- Mike Sando, NFL Insider
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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic checks in with former Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer, who is spending the weekend at a handball tournament in Seattle. Plummer: "Getting your (backside) kicked all the time was really rough, but (ownership) didn't care one way or the other. They just wanted a stadium. If we won, it was a bonus. But they were right. They have a stadium, and what they promised has become a reality. They have delivered on their word."
The Arizona Republic offers a question-and-answer session with Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, who says getting a new stadium helped turn around the franchise. Bidwill: "We believed so strongly that it would give us the great home-field advantage we'd been lacking, the revenue streams to compete with the rest of the NFL, and ultimately lead to the success we all wanted. Three seasons after opening the stadium, it's rewarding that that all of those things followed."
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals' defense has held up its end.
More from McManaman, with Kent Somers: Anquan Boldin says his hamstring isn't a problem.
Also from Somers: a closer look at what makes Ken Whisenhunt an effective coach.
Also from McManaman: The decision to start Kurt Warner is paying off for Arizona.
More from McManaman: a look at Larry Fitzgerald, followed by a list of the 10 greatest Cardinals.
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says Dennis Green also deserves some credit for the Cardinals' rise.
Mark Maske of the Washington Post says times have changed for the Cardinals. Years ago, leaving the organization seemed to be the first step toward a successful career. Ken Harvey, Jay Novacek and Tim McDonald proved as much.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times picks apart the "no respect" angle. Warner has his back when he says, "Why would we get a lot of respect when we haven't done anything to prove otherwise? It is what it is. It's a process. You're trying to earn respect, as an organization and as a team. It takes year-in and year-out consistency to earn that respect."
Jarrett Bell of USA Today checks in with the least objective reporter covering the NFL playoffs. Says the elder Larry Fitzgerald, a sports reporter by trade: "I understand there's no cheering [in the press box]. I'm there as an objective journalist. On the outside, that's what you see. But inside, I'm high-fiving."
Karen Crouse of the New York Times writes about the hurdles Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie overcame in reaching the NFL. Losing a kidney at age 5 was one of them.
Jim Corbett of USA Today looks at Whisenhunt's quick two-year rise in Arizona.
Bob Romantic and Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune debate which team will win the NFC Championship Game.
Also from Bordow: Cardinals defensive end Antonio Smith hopes his late mother's premonition comes true.
Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says Fitzgerald is well on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Mark Heller of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals are bracing for the Eagles' blitzes.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers appear close to hiring an offensive coordinator. Rick Dennison is no longer a candidate.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers are waiting for former Rams coach Scott Linehan to accept their offer to become offensive coordinator.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat expects Linehan to make a decision by the end of the weekend.
Jim Thomas and Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch try to make sense of the Rams' latest meeting with Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. General manager Billy Devaney had said the interviews of head-coaching candidates were over. Devaney: "Jason didn't know much about St. Louis, and he wanted to look at the facility. We're not close to moving on Jason Garrett. I'm not even going to say he's the leading guy."
Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams would be taking quite a risk by hiring Garrett as their next head coach. Miklasz: "This one floors me. If Garrett is destined to be the next head coach at Rams Park, I never saw it coming. I never took it seriously. I never realized the extent of the apparent man crush that Devaney has on Garrett. And maybe this is all just another head fake by Devaney. Again: who knows?"
Steve Korte of the Belleville News-Democrat says Garrett's visit could suggest he's the front-runner for the job.
Previously from Thomas: Leslie Frazier was looking like the No. 1 candidate.
Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-I
ntelligencer says the Seahawks would rather not select an offensive tackle with the fourth overall choice. General manager Tim Ruskell: "I have never been fond of the high (pick) offensive lineman. It's not a sexy pick and you can't really show highlights."
John Morgan of Field Gulls explains why drafting a cornerback early might not make sense for the Seahawks. If they draft one fourth overall, what does that say about the team's investment in Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings?
Chris Sullivan of Seahawk Addicts takes a look at a mock draft from the Sporting News as it pertains to the Seahawks.