Report: Bruce Arians, Cards officials dine with Mitchell Trubisky

The Arizona Cardinals are expressing plenty of interest in some of the NFL draft’s top quarterback prospects of late, including North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky.

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Trubisky spent Monday night eating at Phoenix restaurant Steak 44 with head coach Bruce Arians, general manager Steve Keim and team president Michael Bidwell jersey, according to Fox Sports 910’s Mike Jurecki. That’s just a slice of the Cardinals’ activity with potential rookie quarterbacks this week: The club also hosted DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame for a pre-draft visit on Monday, and will welcome Clemson’s Deshaun Watson on Wednesday. Prior to this week, the club also conducted a private workout with QB Patrick Mahomes jersey of Texas Tech.

The Cardinals hold the No. 13 overall pick of draft, and the No. 45 overall pick in the second round. Cardinals veteran QB Carson Palmer is 37 and entering his 15th NFL season, so the time could be right for the club to acquire his eventual replacement.

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Houston general manager Rick Smith earned praise from his boss for dumping Osweiler’s contract, but now comes the hard part: solving a Texans quarterback position that began to recede at the same time as Matt Schaub’s hairline.

Only Romo knows if Houston’s refusal to wine and dine him cost the team a starting quarterback for 2017. Now Smith and coach Bill O’Brien face a situation in which 2014 fourth-round pick Tom Savage is the presumptive starter despite having just two career starts under his cheap jerseys and belt. As McNair pointed out in Phoenix, Savage has had trouble staying healthy, having been injured in both of his brief stints at quarterback in Houston.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle believes that Savage is likely to start in front of Brandon Weeden and a first-round draft pick to be named later at quarterback. Smith is virtually required to draft a quarterback early this season after failing to take one in the first three rounds during his entire decade running the team with wholesale jerseys.

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Nike Titans #27 Eddie George Light Blue Team Color Men's Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited JerseyThere are few general managers under more pressure to deliver a big-time draft than Smith. He’s trying to move past the Osweiler fiasco and build up a roster that is far weaker than 2016’s AFC South title and playoff win would suggest. Football Outsiders’ metrics ranked Houston as the No. 29 team in the NFL in 2016; the Texans were incredibly fortunate to win nine regular-season games based on a combination of team defense, schedule and some lucky close wins. The defense will get a major boost with the return of J.J. Watt jersey, who went on injured reserve in September. But this is an organization facing high expectations while its would-be savior quarterback joins Jim Nantz in the booth to broadcast some of their games.

“With the 2017 season getting started and teams are preparing to be the best they can be, I think it’s time for me to walk away from the game,” Powers explained in his lengthy goodbye. “The last 8 years have been a joy and wonderful ride. Even though I can still compete and play at a high level, mentally, I’m ready for the next chapter of my life.”

Powers signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens in 2016 after spending his formative years with the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals. The Colts selected Powers in the third round of the 2009 draft.

The cornerback finishes his career with 413 tackles, 74 passes defended, 13 interceptions, three forced fumbles and three sacks. Powers recorded at least one pick in each of his eight seasons in the league.

Rams’ pressuring defense stifles Palmer, Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals were a lost bird Thursday night with Drew Stanton at quarterback.

The Cards punted on their first six possessions with just one of those drives lasting more than five plays. In eight first-half drives, Arizona punted seven times and got a touchdown gift after an interception at the 21-yard-line.

Searching for a stabilizer, the Cardinals turned to David Johnson. The second-year back pounded the San Francisco 49ers into submission in a 33-21 victory. Johnson carried 27 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns, adding three receptions for 28 yards. He totaled 185 yards; the rest of Arizona’s offense earned 111 additional.

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“I feel unstoppable, basically,” Johnson said of when he gets rolling, via ESPN.com. “Especially with the help of the guys blocking, the tight ends, the receivers and, obviously, the O-line. It helps me get going. It helps me get into the flow of being able to break some of those tackles, being able to get the yards that we needed.”

The plan wasn’t for Johnson to carry the load, but the big-bodied speedster couldn’t be taken down, so Bruce Arians jersey fed the beast.

“That’s what we expected out of him the whole time,” Arians said. “He doesn’t have to do it all, just take what’s there.”

1. After leading the NFL in several major categories last season, Arizona’s offense has begun this season in a malaise. Through four games, all 10 of Carson Palmer’s first-quarter drives have resulted in punts, putting the defense behind the eight-ball. Rather than using the run and the short passing game to set up downfield strikes, the Cardinals have been forcing the deep ball and wholesale sports jerseys in inopportune situations. Although the overhauled offensive line has been shaky at times, there’s too much talent and China football jerseys on this offense to remain stuck in the mud all season long. Coach Bruce Arians announced after the game that the team will be “very, very careful” with Palmer in the concussion protocol. On a short week, the veteran signal-caller’s status is in doubt for Thursday’s game at San Francisco.

2. Arizona’s offensive woes were due in no small part to a pressuring Rams defense led by Aaron Donald. The All Pro defensive tackle generated 1.5 sacks and four QB hits, teaming with Eugene Sims on a high-low takedown that knocked Palmer out of a 13-10 game late in the fourth quarter. Donald and Robert Quinn have been as disruptive as any tackle-end tandem in football this season, setting the tone for a swarming defense that has bounced back in a big way from an embarrassing 28-0 shellacking in the season opener.

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Mitchell And Ness Diamondbacks #20 Luis Gonzalez Purple Throwback Stitched MLB Jersey3. The Cardinals made it a point to get John Brown jersey involved after the speedy wideout’s role was deemphasized in September due to a concussion that sidelined him for the majority of training camp. Brown corralled 10 of a career-high 16 targets for 144 yards while Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd combined for eight catches and 98 yards on 14 targets. Unreliable at the point of the catch, Floyd has been as disappointing as any starting receiver this season. Look for Brown to remain a key cog in the aerial attack, perhaps even at Floyd’s expense.

4. Todd Gurley was stonewalled on the ground once again, lowering his per-carry average to 2.63 yards this season. It took four games, but the Rams finally decided to bypass the offensive line on occasion to highlight Gurley’s playmaking ability as a receiver. He contributed 49 yards on five receptions, including an impressive first-down conversion that set up Brian Quick’s game-winning touchdown.

5. Case Keenum plays like the youngest brother in a backyard with Tony Romo and Ryan Fitzpatrick. He shares the same penchant for keeping broken plays alive and bedeviling defenses with his feet even if his arm is barely NFL caliber. He hasn’t been a major liability since the Rams were shut out in a dismal Week 1 performance.

6. Returning from ACL surgery, Tyrann Mathieu has been outplayed thus far by fellow Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson who is off to a Pro Bowl start at the season’s quarter-pole. After staking its claim as one of league’s stingiest big-play secondaries last season, Arizona’s defensive backfield has struggled early this year. The cornerback spot opposite All Pro Patrick Peterson remains an Achilles’ heel, as Marcus Cooper was beaten twice by Brian Quick for difference-making plays.

7. It’s easy to see why the Cardinals elected to let Dwight Freeney walk in favor of second-year pass rusher Markus Golden jersey. Borrowing Freeney’s trademark spin move, Golden took Keenum down for his fourth sack of the young season. He and bookend edge rusher Chandler Jones have totaled eight sacks this year — one apiece in each game.

8. Jeff Fisher needs a more astute replay advisor in his headset. The Rams challenged two separate plays that were clearly not catches, including one Brian Quick diving drop that hit the ground twice.

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Buffalo used a combination of both strategies to force Palmer into a shaky performance in Week 3. Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman mixed in some Cover 1, with the corners shadowing from distance to complement their “quarters” coverage looks. The corners varied their techniques to keep Arizona’s receivers on their toes, but it was apparent they were instructed to stay on top of their assigned pass catchers instead of playing from a trail or hip-pocket position. As a result, the Bills were able to keep the ball in front of the defense and eliminate the big plays that fuel the Cardinals’ offense.

Looking at the stats, the tactics have worked well. This season, Palmer has completed just 43.6 percent of his passes that travel 10-plus air yards, for a 47.6 passer rating and a 1:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Last season, Palmer posted a 55.4 percent completion rate on such passes, along with a 106.8 passer rating on the strength of a 19:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

While Palmer will bear the brunt of the criticism for those poor numbers, I think some of the blame should fall on the shoulders of the Cardinals’ receivers for their inability to create separation on the perimeter. Michael Floyd, in particular, has struggled to get away from coverage on the outside. Floyd also leads the team in drops (three) and hasn’t put his stamp on the game like a dominant playmaker should. In addition, opponents have made a concerted effort to take away John Brown and cheap Pittsburgh Steelers jerseys on vertical routes. Last season, he tallied six catches of at least 40 yards, but he has yet to deliver an explosive play in 2016.

While the 33-year-old Larry Fitzgerald has played at a high level, he is certainly not a deep threat at this stage of his career. Thus, the Cardinals are forced to play small ball with cheap jerseys in a scheme that doesn’t feature a lot of “dink and dunk” concepts. Until Arians tweaks his game plan or the Cardinals’ receivers find a way to shake free from the smothering coverage on the perimeter, Palmer will continue to look like an aging quarterback losing his game, despite possessing the physical tools to play at an elite level.

Cardinals want Brady to play: ‘Don’t want any excuses’

The Arizona Cardinals hope Tom Brady is granted another chance to fight his four-game suspension.

The New England Patriots quarterback would miss the season’s opener on Sunday Night Football against he Cards if the suspension is upheld. On Monday, Brady’s lawyers filed a petition for a rehearing of his suspension case against the NFL before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

In a non-official poll taken by the Arizona Republic jersey, the majority of Cardinals hope Brady earns the hearing and has his suspension lifted or at least delayed.

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“I wouldn’t be a competitor if I said ‘not,'” inside linebacker Deone Bucannon said. “I’m a competitor and he’s one of the best to ever do it with NFL China jerseys wholesale. It would be awesome to play against him.

“I want them at their best because we’re definitely going to be at our best.”

It wasn’t just players who hope Brady wins his appeal — you’d expect NFLPA members to mostly back their union brethren. Coaches also hope the Pats quarterback is on the field.

“I don’t want any excuses,” offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Harold Goodwin said. “The level we’re at right now as an organization, as a team — because we think we’re one of the best teams with wholesale authentic jerseys in the National Football League — hey, when we’re playing another team we want them to be at full capacity, too.

“Down the road, I don’t want to hear ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda,’ because they’re missing a guy. Obviously, I would like Tom to play.”

Still, some like Larry Fitzgerald jersey, in his seemingly endless wisdom, cautioned to be careful what you wish for.

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The Cards grabbed talented but troubled defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche with the No. 29 overall pick.

One of the top interior talents in the 2016 draft, Nkemdiche tumbled down draft boards after questions about his motor and off-the-field questions, stemming from falling out of a fourth-floor window last December.
“There were some things I did off the field and these were repercussions,” Nkemdiche told NFL Media’s Deion Sanders when asked why he fell on draft day.

Nkemdiche couldn’t have landed in a better place. He’ll get plenty of opportunities on a D-line that needed and infusion of talent and cheap jerseys. Coach Bruce Arians is also an exceptional motivator, who keeps his players in line.

The Cards proved they could help troubled prospect overcome question marks and release his talent, as they did with Tyrann Mathieu in 2013.

If Nkemdiche has his head on straight, the Cards’ weak point could be a strength in 2016. Arizona added Chandler Jones via trade this offseason and Calais Campbell continues to be one of the most dominant interior defenders game in and game out.

The Cardinals are shoring up depth at the linebacker position.

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Nike Cardinals #13 Jaron Brown Red Team Color Men's Stitched NFL Limited Tank Top JerseyArizona has signed former Chargers linebacker Donald Butler jersey, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, according to sources informed of the move.

Butler was released by San Diego in March, just two years after signing a lucrative seven-year, $51.8 million contract with the Chargers. The move saved San Diego $9.41 million in salary-cap space, but sent Butler packing unexpectedly. A fixture on the Chargers’ defense for four years after being drafted in 2011, he had his worst showing in 2015, totaling just 43 combined tackles over a full 16-game slate.

Butler will hope to factor into the Cardinals’ plans at inside linebacker, the defense’s weakest position group. He will compete for a starting role with desert veterans Kevin Minter and Deone Bucannon jersey.

Both clubs have accomplished, veteran starters in Carson Palmer and Philip Rivers, but with both in their mid-30s, the time could be right for either club to acquire a young quarterback to develop in an apprentice role. With just 10 career starts at OSU, and after losing his starting role with the Buckeyes midseason last year, Jones is considered authentic jerseys and more of a developmental NFL prospect than an immediate answer for a team in need of a starter. As such, he could be a strong fit with either team.

The Cardinals have also had a private workout with Jones, as have the Buffalo Bills. With Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor having just one more season left on his contract, Buffalo could be yet another destination where Jones could spend his rookie year learning from the bench, and preparing for what could potentially be a better opportunity to play in Year 2.

For a developmental prospect, however, the price could be steep. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, and with highly impressive arm strength, Jones could be chosen as high as the second round, according to NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

Tom Brady’s drama-filled season always pointed to Super Bowl LI

Since the first week of the season, it has seemed inevitable that it would end this way, with Tom Brady jersey in his seventh Super Bowl and two years of drama finally winding down to one final scene.

From the moment the New England Patriots beat the Arizona Cardinals in the one game they seemed most likely to lose without Brady — on the road, in prime time, in the first start of Jimmy Garoppolo’s career — the trajectory of the Patriots’ season was set. That first month certified Bill Belichick’s ability to adapt to his circumstances, without Brady and then, incredibly, without Garoppolo, too, shutting out the Houston Texans jerseys with rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett under center. But everything after — the 13-1 record since Brady came off his suspension, the nearly flawless regular-season statistics, the relentlessness of the Patriots’ offense even after Rob Gronkowski jersey was hurt — was testament to Brady’s own ability to compartmentalize and carry on.

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“The team was 3-1 at that point, so I didn’t want to screw it up,” Brady said this week. “The team was playing great. I just wanted to come in and do my job as best I could. I always try to be the same person and the same leader for our team. I’ve really tried to show up every day and work as hard as I can. That didn’t change in October. That won’t change tomorrow. That won’t change next season.”

But there were subtle changes this year, a barely perceptible frisson of tension that was never far from the smooth surface of Brady’s public persona. He avoided questions about whether this season was about avenging the suspension, but he also never definitively said he was over it. Instead, he said in one recent appearance that perhaps he would share his feelings about Commissioner Roger Goodell after the season was over.

The Patriots seemed unusually relaxed and loose this week, and owner Robert Kraft jersey, who has been the most outspoken about his ire over Brady’s suspension, spoke of it being such a privilege to play in the Super Bowl that he wanted the players to relish and enjoy it. And then, earlier this week, it was revealed just how much was weighing on Brady all this time, and his carefully controlled emotions came ever so slightly loose. He choked up while saying his father is his hero, and not long after came a report by CSN New England that Brady’s mother had been having health issues for more than a year and had been unable to attend a game all season.

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Jonas Gray New England Patriots Nike Women's Game Jersey“It has been a challenging year for my family for some personal reasons,” he said.

In truth, it always has seemed overly simplistic to think that Brady’s superlative performance this season was solely the product of the sting of scorn. Brady uses slights to drive himself like many athletes do — that he was a sixth-round draft pick is fuel that will help propel him all the way to eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — but the suggestion that his suspension was responsible seemed somehow to shortchange everything else about Brady’s extraordinary effort, from his minutely controlled diet to his exacting demands of his teammates.

At 39, he is playing with the precision of his 10-years-younger self. His 67.4 completion percentage is second-best of his career (he completed 68.9 percent in 2007), and his interception rate of 0.5 percent is the lowest of his career. He can still throw a deep ball and slide from pressure in the pocket. Is Brady still angry at the NFL about his suspension? Probably, and perhaps he always will be. Is that why he is as sharp now as when he was 25? Only if you include the fact that one less month of physical battering in September — replaced by games of catch with college players and an Italian vacation with his wife — might mean his body feels fresher this late in the NFL year than it has in any of his previous seasons.

Still, listen closely to Brady in recent days and it is clear that a quest for respect is ongoing.

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“At different parts, I looked at a lot of the guys that I’ve played with over the years, and there was a time when the Patriots weren’t a very good team, and no one gave us a lot of respect,” Brady said. “Teammates like Rodney Harrison jersey, that always said, ‘They don’t respect us! They don’t respect us!’ I think that was always a good metric for us. I think feeling that way and feeling like you need to earn other people’s respect is a great source of motivation for me. I think my main motivation is representing my family, representing my team, representing my teammates, representing our fans. That gets me motivated every week. I want to do great for them. I want to try to go out and win every time we take the field.”

He and the Patriots have done nearly that again. This would seem to be another legacy-defining moment for them, and to reach it, they will have to outduel an offense even more explosive than their own and overcome a fast, young defense. Brady grew up idolizing Joe Montana, and if Brady completes the oddest season of his career with a victory Sunday, he will move ahead of Montana with five Super Bowl championships. Wherever the suspension will be noted on his résumé — and whatever impetus it has provided for this season — it will be overwhelmed by all of those championships.

Tony Dungy once said Peyton Manning jersey had dominated his era like no one except maybe Otto Graham, who played 10 seasons of professional football and took his team to the championship game each season, winning seven of them.

But that was before Brady reached his most recent three Super Bowls, before he won his fourth championship. Before it became clear that a season blemished by suspension might very well culminate in celebration.

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Jets signing former Ravens RB Bernard Pierce

Antonio Cromartie’s return engagement with the New York Jets jerseys has come to end.

The team announced Monday that they have severed ties with the veteran cornerback, who re-signed with the team last March after a one-year stay with the Arizona Cardinals. The move saves the Jets $8 million in salary-cap space.

The move was not unexpected. The Jets’ financial commitment combined with Cromartie’s inconsistent play in 2014 paved the way for the move. Pro Football Focus gave Cromartie a negative season grade and ranked him 103rd among 118 cornerbacks this season.

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Cromartie, a lanky cover corner who was thought to be the Jets’ best pure athlete during his initial Gang Green stay under Rex Ryan jersey, showed signs of slippage in 2015 as he struggled to stay with faster receivers. He improved as the season progressed, but clearly not enough to make the team reconsider.

Per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Cromartie’s release leaves no dead money on the Jets’ books. The Jets paid Cromartie $7 million for his one season of service.

It remains to be seen what kind of market Cromartie will find. He’ll be 32 by opening day, a veteran of 11 seasons and on the other side of his prime. The Jets, meanwhile, will likely turn to the promising Marcus Williams as an in-house replacement to start across from Darrelle Revis.

The chess match between the Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick has been plodding to this point, with neither team scheduled to make any noise before the draft next week.

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Chicago Bears Nike Team Color Limited JerseyBut bringing in a potential replacement for a visit could reset the board pretty quickly.

Brian Hoyer jersey visited Jets on Tuesday so long as Houston-area weather cooperates, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Hoyer, 30, was let go by the Texans over the weekend now that Brock Osweiler is firmly entrenched as the starter.

The timing of the release could end up being serendipitous for Hoyer, who has nearly joined the Jets several times over the course of his career. At a time when the team is still millions of dollars apart from Fitzpatrick with no break in sight, a quarterback of similar pedigree who is asking for less money and is three years younger might be just what general manager Mike Maccagnan is looking for.

Pierce is coming off a disastrous 2015 season that saw him play just seven games and rush for only 11 yards before Jacksonville placed him on injured reserve in December with a calf injury. The 25-year-old back is also set to serve a two-game suspension to open the year after pleading guilty to a DUI charge last October.

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Pierce is no lock to make the roster, but NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted that Khiry Robinson jersey will start camp on the PUP with a leg injury, while the Jets plan to waive running back Zac Stacy with a failed physical designation, per Garafolo. New York still has plenty of backfield depth with Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Dominique Williams and Romar Morris on board.

This might be Pierce’s final shot to make an NFL team after failing to live up to the promise he showed as a rookie with the Ravens in 2012. During that Super Bowl campaign in Baltimore, Pierce rumbled for 202 yards in the playoffs after finishing with 532 yards at 4.9 yards per carry in the regular season. His 3.2 yards per tote in the three years since tells the tale of a player unable to get his career back on track.

The Jets were looking for a camp body and found one. We’d be surprised if Pierce remains a factor come September.