Scott Bordow: Rarely, if ever, are the Arizona Cardinals credited for having as much talent as the NFL’s supposed elite teams. Maybe that’s about to change.
Odd thoughts from an odd mind …
Rarely, if ever, are the Arizona Cardinals credited for having as much talent as the NFL’s supposed elite teams.
Maybe that’s about to change.
Defensive end Darnell Dockett, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and safety Adrian Wilson all were named Pro Bowl starters Tuesday, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made the team.
In addition, quarterback Kurt Warner, punter Ben Graham, kicker Neil Rackers, safety Antrel Rolle, special teams player Sean Morey and tackle Levi Brown — really? — were named alternates.
Dockett, Fitzgerald and Wilson were slam-dunks. All three players are among the best at their position. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s first berth, on the other hand, is a bit of a surprise. He has good numbers — a team-high six interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown — but he also went through a stretch when he was picked on by quarterbacks, and his tackling has been suspect all season.
The big surprise was Graham being beaten out by San Francisco’s Andy Lee. Lee has the higher net average — 41.4 to 40.5 — but Graham has dropped 11 more kicks inside the 20-yard line.
Dockett’s inclusion could be bad news for the Cardinals in that it will only embolden his belief that the team should renegotiate his contract, which expires in 2011. Dockett is playing for less than he’s worth — the extension he signed in 2006 pays him $3.5 million this year — but the club already has reworked his contract once.
That’s an offseason concern, though. For now, let’s recognize Arizona for what it is: A team with an abundance of talent.
Ken Whisenhunt has done a masterful job with the Cardinals, and Alvin Gentry has the Suns back in the playoff hunt, but the coach of the year in Valley sports has to be the Coyotes’ Dave Tippett.
Tippett was hired just 10 days before the season began and inherited virtually the same roster — with the exception of a few low-cost veteran free agents — that finished three games under .500 last year and with 79 points.
After Monday’s shootout loss to San Jose, the Coyotes are 11 games above .500, they’ve already amassed 51 points and they’re just four points behind the Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division.
No one saw this coming. But Tippett brought structure to an organization and a locker room that desperately needed it, and the players have completely bought into his system. If the Coyotes make the playoffs — at this point, there’s no reason they shouldn’t — Tippett is an easy choice for NHL Coach of the Year.
I wrote this in a blog, but I just wanted to reiterate the point here: Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell absolutely made the right call by pulling Peyton Manning and other starters in the third quarter of last Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets.
Yes, the Colts could have made history with a perfect season. But the risk of losing Manning to injury in a meaningless game isn’t worth that reward.
The sole object of the season is to win the Super Bowl, and the only chance the Colts have is for Manning to be healthy. Had he blown out a knee or separated a shoulder in the fourth quarter, the same folks blasting Caldwell for his cautiousness would be lambasting him for having Manning in the game.
One last point: The Colts don’t have to win the Super Bowl to validate Caldwell’s decision. It was the right move, no matter what transpires in the postseason.
HALL OF FAME BALLOT
I’ll admit it. I’m not one of those guys that spends hour poring over statistics when I consider my baseball Hall of Fame ballot, which I mailed in Wednesday for the 2010 class.
It’s not that I ignore the numbers. But I’m more of a feel guy.
That’s why Lee Smith didn’t get my vote and Jack Morris did. It’s why I didn’t check off the box for Edgar Martinez but said yes to Andre Dawson.
For the record, here are the seven players I voted for: Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven (it’s a crime he’s not in already), Dawson, Barry Larkin, Morris, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell.
Todd Zeile? Sorry.