NFC West: Terrelle Smith

Kevin KolbChristian Petersen/Getty ImagesSigning Kevin Kolb signals that the Cardinals are ready to bounce back after a transition season.

Kevin Kolb's arrival from Philadelphia gives the Arizona Cardinals renewed hope at quarterback and clear direction following Kurt Warner's retirement.

It provides a fresh start after a forgettable 2010 transition season for Arizona.

So much has changed for the Cardinals since their Super Bowl appearance following the 2008 season. Other rosters around the league have turned over since then, of course, but not every team was coming off a Super Bowl appearance.

Quite a few teams have sought change. For the Cardinals, it just happened.

Warner's departure, while easily the biggest change, was far from the only one. Between five and eight starters from that Super Bowl game project as starters in 2011, depending upon how many of the team's unrestricted free agents re-sign.

When Steve Breaston left the Cardinals for Kansas City this week, drawing attention to the cumulative effect of Arizona's roster upheaval, a Seahawks fan drew parallels between Seattle's post-Super Bowl decline and the Cardinals' plight last season.

"Don't misunderstand," Ricky Frey wrote on my Facebook wall, "I'm a Hawks fan, but it seems eerily familiar to watch this happen and know what happened to Holmgren/Mora. Writing on the wall?"

Not if Kolb has anything to say about it. Acquiring a relatively young, potentially ascending quarterback puts Arizona in position to avoid the decline Seattle experienced as a Matt Hasselbeck struggled with injuries while the roster around him withered away. The NFC West remains in transition overall, and the Cardinals know it.

"It’s obviously winnable, but it’s funny to think that everybody thinks you can just step in and win it," Kolb told reporters Friday. "You’re talking about NFL football teams here. I know last year 7-9 is what won it, but it doesn’t matter. ... The door is open, we know, and we’ll be ready to kick it in when it’s time, but it’s not going to be an easy task."

Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Darnell Dockett, Adrian Wilson and the recently re-signed Lyle Sendlein started for Arizona in the Super Bowl and remain starters in 2011. Another starter from that Super Bowl game, Gerald Hayes, was released this week. Three more are becoming unrestricted free agents: Deuce Lutui, Bryan Robinson and Gabe Watson.

Six Arizona starters from that game are retired or did not play last season: Mike Gandy, Warner, Edgerrin James, Terrelle Smith, Chike Okeafor and Monty Beisel. Seven more play for other teams: Reggie Wells, Leonard Pope, Anquan Boldin, Antonio Smith, Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle and the recently traded Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Some were role players. Others were tougher to replace.

Breaston was a backup on that team, but he played extensively as the third receiver and finished the season with more than 1,000 yards.

Kolb's addition headlined a flurry of transactions the Cardinals announced Thursday and Friday.

Sendlein, safety Hamza Abdullah, cornerback Michael Adams, tackle D'Anthony Batiste, center Ben Claxton, punter Ben Graham, fullback Reagan Maui'a and tight end Stephen Spach re-signed.

Five draft choices have signed. Guard Daryn Colledge, defensive end Nick Eason, tight end Jeff King, receiver Chansi Stuckey and linebacker Stewart Bradley have signed as free agents from other teams.

Re-signing Sendlein while adding Kolb, Colledge and Bradley suggests the 2011 team is still coming together, not necessarily falling apart.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The latest in our periodic spin around the NFC West radio dials:

49ers


KNBR680: Coach Mike Singletary.

KNBR680: Center Eric Heitmann.


Cardinals


XTRA910: Safety Adrian Wilson.

azcardinals.com: Coach Ken Whisenhunt.

KNBR680: Former coach Dennis Green.

XTRA910: Former fullback Terrelle Smith.


Seahawks

KJR950: Former coach Mike Holmgren, part one.

KJR950: Holmgren, part two.

710ESPN: John Clayton on Edgerrin James.

KJR950: Safety Jordan Babineaux.

Rams
101ESPN: Receiver Donnie Avery.

101ESPN: Coach Steve Spagnuolo.
As always, please leave links to additional audio in the comments section. I try to find it all.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Terrelle Smith's signing with the Lions after two seasons with the Cardinals comes as no surprise after Arizona signed free-agent fullback Dan Kreider.

The Lions announced Smith's signing. Smith, entering his 10th NFL season, visited the Lions earlier in the week.

With Smith off the market, only two of the Cardinals' unrestricted free agents remain unsigned: offensive lineman Scott Peters and tight end Jerame Tuman.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

A quick look at 53-man rosters from Feb. 1, date of Super Bowl XLIII, provides a reference point for seeing how NFC West teams have changed so far this offseason.

I'll continue with Arizona.

Gone from the Cardinals' 53-man roster and injured reserve list in the 58 days since the Super Bowl (9):

Offense

Pat Ross, C

J.J. Arrington, RB

Terrelle Smith, FB

Jerame Tuman, TE

Scott Peters, OL

Defense

Eric Green, CB

Monty Beisel, LB

Antonio Smith, DE

Special teams

Nathan Hodel, LS

(Read full post)

Arizona Cardinals 2009 UFA Watch
Pos. Status
Kurt Warner
QB
Re-signed
Brian St. Pierre
QB
Re-signed
Clark Haggans
LB
Re-signed
Ben Graham
P
Re-signed
Bryant McFadden
CB
Added
Jason Wright
RB
Added
Bertrand Berry
DE
UFA
Terrelle Smith
FB
UFA
Ralph Brown CB
UFA
Elton Brown
OL
UFA
Scott Peters
OL
UFA
Antonio Smith
DE
Texans
J.J. Arrington
RB
Broncos
Monty Beisel
LB
Chiefs
Eric Green
CB
Dolphins
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kurt Warner and Karlos Dansby won't be leaving the Cardinals this offseason.

That means Arizona accomplished its two primary goals for the offseason, even if the Warner negotiations took a detour. (Dansby signed his one-year tender as a franchise player.)

The chart shows which unrestricted free agents the Cardinals have re-signed, added and lost since the signing period opened Feb. 27. We can also see which of their own free agents remain unsigned. I'll update the other NFC West teams as the day progresses.

Several Cardinals fans have expressed to me concern about possibly losing Bertrand Berry. Older veterans sometimes do wind up signing late. The Cardinals will also presumably look for pass rushers in the draft.

Arizona brought back Berry at a discounted price last season. He wound up playing more than Clark Haggans and nearly as much as Travis LaBoy.

Arizona did not "lose" Antonio Smith, J.J. Arrington, Monty Beisel and Eric Green so much as the Cardinals watched them leave. Yes, they would have liked to keep Smith, but they figured he wouldn't fit into their budget for the position.

Signing Bryant McFadden was a bonus. That move puts the Cardinals in position to field a strong secondary for years to come, health permitting.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

  Wright

Former Browns running back Jason Wright could conceivably fill J.J. Arrington's former role on the Cardinals now that Arizona has agreed to contract terms with him. Though Wright is not a return specialist, his contributions on special teams also made him attractive to the Cardinals.

The agreement, announced by the team, would not appear to affect the Cardinals' draft plans at the position. The team could still use a starting-caliber halfback. Edgerrin James remains on the roster for now. His eventual release still appears likely.

James, Tim Hightower, Chris Vincent, Justin Green and Tim Castille are the Cardinals' current running backs. Castille is a fullback, as is unrestricted free agent Terrelle Smith.

The Scouts Inc. profile for Wright describes him this way:

While he certainly isn't flashy and doesn't have exceptional physical prowess, Wright is tough, determined and very reliable in all facets, including special teams -- where he shines. He doesn't get a lot of action, but is a change of pace to the bruising [Jamal] Lewis. He isn't particularly big, strong, nifty or fast, but he studies the game and gets the very most out of his abilities. He sees the hole and attacks it. He also shows good patience, balance and keeps his feet churning on contact. He has soft hands and consistently secures the ball away from his frame, dropping very few passes. He is very impressive in pass protection.

Wright will not run away from anyone at this level and doesn't have the girth or power to carry the load for an extended period of time. He isn't real abrupt in his cuts and lacks the explosiveness you look for from this position. As a special teams player, he shows grit and enthusiasm. He is also a good tackler and a core contributor in all facets. His best role would be as a No. 3 running back, rather than a No. 2, and a valuable contributor on special teams.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Mike Karney has something in common with quite a few Cardinals fans: He would like to play for the team. Unlike most fans, Karney has a chance, at least in theory.

The veteran fullback is a free agent after the Saints released him. Cardinals fullback Terrelle Smith is an unrestricted free agent. Another fullback, Tim Castille, remains on the roster.

Arizona hasn't made fullback a priority this offseason, for good reason. The team has had a few more pressing matters on its radar, such as re-signing its quarterback.

Karney played at Arizona State. He lives in Arizona. He's on the record saying he wants to play for the Cardinals. The Rams and Seahawks appear more active in considering options at the position. Karney is scheduled to visit the Rams on Tuesday.

Age before beauty: Cardinals free agents

February, 26, 2009
2/26/09
10:22
AM ET
Arizona Cardinals 2009 UFA Candidates
Pos. Age
Kurt Warner QB 37.6
Ben Graham
P 35.3
Bertrand Berry
DE 33.5
Jerame Tuman
TE 32.9
Clark Haggans
LB 32.1
Terrelle Smith
FB 30.9
Monty Beisel
LB 30.5
Ralph Brown
CB 30.4
Scott Peters
OL
30.2
Brian St. Pierre QB 29.2
Antonio Smith
DE 27.3
Eric Green
CB 26.9
Elton Brown
OL 26.7
J.J. Arrington
RB 26.0

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Nine of the Cardinals' scheduled unrestricted free agents are at least 30 years old.

Only the Patriots (13) and Broncos (nine) have as many 30-plus players scheduled to hit the market when the signing period opens. The Rams and Seahawks are close behind with eight apiece. The 49ers have only three.

Antonio Smith is the Cardinals' only clearly ascending unrestricted free agent still in his 20s. The chart ranks the Cardinals' unrestricted free agents from oldest to youngest, with ages rounded down to the tenth.

J.J. Arrington can be an effective player in a change-of-pace role. The Cardinals liked what he brought to their four-receiver package at times last season, as detailed here.

Two players on the list started at least half the games last season: Kurt Warner and Smith.

What cap space means in NFC West

February, 6, 2009
2/06/09
1:09
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Marco from Las Cruces writes: I have seen it mentioned before, but do you have any numbers on the NFC West teams and their salary cap space going into next season?

Mike Sando: A month has passed since Marco dropped that question into the NFC West mailbag. The Cardinals' deeper-than-expected run through the NFL playoffs accounted for some of the delay in responding, but mostly I wanted to provide an answer with meaningful context. We are now in position to do that.

  NFLTA: Warner's future
  NFL.com Video
  Veteran QB Kurt Warner talks about whether he'll return to the Cards next season.

The first thing to understand is that an NFL team's salary-cap space usually doesn't reflect how much money the team has to spend in free agency. As counterintuitive as that sounds, it's true -- and that's why "cap space" is overrated in attempting to gauge a team's options.

Think of your personal finances. Having $5,000 in a checking account may or may not mean you can afford that $2,500 plasma television. You might have automatic deductions for a mortgage and car payments looming. You might have a paycheck on the way. You might have all of these transactions to consider, which makes that $5,000 balance meaningless on its own.

Back to the NFC West.

Let's start our salary-cap exercise with the Cardinals.

The latest internal NFL data shows Arizona with about $40 million in salary-cap space three weeks before free agency. That is the highest figure in the league.

But what does that mean?

In theory, the Cardinals could sign Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers, Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and their own free agents, including quarterback Kurt Warner, without using that much cap space.

We could deduce as much from considering the 2009 salary-cap charges associated with the highest-paid players at defensive end (Jared Allen, $11.45 million) and defensive tackle (Tommie Harris, $9.1 million) while assuming Warner's new deal might count about $10 million against the cap.

But the reality is much different.

The Cardinals have fewer than 40 players signed for 2009, meaning millions more will vanish when they fill out their roster. Some of that cap space will go toward signing draft choices.

Once the Cardinals account for other cap charges -- incentives from 2008, salary escalators for 2009 and future miscellaneous expenses relating to various reserve lists -- their functional cap space figures to stand between $20 million and $25 million heading into free agency.

Even that figure is a bit optimistic.

Re-signing their own free agents, notably Warner and linebacker Karlos Dansby, could require more than $15 million in cap space.

The Cardinals would still have enough left over to pursue a high-profile free agent, but an aggressive approach to the market could require trade-offs.

With that, we take a comprehensive look at where NFC West teams stand in relation to the salary cap:

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic checks in with Pat Tillman's close friend and former Cardinals teammate, who still agonizes over losing the military dog tags Tillman gave him before dying in Afghanistan.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic sizes up Larry Fitzgerald's hands. They're big.

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic shares Terrelle Smith's story. The Cardinals' fullback grew up around the group home his mother operated.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic examines the relationship between Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Also from Somers and McManaman: Warner's thoughts on the Hall of Fame.

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune looks at the relationship between Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill, who moved the team from St. Louis two decades ago. Told that some longtime fans in St. Louis are breaking out their old Cardinals gear, Bidwill smiled and came through with a classic line: "Please tell them that we have up-to-date merchandise available."

Niners general manager Scot McCloughan answers questions in his latest mailbag entry. He says the 49ers would like Reggie Smith to develop as a corner before they consider him at safety. He describes as a priority adding a big-play receiver. 

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle recaps the 49ers' search for an offensive coordinator before quoting former Raiders executive Mike Lombardi as saying the team erred in firing Mike Martz.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat shows where Jimmy Raye's offenses ranked over the years with Raye as coordinator. Those teams produced three winning records in 12 seasons, including one since 1984.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says 49ers coach Mike Singletary has some explaining to do following a prolonged search for an offensive coordinator. Singletary has not spoken publicly since Dec. 31.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News provides an old quote from Norv Turner hailing Raye for his coaching and communication skills.

John Morgan of Field Gulls explains how David Hawthorne and Will Herring could replace Leroy Hill in the Seahawks' defense next season. He thinks Seattle would suffer some in run defense, improve slightly in pass defense and save lots of money.

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee says longtime Seahawks assistant Dwaine Board will coach the Raiders' defensive line.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains how the Rams' personnel department will take shape with Mike Williams onboard from the 49ers. Rams general manager Billy Devaney thanks McCloughan, his 49ers counterpart, for allowing Williams to pursue this opportunity. Devaney: "To be honest, Scot McCloughan deserves a lot of credit because it's kind of unusual for a personnel guy to be moving this close to free agency. It's a classy move by Scot, because it's a great opportunity for Mike Williams to advance his career." 

Also from Thomas: The Rams added two more assistants for head coach Steve Spagnuolo. Bruce Warrick fills an operations role. Andre Curtis will help with the defense. 

The drive that moved mountains

January, 18, 2009
1/18/09
10:44
PM ET
 
  Jamie Squire/Getty Images
  Arizona's Kurt Warner and receiver Larry Fitzgerald hooked up a number of times in Sunday's 32-25 win over Philadelphia.

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- This is how it works when your last NFL Championship Game was in 1947. You take a 24-6 halftime lead in this year's NFC Championship Game. Then you collapse in the second half, take your dubious spot in the NFL record book and start getting ready for next year.

That fate seemed likely Sunday for the Cardinals. Arizona was poised to join a short list of teams that have given up an 18-point lead in the postseason. Philadelphia had stormed back to take a 25-24 lead early in the fourth quarter, and a sellout crowd at University of Phoenix Stadium had turned silent.

But with 10 minutes, 39 seconds left in the game, the Cardinals stopped being ... well, they stopped being the Cardinals. They put aside 61 years of misery and produced a drive that propelled them to the doorstep of immortality.

"What we did," said receiver Steve Breaston, "is what you do to win championships."

Yes, the Cardinals fashioned a 14-play, 72-yard drive that consumed nearly eight minutes and ended with Tim Hightower's 8-yard touchdown reception. The march included a risky fourth-down conversion and a smart misdirection call on the touchdown.

How did the Cardinals pull themselves together and launch themselves into Super Bowl XLIII with a 32-25 win? Let's take a second look.

The first huddle of the drive was surprisingly calm, according to Hightower and quarterback Kurt Warner. Remember, the offense had managed just 29 yards and one first down on its three second-half possessions. Players might have been shell-shocked, but they were composed.

"I didn't seen any panic," Warner said. "I think that was the thing. There wasn't a whole lot that was said. We knew what we had to accomplish. Nobody was panicking. Nobody was crazy or hyperventilating or anything like that. We just told ourselves ... that we've done some good things today and now we just need to do it one more time. Guys were calm and collected and believed we could drive the ball down the field and do our business."

The Drive
Trailing 25-24 in the fourth quarter, Arizona's Kurt Warner orchestrated a memorable drive against the Eagles that gave them a trip to the Super Bowl.
Score at the start 25-24, Eagles
Time remaining 10:39, 4th
Plays 14
Yards 72
Comp-Att 5-5
Pass yards 56
TD-INT 1-0
Passer rating 152.9
TOP 7:52
Passer rating 152.9
Score after drive 32-25, Cardinals

What could inspire such confidence? According to Hightower, the Cardinals had played much worse during a 2-4 stretch in the final six games of the regular season. They had rallied to win a pair of playoff games after that slump, giving them reason to believe they could revive themselves Sunday.

"We've had a lot of ups and downs this year," Hightower said. "We've been at the highest point you can be, and we've been in the lowest point you can be a couple of times. So we just needed to keep a level head. We've shown to ourselves that we can figure out a way to come out on the other side."

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley had a plan, too. The Cardinals had run the ball well in building up their first-half lead, and Haley was determined to start grinding against an Eagles defense that he felt was wearing down. Of the 14 plays he called on the drive, nine were runs.

"We just needed to get back to what we were doing in the first half," Haley said.

The biggest run came on fourth-and-1 from the Eagles' 49-yard line. Nearly eight minutes remained in the game, and failing to convert would have turned the ball back to the Eagles in a position where they could easily add to their lead. But Haley and coach Ken Whisenhunt were convinced they could gain a yard on a zone blocking play that Hightower has excelled at all season.

"I just felt like we were going to get it," Whisenhunt said. "It wasn't a hard call."

The play required Hightower to follow fullback Terrelle Smith to the right side and react to what he saw. But Smith didn't immediately target a defender, so Hightower took the risky path of turning parallel to the line of scrimmage and heading outside. Running backs don't always turn the corner in those situations, but Hightower stutter-stepped as he waited for the blocking to materialize. Smith eventually got a piece of Eagles cornerback Quintin Mikell. Hightower squeezed around the block, squared himself and gained six crucial yards.

"My job on that play is to get a first down," Hightower said. "That's what I've got to do. I've got to get a first down. Plays rarely go where they're supposed to. I got to read the fullback's block. If it takes me inside, it takes me inside. If it takes me outside, it takes me outside. It was definitely a risk to move outside, but I've got enough confidence in my fullback."

The play provided Arizona crucial momentum. Warner followed with an 18-yard pass to receiver Larry Fitzgerald, putting the Cardinals in field goal range. Then Haley went to work on whittling down the clock, calling running plays on four of the next five plays.

  Eagles-Cardinals highlights
  NFL.com Video
  Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald fool Philly for a fancy 62-yard touchdown.

That left the Cardinals facing a third-and-goal from the Eagles' 8-yard line. Philadelphia called a timeout to preserve some time, and during the stoppage Haley and Warner settled on a play that would take advantage of a perceived tendency and likely catch the Eagles off-guard.

According to Warner, the Cardinals often run a short screen to receiver Anquan Boldin in those situations. Arizona felt confident the Eagles would be expecting it and would send a heavy blitz to clog the passing lanes. The play called for Warner to fake to Boldin, who was lined up on the far right side of the formation, and then find Hightower for a backside screen.

The Eagles did not blitz, but that decision actually worked to the Cardinals' favor. Linebacker Stewart Bradley backed off the line of scrimmage at the last second, freeing several offensive linemen to get downfield ahead of Hightower. One of them was tackle Mike Gandy, who sealed off Bradley as Hightower rumbled into the end zone.

"I think it fooled them a little bit," Warner said. "They probably expected something to the outside."

Instead, the Cardinals took a 32-25 lead with the ensuing two-point conversion. The had moved 72 yards -- along with a few figurative mountains -- in a matter of minutes.

"I think it speaks a lot to our team and how we've grown up as far as being able to respond," Whisenhunt said. "That was really a drive. ... [It] really is an indication of our growth as a team, and that's what it is really about."

Around the NFC West: Cardinals fold in cold

December, 22, 2008
12/22/08
10:04
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals looked anything but playoff ready during their 47-7 defeat at New England.

Also from Somers: The Cardinals refused to blame the weather for their poor performance.

More from Somers: Despite holding out players with an eye to the playoffs, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt says Arizona needs to beat Seattle in the regular-season finale.

More still from Somers: In his view, the Arizona defense has lost its desire.

And this from Somers: Matt Cassel and Matt Leinart faced different obstacles in the meeting of former USC quarterbacks.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals took one look at the snow and decided they couldn't beat the Patriots.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com quotes Cardinals fullback Terrelle Smith as saying an 8-8 record would be unacceptable for Arizona.

Also from Urban: A look at Leinart's experience.

More from Urban: Whisenhunt uses the word "unacceptable" to describe his team's performance.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals-Patriots outcome was as easy to predict as the weather.

Also from Tulumello: Leinart struggled upon replacing Kurt Warner, but he did throw a long touchdown pass.

More from Tulumello: The Cardinals needed more than an hour to get to the stadium after getting stuck behind a snow plow.

Cardinals starting fullback inactive

December, 14, 2008
12/14/08
2:59
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Cardinals have named Terrelle Smith among their inactive players after the fullback missed practices while tending to a death in the family.

With Smith inactive, the Cardinals left active three of their four tight ends. Stephen Spach, Ben Patrick and Leonard Pope are active. Jerame Tuman is inactive.

The Cardinals generally do not use a tight end in the backfield as a fullback. Tim Castille becomes their primary fullback.

Arizona already appeared likely to favor three- and four-receiver personnel groupings against the Vikings. That's what the Cardinals use against most opponents, and the strategy would seem logical against the Vikings' strong run defense. Take away the starting fullback and all signs point to the Cardinals sticking with their pass-happy ways.

I will be interested in seeing whether the Cardinals attempt to run the ball from passing formations and personnel groups.

Around the NFC West: Cardinals can clinch

November, 27, 2008
11/27/08
9:41
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic quotes Cardinals fullback Terrelle Smith as saying he would rather "beat the livin' snot" out of the Eagles than experience a normal Thanksgiving. Bulletin board, here we come!

Also from the Republic: The jersey Kurt Warner wore Sunday is headed for the Pro Football Hall of Fame after the Cardinals' quarterback passed 40,000 career yards (NFL, World League, Arena League).

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals are fighting a losing battle playing in the Eastern time zone. "Thanks for reminding me of that," coach Ken Whisenhunt quipped.

Also from Tulumello: a look at how the Cardinals must improve upon their Week 12 performance. Kick coverage tops the list.

Mark Heller of the East Valley Tribune says the Cardinals' ability to handle the Giants' blitzes in Week 12 gives them confidence against the Eagles, even though Warner took 12 hits last week.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals will take an NFC West title any way they can get it, but winning it against the Eagles would provide the most satisfaction.

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer says Warner offered words of encouragement for embattled Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Warner: "The one thing I always realize is the cream rises to the top. I believe he's one of those guys that is the cream of the crop. I believe he is one of the best in the league and he's going to show that again whether that's Thursday night or the following weekend or wherever he goes moving forward. He's going to separate himself like he always has."

Reuben Frank of phillyburbs.com sizes up Warner's case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's an intriguing one.

Geoff Mosher of the Delaware News Journal says much has changed since Warner's previous visit to Philadelphia, made as a member of the Giants in 2004. Tom Coughlin benched Warner with 2 minutes remaining in that game.

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