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Arizona Cardinals: Finally

Beaten And Now Battered

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Despite The Tough And Tenacious Team That Had Begun To Show Itself Over The First Few Games, The Arizona Cardinals Are Getting Thin Along The Defensive Front And Nearly Non Existent At The Quarterback Position: Plus Suns and D-backs Tidbits

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By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine

Oct. 7, 2014 — The Cardinals perfect season is no more and the team can blame lady luck as much as Peyton Manning.

But, the Denver quarterback did have something to do with it. Manning lit up the vaunted Cardinals defense to the tune of 479 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 41-20 Broncos victory.

Despite the big offensive game, the Cardinals kept the game close early on, trailing 21-13 at the half and only 24-20 at the end of the first quarter. But, the team couldn’t overcome a huge day from Manning, who became only the second quarterback in history with 500 career touchdowns along with Brett Favre.

Manning’s favorite target all day was wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who gave cornerback Antonio Cromartie fits. Thomas finished the game with eight catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cardinals defense did intercept Manning twice and looked poised to keep Arizona in the game before an injury forced defensive end Calais Campbell out of the game. Tight end Julius Thomas took Campbell out with an illegal chop block that left Cardinals coach Bruce Arians fuming. The penalty negated a touchdown.

Campbell had already picked off Manning in the game before the injury when he jumped the route on a screen pass. The play led to a touchdown run by Andre Ellington that made it a 14-13 Denver lead with just under five minutes left in the first half.

All chances of a Cardinals come back ended when quarterback Drew Stanton left with a concussion in the third quarter. If Stanton and/or injured starter Carson Palmer can’t return soon that leaves rookie Logan Thomas as the starting quarterback, which doesn’t bode well for the team’s season.

During his short stint against Denver, Thomas did thread the needle for an impressive 81-yard catch and run to Andre Ellington. But, he looked uncomfortable and inexperienced for most of the outing.

Suns
Double Dragon is coming to Phoenix. No, I’m not talking about the old school video game and hokey 1990s film spin-off. Rather, the Suns signed star point guard Goran Dragic’s brother Zoran to a two-year deal worth just over $4 million.

Zoran is 25 years old and a tenacious defender like his brother. But, his game is still developing, much like Goran’s during his first stint in Phoenix. Zoran is a bit bigger than his brother, too, and plays the point guard position. His above average defense and developing 3-point shot should find him a few minutes here and there in the Suns’ crowded backcourt.

But, this deal was all about the future. The Suns hope Zoran can develop on the same trajectory as his brother and eventually bring an above average offensive attack to match his defense. That’s not the only reason the team signed him, though.

The Suns hope the signing will convince Goran to stick around next year when he hits free agency and many teams, including the rival Los Angeles Lakers, will be vying for his services.

Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are in full-fledged search mode in an attempt to find a the right manager to steer the rebuilding ship going into next season.

Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com is reporting the team is speaking to eight potential managers: Joe McEwing, Jay Bell, Sandy Alomar Jr., Jim Tracy, Don Wakamatsu, Double-A Mobile manager Andy Green, current hitting coach Turner Ward and Triple-A Reno manager Phil Nevin.

Our own John Guzzon also thinks the Diamondbacks are missing the boat by not looking at their own broadcaster and former manager Bob Brenly.

Out of all of the candidates the team is looking at, Jay Bell is by far the most intriguing. He was a fan favorite on the 2001 team that won the World Series, known for his ‘substitute teacher’ glasses and timely hitting. He’s got some coaching experience under his belt, having served as the Diamondbacks bench coach from 2005-2006, Pirates hitting coach in 2013, and the Reds bench coach last season.

Ultimately, it will probably be McEwing who gets the job. He has a history playing under Diamondbacks President of Baseball Operations Tony LaRussa when both were with St. Louis. And, LaRussa loves hiring his old players who “buy in” to his baseball philosophy (see: new General Manager Dave Stewart).

Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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