very well at the tail end of the season.
Here's the full list of Cardinals injuries.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE: T Brandon Keith (ankle), CB Patrick Peterson (achilles)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: S Rashad Johnson (knee), QB Kevin Kolb (head), S Kerry Rhodes (ankle), RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring), RB Chris Wells (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE: CB Michael Adams (shoulder), S Sean Considine (foot)
When the Cardinals took John Skelton in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of Fordham not much was known about him. Most Cardinal fans did not even know there was a college named Fordham in existence. Obviously, the Cardinals knew about him and saw something that made them draft the 6'5 quarterback out of El Paso, Texas.
When Skelton left Fordham he held school career records in: total offense, passing yards, touchdown passes and pass completions. However, that was at an FCS level school, now Skelton, in his second season, is still adjusting to the caliber of competition he faces week in and week out.
"I think whenever you make the transition from Fordham to the NFL there's a change in the type of athletes that you're playing with," said head coach Ken Whisenhunt. "You get into a mindset that if they bring the free safety, I can roll away from it and make this throw. In the NFL, it's a little bit different. The athletes are different."
Skelton's completion percentage has jumped from 47.6% last year to 54.9% this year. Although that is still not an ideal number Whisenhunt sees improvement from the second year QB.
"John (Skelton) obviously as the ability to make some big plays in this league, and he has the physical talents to play the position. As he gets more reps, as he gets older and the mental part of it catches up, he's going to be a very good quarterback," said Whisenhunt.
Part of that mental part of the game is knowing when to get rid of the ball and not taking negative plays. "You never want to give up a negative play or give up a play that doesn't net anything. Often you just have to cut your losses and move on to the next play," said Skelton.
Skelton will need to cut down on his turnovers (14) if he hopes to stay a starting quarterback in the NFL. Skelton can see his improvement in his mental game compared to last season.
"I think I've made a significant jump with understanding our offense, understanding schemes on defense, what defenses are trying to accomplish. I can definitely feel a difference from last year to this year," said Skelton.
Kevin Kolb was limited in practice on Wednesday as the Arizona Cardinals prepare for their final game of the 2011 season. Technically, he could still play on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks and it's unlikely there will be an official decision until the morning before the game. In reality, it's highly unlikely that he will go given what we heard from Kolb after practice.
"I didn't do too much. I'm limited in the meetings and out here (on the practice field). Did some other stuff yesterday, ran some tests, showed there's a reason for some of the symptoms I've had. Nothing serious, but something I can't play with," Kolb said
The lingering symptoms from the hit he suffered in the 49ers game over two weeks ago prompted a trip to the doctor on Tuesday. He had a full exam and met with the neurologist. The tests showed that he is still slow with some "reaction stuff and processing stuff" from the baseline test conducted before the season.
Kolb reported this concussion is worse than his last when he was back to normal within five or six days. That brings up concerns about his long term health going forward and what that might mean for the team.
"No," Kolb said when asked if was worried about lasting impacts. "I had that conversation with the neurologist yesterday and he thinks with some rest and getting away from the game for a little bit, probably within two or three weeks I'll feel a lot better."
Coach Ken Whisenhunt agreed that he had no reason to be concerned about this injury having lasting implications for the Cardinals.
"I don't think there's any kind of studies that says that that's the case. I personally haven't thought along those lines and I don't know that we have and I don't think that there's any indication that would be the case."
Larry Fitzgerald weighed in as well with a very practical and rational opinion on Kolb's status:
"At this point we're not playing for a playoff position, why take the risk of doing any further damage? We get a whole offseason and get him back to ready and pick it up from next year. John has done a good job leading us the last few games we played and we're confident in his ability and that he can lead us to a win."
Other Cardinals updates:
Kerry Rhodes didn't practice due to an ankle injury suffered in the game Saturday. The injury was not related to his previous foot surgery. Patrick Peterson (Achilles) will be evaluated further and could practice and play this week although in my opinion, it seems doubtful. Brandon Keith (knee) also did not practice.
The Arizona Cardinals are looking to finish their season on a high note against the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday, and will have some new blood on the sideline to do so as the team announced on Wednesday the signing of tackle D.J. Young from the practice squad.
Young, the 6-5, 298 pound undrafted rookie out of Michigan State and Bowling Green, spent the entire season on the Cards practice squad after being released from the team back on Sept. 2, but will now join the team for the last game of the season, giving the Cards more depth on the offensive line with Brandon Keith playing a bit banged up these days.
Young started 23 games on the o-line in two seasons with Michigan State, then at Bowling Green after a transfer. Young will wear #67 for the Cardinals.
In a corresponding roster move wide receiver Jaymar Johnson was released by the team, but was immediately re-signed to the practice squad.
For more on the Cardinals, head over to Revenge of the Birds.
The Cardinals prepare for their final game of the NFL season.