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Arizona Cardinals’ Justin Bethel Hopes to Make Pro Bowl as Cornerback Some Day

January 26th, 2015 at 4:58 AM
By Steve Smith

Justin Bethel of the Arizona Cardinals is arguably the best special teams player in all of football. He participated in his second straight NFL Pro Bowl last night in Glendale – a fine honor – but someday he'd like to return to the all-star extravaganza as one of the elite cornerbacks in the game.

Just like teammates Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie.

The Sumter, SC native can help his team win by blocking a punt or field goal and by downing a punt inside the one-yard line. The Red Birds would probably have not made the playoffs without him. No one is better in special teams than the talented Bethel but he aspires for even greater heights.

“It’s definitely motivation to take it to the next level,” Bethel said via the team's website. “The next great thing to do is get in as a player. I’ve made it on special teams. Now it’s time to up my game and make it as a corner.”

He certainly has the athletic ability to do it.

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Arizona Cardinals Saturday Storylines: Four Red Birds Preparing for Pro Bowl; Larry Fitzgerald Update

January 24th, 2015 at 10:30 AM
By Steve Smith

Good Saturday morning Cardinals fans. There is not a whole lot going on in the desert these days but here are a few storylines as you sip your morning coffee:

NFL Pro Bowl: The 2015 version of the NFL Pro Bowl takes place tomorrow in the valley – University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale – kickoff is slated for 6 PM local time as Team (Michael) Irvin battles Team (Cris) Carter.

Four Arizona players are slated to compete – Calais Campbell, Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie and special teamer Justin Bethel – all ironically are on Team Carter. Smart man that Mr. Carter.

This will be Campbell's first Pro Bowl and the honor is long overdue. The University of Miami product registered 58 tackles and seven sacks for the 11-6 Cards this past season. He also added one interception and one forced fumble. Campbell was one of the reasons why the Red Birds had one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL.

Larry Fitzgerald: Nothing much new to report here but the Cardinals are expressing optimism that the eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver may return to Arizona for the 2015 NFL campaign.

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Will Cornerback Antonio Cromartie Be Returning to the Arizona Cardinals?

January 23rd, 2015 at 1:23 PM
By Steve Smith

Whether Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie returns to the team for the 2015 NFL season may depend on who the Red Birds hire as their new defensive coordinator.

The 31-year-old defensive back can become a free agent in March. If the Cards want him back, the choice of Arizona's new defensive coordinator – whoever that may eventually be – will influence his decision on whether he'll return to the desert or not.

“Honestly, I think it’ll play a role,” Cromartie said via espn.com.

Arizona is searching for a new DC once Todd Bowles left to become the new head coach of the New York Jets. Cromartie is currently practicing for the Pro Bowl which will take place Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Once the new defensive coordinator is named, the four-time Pro Bowler will get a better feel whether everything fits into place for him in Arizona.

“It’s just a point of understanding what kind of defensive scheme it will be,” Cromartie stated. “If it’s the same scheme as Rex Ryan and Todd Bowles, when you’re playing a lot of man-to-man and you’re putting your corners out on an island, that’s something that every defensive back thrives on.”

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Arizona Cardinals Still Searching for New Defensive Coordinator

January 21st, 2015 at 5:57 AM
By Steve Smith

The Arizona Cardinals are still looking for their new defensive coordinator.

Todd Bowles is the new head coach of the New York Jets so head coach Bruce Arians and company are searching for a new DC. Bowles led one of the best defenses in the NFL for his two seasons in the desert so he won't be easy to replace.

One coach that Arians has a tremendous amount of respect for is former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. The two coached together in Pittsburgh and LeBeau is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His latest stint as Pittsburgh's DC lasted from 2004-14.

"There's not a greater coach in the world," Arians said of LeBeau via espn.com.

LeBeau has been a coach in the NFL for 42 consecutive years. Combine that with his previous 14 seasons as a defensive back and the 77-year-old LeBeau has been active in the league for the last 56 years. For those keeping score, that means he started his career when Dwight Eisenhower was President.

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Antonio Cromartie Named to NFL Pro Bowl, Replacing Richard Sherman

January 20th, 2015 at 4:57 AM
By Steve Smith

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie is headed to the NFL Pro Bowl in his own backyard.

He'll be replacing Seattle's Richard Sherman, who will be participating in Super Bowl 49 against the New England Patriots.

Cromartie will be the fourth Red Bird in the NFL’s all-star game – held this Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium – in replacing Sherman.

Sherman was eliminated from playing once the Seahawks made an incredible rally in the NFC Championship to beat the Packers, 28-22, in overtime. Cromartie joins cornerback Patrick Peterson, defensive end Calais Campbell and special teamer Justin Bethel – whose natural position is cornerback – as Arizona's Pro Bowlers this season.

Quite an impressive group.

Eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald remains an alternate.

Cromartie had three interceptions this past season as he teamed with Peterson to play press, one-on-one coverage must of the time in the blitzing defense of former coordinator Todd Bowles. The FSU product totaled 40 tackles and a team-best 12 passes defensed. He also scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery against the Rams and added an interception in the Cardinals’ Wild Card playoff game against the Panthers.

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