Season over for key Cardinals defender Abraham

New England Patriots Stevan Ridley Men's Elite Navy Blue Nike Jersey A severe concussion has ended John Abraham’s season, and perhaps his career.
Arizona placed the 15-year NFL veteran on injured reserve on Friday.

”You feel bad for somebody who it’s probably the end of their line,” coach Bruce Arians said.

The 36-year-old outside linebacker sustained a concussion in the season opener against San Diego. He left the team briefly after that, reportedly contemplating retirement, before making an attempt to return this week.

‘I think the concussion had a part to do with the depression and everything that went on last week,” Arians said. ”He was excited and ready to roll and hoping to get the OK from the doctor, then to get that kind of news was real hard.”

The extent of the injury became apparent in a concussion test Abraham took on Thursday.

”The concussion protocol really did its job coming back finding a couple of problems,” Arians said. ”The doctors feel that he should shut it down for at least a year. We’re glad we caught it now and not later.”

Asked what those problems were, the coach said he wasn’t smart enough to know what ”all those words” mean, ”but it’s not good.”

It’s the latest in a series of problems to hit the Cardinals.

Quarterback Carson Palmer is out with a nerve injury in his shoulder. The team lost defensive tackle Darnell Dockett for the season with a knee injury in training camp.

Then this week, backup running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on domestic violence charges. The Cardinals quickly placed Dwyer on the non-football illness list, ending his season.

Abraham is the NFL’s active career sacks leader with 133 1/2, ranking him ninth on the league’s all-time list. He had a team-high 11 1/2 sacks with the Cardinals last season and is in the second year of a two-year contract with Arizona.

Abraham had four forced fumbles last season, giving him 48 for his career, tied with Jason Taylor for most in NFL history.

Outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said the team will miss ”just the football experience, a guy that’s played in the league for 15 years and played at that high level.”

Arians said the team will miss Abraham’s leadership, too, calling him ”an extra coach.”

Tight end John Carlson, who has had his own concussion issues, noted how the NFL’s attitude toward those injuries has changed.

”That’s an example of the league being proactive and looking after a guy’s interests,” Carlson said. ”I appreciate that. There’s been such a shift in recent years in the league, starting at the top and that’s a great thing that they’re looking after his long-term health.”

Abraham had a tumultuous early season with Arizona.

He arrived late to training camp, later confirming that he had been undergoing rehabilitation for an alcohol issue. He was arrested in suburban Atlanta in June and accused of drunken driving.

Abraham played six seasons with the New York Jets and seven with the Atlanta Falcons before signing with Arizona as a free agent.

Originally, Abraham was to be only a pass-rush specialist with the Cardinals, but he moved into a full-time role when Arizona lost starting linebackers Sam Acho and Alexander to injury against New Orleans in the third game of last season.

Abraham went on to be one of the top players on a defense that ranked sixth overall in the NFL, earning his fifth Pro Bowl appearance.

Arians said Acho, Alexander and recent signee Thomas Keiser will rotate at Abraham’s position.

The Cardinals also re-signed punter Drew Butler because regular punter Dave Zastudil still is nursing a sore groin. Butler punted in both of Arizona’s games Corey Linsley Elite Jersey but was cut Tuesday.

Butler had a punt blocked in each of his two games with Arizona, but Arians said neither was the fault of the punter. The four punts he did get off averaged 54.5 yards per kick.

Bills WRs Watkins, Woods enjoy complementary start

Robert Woods was a big fan of fellow Bills A.J. Hawk Youth Jersey starting receiver Sammy Watkins long before the two began sharing neighboring lockers.
Watkins can say the same thing about Woods, even though the two attended colleges on opposite coasts.
Woods, who played at Southern California, and Watkins, at Clemson, revealed this week that they spent much of the 2012 season tracking each other’s production to serve as motivation.

”We used to compete with them,” Woods said, referring to the Clemson tandem of Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. ”It was my last year, and one day they had four touchdowns between them. And we were like, ‘All right, we’ve got to get four, too.”’

It was no different for Watkins and Hopkins, who kept tabs on USC’s top tandem of Woods and Marqise Lee.

”Yeah, it’s funny, man. That’s what pushed us every week,” Watkins said. ”You always want to be doing what they’re doing and top them just to keep yourself hungry.”

That rivalry has taken on a complementary – and complimentary – dimension. The two have already begun showing flashes of their dynamic chemistry in helping the Bills to a 2-0 start in preparing to host San Diego (1-1) on Sunday.

Woods had four catches – three for first downs – for a team-best 78 yards in a season-opening 23-20 overtime win at Chicago. Watkins responded with eight catches for 117 yards Aaron Rodgers Authentic Jersey and a touchdown in a 29-10 win over Miami last weekend. The eight catches were the most by a Bills rookie since Joe Cribbs had nine in 1980.

And Watkins’ 117 yards receiving were the most by any Bills player since Stevie Johnson had 137 in 2010 – that’s right, four years ago.
It’s your turn, Robert.

”It’s still early,” Woods said, breaking into a big grin. ”Now I’ve got something to go after.”

The Bills’ big investment in revamping their group of receivers is showing signs of paying off for a team that’s been saddled with a popgun passing attack for much of the past decade. The Bills haven’t cracked the NFL’s top 14 in yards passing since finishing fifth in 2002, when Eric Moulds and Peerless Price were Drew Bledsoe’s top threats.

Woods was the first to arrive in 2013, when the Bills selected him in the second round. Watkins arrived with a splash in May.

General manager Doug Whaley thought so highly of Watkins’ ability that he traded next year’s first-round draft pick to move up five spots and select the receiver with the No. 4 pick.

”I’m extremely impressed,” running back Fred Jackson said of the two.

Jackson referred to Woods as one of his ”favorite people I’ve loved to watch,” because of how physical he is in outmuscling defenders as a receiver and blocker.

As for Watkins, Jackson said: ”Sammy’s still scratching the surface, but he’s got the potential to be one of the better ones that have played here in Buffalo.”

Watkins is a speedster who has shown an ability to find holes in opposing defenses. He’s also been resilient in playing despite sore ribs he first injured during the preseason.

Woods has speed and is also a crisp route runner who has been fearless in making catches in traffic.

Their presence has made it difficult for defense’s to determine which one to shadow with double coverage.

The Bills have further depth with fifth-year receiver Mike Williams, acquired in an offseason trade with Tampa Bay, and second-year speedster Marquise Goodwin.

It’s a group that has Watkins already beginning to track some of the NFL’s top receiving corps to use as motivation.

”We’ve got a lot of room to grow, but I think we can be dominant like Julio (Jones) and Roddy White,” Watkins said, referring to the Atlanta Falcons’ top tandem. ”With them, they could win any game at any time. And that’s the situation we’ve got to get here.”

Senator ties NFL tax status to Redskins name

Green Bay Packers B.J. Raji Men's Elite White Nike Jersey A U.S. senator threatened the NFL with legislation over Washington’s nickname, a letter was dispatched to the other 31 team owners, and the issue was linked to the league’s others recent troubles Tuesday as the anti-”Redskins” movement took its cause to Capitol Hill.

In a news conference that featured Native American, civil rights and religious leaders, Sen. Maria Cantwell took aim at the NFL’s pocketbook by announcing she will introduce a bill to strip the league’s tax-exempt status because it has not taken action over the Redskins name. While prospects for such a bill becoming law would be tenuous, the inevitable hearings before lawmakers would enhance the spotlight on a movement that has gained substantial momentum over the last two years.

”The NFL needs to join the rest of America in the 21st Century,” said Cantwell, D-Wash., the former chairwoman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. ”We can no longer tolerate this attitude toward Native Americans. This is not about team tradition. This is about right and wrong.”

Overall, the message from the ”Change the Mascot” leaders was that they don’t plan to go away, despite Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s vow not to change the name. They presented a letter that will be sent to every NFL owner except Snyder, asking each to use his ”position of authority” to end the league’s ”promotion of a dictionary-defined racial slur.”

Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter said he hoped an owner will take a bold position against the name. He cited Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, who integrated major league baseball by signing Jackie Robinson, and longtime Washington Wizards Mike Neal Elite Jersey owner Abe Pollin, who changed his NBA’s team from Bullets because of the violence associated with the term.

”We’re looking for the Branch Rickey, looking for Abe Pollin,” Halbritter said. ”They’re out there. We know the owners don’t share in this, but they share in the profits.”

Halbritter had harsh words for the league as a whole, referencing the NFL’s handling of health problems suffered by former players, as well as the recent Ray Rice domestic violence saga and the child abuse charge levied against Adrian Peterson.

”The NFL is currently facing an integrity crisis. … While these are different issues, they are joined by a common thread of showing commercial and moral arrogance and a blatant lack of respect for those being negatively impacted,” Halbritter said.

The NFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier Tuesday, the league announced that it has hired a former White House official to help the league with legislative issues. Cynthia Hogan will be the league’s senior vice president of public policy and government affairs and will be based in Washington.

Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie responded to Cantwell’s proposed legislation by citing a poll in the team’s favor.

”Our position remains consistent with more than 80 percent of Americans who do not want to change the Washington Redskins name,” Wyllie said.

The debate over the name could influence the Redskins’ plans to build a new stadium when their lease at FedEx Field, located in D.C.’s Maryland suburbs, expires in 2027. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s delegate to Congress, said the team would have a hard time moving back to the city unless the name is changed.

”I would make every effort in the Congress to make sure they could not come back with that name,” Norton said.

Snyder has said that the Redskins name and logo is meant to honor Native Americans, and the team has promoted American Indians who say they aren’t offended by the name or by the use of the term ”redskin” in general.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., offered a counterargument by displaying an 1863 newspaper front page that included the sentence: ”The state reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory.”

”It can only be money that motivates the NFL with a slur that harkens back to the darkest days, when a white man could get paid for hunting down and murdering an Indian in cold blood for money,” McCollum said. ”This team name is a reminder of that brutal violence.”

Manfred elected next MLB commissioner

New England Patriots Brandon Browner Men's Elite Red Nike Jersey Rob Manfred was elected baseball’s 10th commissioner Thursday, winning a three-man competition to succeed Bud Selig and given a mandate by the tradition-bound sport to recapture young fans and speed play in an era that has seen competition increase and attention Josh McCown Jersey spans shrink.
The 55-year-old, who has worked for Major League Baseball in roles with ever-increasing authority since 1998, will take over from the 80-year-old Selig on Jan. 25. It’s a generational change much like the NBA undertook when Adam Silver, then 51, replaced 71-year-old David Stern as commissioner in February. And like Silver, he was his boss’s pick.

Manfred beat out Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner in the first contested vote for a new commissioner in 46 years. The third candidate, MLB Executive Vice President of Business Tim Brosnan, dropped out just before the start of balloting.

”I am tremendously honored by the confidence that the owners showed in me today,” Manfred said. ”I have very big shoes to fill.”
Selig has led baseball since September 1992, first as chairman of the sport’s executive council following Fay Vincent’s forced resignation and as commissioner since July 1998. After announcing his intention to retire many times only to change his mind, he said last September that he really, truly planned to leave in January 2015.

One baseball executive who attended the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity because details of the 4 1/2-hour session were not be divulged, said Manfred was elected on approximately the sixth ballot. The initial vote was 20-10 for Manfred, three short of the required three-quarters majority.
His total increased to 21 on the second and 22 on the third. While teams put written ballots into envelopes, keeping their choices secret, from team official speeches it was evident that Tampa Bay’s Stuart Sternberg and Milwaukee’s Mark Attanasio likely switched, the person said.

Manfred’s total dropped to 20, then increased to 22 before a dinner break. He got the needed 23rd vote on the next, apparently from Washington. Owners then made the final vote unanimous. The person said it appeared Arizona, Boston, the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati, the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland and Toronto had been the final holdouts.

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Toronto president Paul Beeston spoke out strongly against Manfred, the person said. Angels owner Arte Moreno joined Reinsdorf in leading Werner’s support.

”While Rob may not have been my initial choice for commissioner, the conclusion of a very good process was to name Rob as the person best positioned to help baseball endure and grow even stronger for the next generation of fans,” Reinsdorf said in a statement. ”Today’s decision was reached by 30 owners voting separately but speaking, in the end, with one voice.”

Manfred started with baseball in the late 1980s as an outside counsel in labor negotiations and was hired by Selig as executive vice president for labor relations and human resources in 1998. He received an expanded role of executive vice president of economics and league affairs in 2012 and last September was promoted to chief operating officer, becoming the likely heir apparent. He helped lead negotiations for baseball’s last three labor contracts and the joint drug agreement that was instituted in 2002.
In the last contested election, in 1968-69, owners turned to their outside labor lawyer, Bowie Kuhn.

The 55-year-old Manfred, whose term was not specified, grew up in Rome, New York – about an hour’s drive from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. He must address issues that include decreased interest in baseball among younger people and an average game time that has stretched past three hours.

”There is no doubt in my mind he has the training, the temperament, the experience to be a very successful commissioner,” Selig said, ”and I have justifiably very high expectations.”

Baseball has had labor Josh McCown Elite Jersey peace since a 7 1/2-month strike in 1994-95 that canceled the World Series. Talks to replace the collective bargaining agreement with players that expires after the 2016 season will be conducted with a new union leadership headed by former All-Star first baseman Tony Clark.

”I have known Rob for more than 15 years, and I’m confident that his vast experience in all aspects of the sport will serve his commissionership well,” Clark said in a statement.

Bills’ offense plays dead in red zone

The Buffalo Bills have spent a good chunk of training camp on their red zone offense, but in the preseason games Will Blackmon Authentic Jersey thus far, it has not paid off.
In the 19-16 loss to the Steelers Saturday, the Bills scored a touchdown on just one of four trips into the red zone, settling for two field goals, and failing once with a turnover on downs at the 3-yard-line. The only touchdown in the red zone came after the defense had forced a turnover and the offense took possession at the Steelers 16.
“We’ve done a lot of work in the red zone, so with all the work we’ve done, I was trying to see who’s going to make a play for us down there this season, who’s going to do that, who’s going to force that situation, who’s going to come up,” said coach Doug Marrone. “In the two games we’ve lost, we’ve had a lot of opportunities. I’m going to credit the other team, they’ve done a good job, but we’ve got to be able to score more.”
In the three exhibitions, the Bills have penetrated the red zone 11 times and scored only four touchdowns. Breaking it down, the first-string offense is now 0-for-5 and twice it was stopped on a fourth-and-goal play when Marrone eschewed the field goal attempt. Overall this summer, the first-team offense has had 10 possessions and the results are four field goals, an interception, two punts and three turnovers on downs.
“It was frustrating when we came off the field,” quarterback EJ Manuel said after the Bills were stopped on fourth down late in the first half against Pittsburgh when his pass to tight end Scott Chandler was broken up at the goal line. “I even pleaded with coach Marrone to let us go for it on fourth down. I went to the right place with the ball, the defense just made a good play on it. The past two weeks, we’ve got to capitalize. We have to get that fixed before we play Chicago, we have to score in the red zone.”
There are several things holding the Bills back. For one, the offensive line is a mess right now. Left tackle Cordy Glenn is still working his way back from a medical condition and has not played in any of the games, so rookie Seantrel Henderson is starting. At left guard, starter Chris Williams hasn’t been very good, and now he’s suffering from a back injury and was inactive against the Steelers, so Doug Legursky started in his place. On the right side, right tackle Erik Pears and right guard Kraig Urbik are nothing more than mediocre and are both fighting to hold onto their jobs, so the Bills are really having a tough time in pass protection.
And then there’s Manuel. The second-year pro claims he’s getting better every day, but it’s tough to decipher what he is seeing. Manuel had trouble with his throwing accuracy as a rookie, and that problem has not abated this year. Rarely does he put the ball right where it needs to be, and too often his receivers either can’t make a play on the ball, or have to turn their bodies or reach above or behind them to make a catch.
Against the Steelers Manuel completed 17 of 27 passes for 148 yards, but of the 11 completions, seven were caught by running back Fred Jackson for a meager 28 yards, and four went to Chandler for 40 yards, 24 coming on one play when the Bills were in a third-and-27 and the Steelers were in prevent. Manuel threw only two of his 27 passes at least 20 yards downfield — one was incomplete to Robert Woods who caught the ball out of bounds wide of the end zone, and the other was a seam route down the middle to Chandler that Manuel underthrew for an interception.
“The interception, I went to the right place, I just need to get the ball up for Scott,” Manuel said. “He’s a tall guy, so I have to get it over his head and let him go up and make the catch. The whole night we had long drives, we just didn’t capitalize in the red zone and the goal line.”
Explanations or excuses aside, a case can be made that Buffalo has the worst quarterback depth chart in the NFL and coach Doug Marrone might be starting to realize that.
Asked after the loss to Pittsburgh if he was satisfied with the play of backups Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel, Marrone offered a terse “No.”
One word is all it took. Lewis served as the No. 2 quarterback, starting the third quarter after EJ Manuel had played all of the first half. Lewis compiled a 0.0 QB rating as he completed 1 of 6 passes for 18 yards with an interception. Tuel took over and went 5-for-9 for 48 yards, then lost a fumble on a sack with less than a minute to play which led to Pittsburgh’s game-winning last-second field goal.
The Bills’ coaching staff saw Lewis and Tuel play during the regular season last year when Manuel missed six games due to knee injuries, and they combined Will Blackmon Nike Jerseys to go 2-4, but in none of those games were Lewis and Tuel a difference maker. Both wins came in games Lewis started against Miami, and he was a combined 36 of 57 for 395 yards with no TDs and two interceptions. The failure to sign a competent veteran backup quarterback could come back to haunt the Bills this season if Manuel proves to be injury-prone again. Then again, given Marrone’s one-word response, the Bills may begin to scour the waiver wire to find a legitimate backup when teams begin releasing players.
Notes: Wide receiver Sammy Watkins suffered a rib contusion on the Bills’ first series of the game and his night was done. He appeared to be in pain when he left the field, but Marrone had almost no news on his condition after the game, and an update isn’t expected until Monday night before the Bills resume training camp at St. John Fisher College.

Joint practices changing the NFL’s preseason

The sight of J.J. Watt donning a baseball cap even before the Houston Texans’ first defensive series Mark Barron Authentic Jersey was over said it all: teams are changing the way they treat the preseason.
Starters have traditionally played into the second half of the third exhibition game, a final tuneup for the regular season.

Yet, even Peyton Manning had no need for his helmet when the Denver Broncos returned to the field after halftime against the Texans on Saturday night.

Houston coach Bill O’Brien and Denver coach John Fox figured they’d given their starters plenty of work during three days of intense joint practices during the week.
So, some stars made cameo appearances – if that – and nearly every starter was a sideline spectator by the second-half kickoff.

”Any team will tell you that once you get your full squad together, that’s really what you’re looking for,” Watt said. ”But it’s the preseason and the main thing is getting to the regular season healthy.”

Dialing things back in the third preseason game might just be a blueprint for handling the preseason in the future. And joint practices are the perfect substitute for those snaps the starters are missing.

Joint practices have been a staple of the NFL for years, but they’ve become more popular since the 2011 collective bargaining agreement put an end to the old two-a-days in full gear and limited practice time and the amount of hitting that’s allowed.
Training almost year-round with nutritional programs and cutting edge technologies and techniques means players no longer have to use the preseason to build up strength and stamina.

Instead, veterans can get situational snaps at practice and then watch players on the bubble play on game day because now it’s all about getting through August without a trip to the trainer’s room or doctor’s office.

Nearly half of the league’s 32 teams practiced against another team this summer.

Some, like the Patriots and Texans, practiced against multiple opponents. The Harbaugh brothers got the 49ers and Ravens together following their preseason game.

Washington coach Jay Gruden said joint practices are a good way to get the veterans necessary work because with ”every team in the NFL, the No. 1 unit is limited” in the preseason as it is.
Ratcheting up the intensity during the dog days of August is a good way to break the monotony of training camp, indoctrinate the rookies and get a better gauge on players.

”When you’re seeing the same guys day in and day out, sometimes you get jaded. When you go against another team, I think it gives you a fresh perspective on where you are,” said Titans first-year coach Ken Whisenhunt, who took his team to Georgia for a quick workout against the Falcons.

Joint practices have inherent drawbacks, though.

”There are going to be fights,” Denver left tackle Ryan Clady said. ”It’s kind of the nature of the game.”
When the Cowboys and Raiders got together for a spirited joint session this month, Dallas coach Jason Garrett called it ”as electric an atmosphere as I have been on, on a practice field, really in my life.” Oakland coach Dennis Allen said he almost had to quiet down the crowd at times ”just so we could get some plays off.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn’t mind the two brawls that broke out, either.

”Seriously, that passion, that’s mostly what I’d hoped what we would get out of getting these teams together,” Jones said.

The Texans and Broncos had several skirmishes during their six hours of officiated practices.

”It’s football, there’s testosterone out here and people get excited,” Watt said. ”Practicing with each other for three days, we’re professional athletes, guys get excited, get a little antsy so that’s fine.”

The bad blood boiled over into the game when Manning was whistled for the first taunting foul of his career.
After throwing a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders just before halftime, he rushed up to safety D.J. Swearinger, who was at the center of several scrums last week and whose hard hit one play earlier left Wes Welker with a concussion.

”The week had something to do with it,” Swearinger said. ”The hit right before that had something to do with it, so it’s all football, bro.”

Joint practices will probably become even more popular if the NFL adopts an 18-game regular season and chops the four-game preseason in half.

What made the Texans-Broncos workouts unusual was the timing.

Teams usually get together early in camp, not this late.

The Broncos figure to be hosting opponents for joint practices in the future now that their $35 million indoor practice facility is nearing completion. It has hot tubs, locker Mark Barron Youth Jersey rooms, classrooms. And Fox said he’s open to doing this again, even this late in the preseason.

”The time doesn’t concern me,” Fox said. ”We will evaluate, but my feeling right now is yes.”

One coach who won’t jump on the bandwagon is Kansas City’s Andy Reid, who doesn’t want opponents gleaning any morsel from his team.

”I’ve never been that big on it,” Reid said. ”I know a lot of teams do it, a lot of successful teams do it. I just don’t want to give anyone anything that I don’t have to give.”

Cardinals History of 13: The Luckiest Number

A look at the Cardinals players who wore the number 13

There are 13 days left until the Arizona Cardinals kick off their regular season.

For most people the number 13 is considered Lavonte David Authentic Jersey an unlucky number, however for Cardinals fans the number 13 is almost the luckiest of numbers.

When Cardinals fans think of the number 13 they (should) automatically think of Kurt Warner. In four too short seasons Warner began the transformation of the Cardinals franchise, kick starting the team into a new era for Cardinals football. Before Warner arrived, few Cardinals fans can forget the decade of inept management and ownership that consistently lead to a losing product.

Kurt was considered a player gone over the hill before coming to the Cardinals, he came into the league as an older player and after three fantastic seasons his play had plummeted so far he was replaced by Marc Bulger. Despite poor play for both the Rams and Giants, Warner was given the starting job by former… coach/draftnik, Dennis Green. Though his starting job didn’t last long as three games in Warner was injured. Fans began to throw around the injury prone label at the 34 year old quarterback. After a broken hand in New York and now a pulled groin, it wasn’t looking good for our man Kurt.

However Warner’s backup, Josh McCown was unable to take advantage of the situation and was benched for Warner who ended the season on a high note and a three year contract from the Cardinals.

The following year the Cardinals drafted Matt Leinart. Many fans were excited for Leinart after experiencing his incredible college career. Warner was given the starting job but was shown the bench after having two up games and then two down games. Leinart played well, at first, but had some shaky games (and one 400 yard game against Minnesota). For a moment, Leinart was exciting and brought hope to the fan base but was derailed (permanently it seems) by a broken collar bone in week 16.
And, I feel like I have said this before, Warner was thrust back into starting action and finished the season with a bang.

2007 season rolls around and Warner finds himself on the bench, again, but this time by a new head coach. (If I told you this story without you knowing what happened to Warner, you would assume I made it all up.)

Regrettably for Leinart, it appeared his broken collar bone had done something to his game. He became Captain Check-Down and old Ken Whisenhunt wasn’t having none of that. Warner was (again) placed into the starting roll week three and the rest is history. Kind of. Warner wasn’t great in 2007 but for a 36 year old he looked damn good.

Now the rest of the story you remember well and it’s too bad Warner wasn’t able to bring home a trophy. What he did bring was change to an organization and a fan base. Fans started to expect to see a good product and had blood in their mouths after a trip the Super Bowl. Look at us now, a good HC and GM and finally the right kind of ownership.

However, if you noticed above, I said 13 is almost the luckiest number for Cardinals fans. It brought us a lot, but not everything. That could change Lavonte David Elite Jersey though. While this new 13, Jaron Brown, will likely never have the impact the old one did, this new 13 is starting to make me believe. UDFA to all-time-great? Us Cardinal’s fans can only hope…

Other historic Cardinals players who wore 13:

Don Maynard 1973

Jim Gallery 1987

Chris Jacke 1998-1999

Aaron Nichols 2011

New Bears

New Bears defensive end Jared Allen started every game the past six years for Minnesota. Chicago coach Marc Trestman praised his durability and dependability.

“Certainly, those are big to consistently playing at a high level,” Trestman told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He has all the trademarks. And of course, his love of the game. When you watch him play, you’re saying to yourself, ‘This man loves playing football,’ and he’s been doing it for a very long time at a high level. Our personnel people and our coaches all feel that’s he’s got a lot left, and we believe we’re getting him at a great time.”

Allen turns 32 next week. He has 128.5 sacks in his 10-year career.

The hardest thing for rookie safety Brock Vereen to overcome when he stepped into the huddle with the Bears’ No. 1 defense wasn’t the awe of being in a huddle with Jared Allen, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and others. It wasn’t even mastering the assignments.

It was telling people about it.

“If there’s anything the coaches are hardest on me about, it’s communication,” Vereen said. “That’s a key.” And what exactly do they want to hear from Vereen, particularly since rookies generally should be seen and not heard?

“Anything,” Vereen said, laughing. “The biggest thing they’re drilling into my head is that even if you don’t know what to say, just say something. It’s definitely a difference but if it makes the defense better, that’s what I’ve got to do.

Vereen must be saying mostly correct things, judging from his current billet. To put Vereen in just a bit of context:

Highly regarded safeties Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor were still undrafted when the Bears opted instead for cornerback Kyle Fuller with the No. 14 pick of the first round last May. Right now – which is utterly meaningless, of course – everybody is looking good.

The Packers were right on Clinton-Dix, the Jets on Pryor and the Bears on Fuller: All three are starting exactly where their teams projected them at this point, the safeties starting and Fuller the Bears’ nickel corner and playing well enough to allow the Bears to slide Tim Jennings inside on nickel and match Fuller up opposite Charles Tillman on the outside receivers.

Those successes could reasonably be expected. What has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise through the offseason was what the Bears did to address safety, trading up 35 spots from the fifth round into Denver’s in the fourth round and selecting Vereen from Minnesota.

Vereen has virtually established himself as the player to beat out for the No. 1 free safety position, situated alongside veteran free agent Ryan Mundy. Vereen is in the starting slot that had appeared finally secure in the person of Chris Conte the past two-plus years. Now Conte has perhaps his toughest competition since coming into the NFL via the third round of the 2011 draft, coming back from offseason surgery and needing to overtake an ascending Vereen.