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Howard Balzer

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Howard Balzer is in his 47th year covering professional football as a writer, editor and broadcaster and has covered 41 Super Bowls. His connection with pro football began in 1976 with College and Pro Football Newsweekly, and since then he has been a featured columnist for The Sporting News, Pro Football Weekly, USA Today Sports Weekly and The Sports Xchange. Balzer moved to St. Louis in 1978 to work for The Sporting News, where he became Pro Football Editor in 1979. He was an analyst on ESPN's initial broadcast of the NFL Draft in 1980 and continued in that role through 1988. He has won seven writing awards in the Professional Football Writers of America competition, won an Emmy for commentaries on KPLR-TV in St. Louis in 1986 and was nominated for an Emmy in 1988 and 1990. He was named the 2016 winner of the Bob Broeg Media Award presented by the St. Louis/Tom Lombardo Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. The award is for enthusiasm, integrity, professionalism and devotion to the game of football and is reserved for individuals whose contributions to football in the St. Louis area have made a significant difference. Balzer was an officer (secretary and secretary/treasurer) for the Professional Football Writers of America for 33 years and was inducted into the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. Balzer relocated to the Phoenix area in 2020 as the publisher of the FanNation AllCardinals site and is now the Cardinals reporter for PHNX. He is entering his 19th year as one of 49 voting members on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is also on the Hall's Seniors Committee. He is the co-host of the weekly Pro Football Hall of Fame radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio and is a part-time host at ArizonaSports 98.7 FM.

It’s the first week of November, and the Cardinals have two players that didn’t join the team until last month, but are developing prominent roles on the offense. One is center Billy Price, who was signed off the Raiders practice squad Oct 4 because of the absence of the injured Rodney Hudson The other, wide receiver Robbie Anderson, has played…...

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I hope … That everyone, and that includes those that label explanations of why things go a certain way for teams “excuses,” realize just how important center Rodney Hudson is to the Cardinals offense. Last season at this time, when the team was 7-1, I was making a case for why Hudson might have been the most valuable player on the team. Aside from his ability, teammates and coaches hailed his leadership, smarts and ability to keep his linemates calm when the going got tough. Quarterback Kyler Murray talked about instances where Hudson recognized something in the defense, communicated it to him, and an adjustment was made with a touchdown the result. Hudson missed five games last season and his…

All five Cardinals offensive linemen that started Sunday’s game against the Vikings played all 78 snaps. However, there is no escaping the reality that three were not the expected starters when the season began and two weren’t with the team at the beginning of training camp. The right side has been intact since Day 1 with tackle Kelvin Beachum and Will Hernandez. That’s the good news. The flip side is left guard where there have been four starters: Justin Pugh Sean Harlow, Max Garcia and Cody Ford; center with three: Rodney Hudson, Harlow and Billy Price; and left tackle with two: D.J. Humphries and Josh Jones. Ten different players have started games on the line and Sunday was the fifth…

While game plans in the NFL always seek to prevent big plays, it’s the little things that often make the difference. Things like the ball being snapped when quarterback Kyler Murray wasn’t looking on third-and-8 from the Minnesota 11-yard line in the fourth quarter with Minn’esota leading 28-23. That possession had been set up by an Isaiah Simmons sack/fumble that he recovered at the Vikings 24-yard line, but the Cardinals had to settle for a field goal. Or, usually reliable punt returner Greg Dortch muffing a punt in the fourth quarter that led to the final points of the game. Or, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who clutched his head after dropping a catchable ball at the 25-yard line on a…

Here's what to watch for when the Arizona Cardinals take on the Minnesota Vikings.

There’s no rest for the weary in the NFL, and while the Arizona Cardinals had some extra days off after the Thursday night game against New Orleans in Week 7, the injury report remains long and another talented opponent is up next in Minneapolis. The Vikings have one player that didn’t practice during the week, and that was defensive lineman...

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Roger Wehrli, who had an interception that day, has no recollections of the game. Nor does tight end Jackie Smith, wide receiver Mel Gray or running back Terry Metcalf. However, Dan Dierdorf sure does. For good reason, which we will get to shortly. The day we are talking about is Nov. 6, 1977, the last time the Cardinals defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. The Vikings had entered the NFL in 1963 as an expansion team and the Cardinals, playing in St. Louis then, owned them early, winning seven of the first nine regular-season games, including four straight on the road. The fourth was on that 1977 Sunday afternoon. Since then, beginning in 1991 because they didn’t play for 13…

It's time to put up for shut up for the Arizona Cardinals offense.

There’s surely nothing debated more surrounding the Arizona Cardinals than the performance of the team’s offense this season. The hottest topics include the supposed regression of quarterback Kyler Murray along with the vocal words of the Kliff Kingsbury haters who link his play-calling to all the unit’s woes. Those critics conveniently exhibit collective amnesia when it comes to the talking points. What is collective amnesia, you might be wondering? Simple. It’s what is said prior to the season or games and then is quickly forgotten in the emotional reaction when it comes true. Something tells me that heading into the 2022 season, most everyone looked at the Cardinals’ beginning schedule and knew there was potential trouble lurking, especially with the…

I hope … The changes made in the offense last week continue. There’s every reason to believe they will. Most significant was how wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was utilized, which was markedly different than in the past when he lined up almost exclusively on the left side of the formation. According to Pro Football Focus, Hopkins lined up in the slot on 44 percent of his 61 snaps against the Saints. In the 26 previous games with the Cardinals, he never played more than 12 percent there. He lined up outside or in the slot on both the left and right side of the formation last Thursday. Although coach Kliff Kingsbury claimed how he lines up will depend on the…

It was a strange summer and beginning of the season for three players that had a huge impact in the Cardinals 42-34 victory over the New Orleans Saints last Thursday night. All had the first interceptions of their career and the end zone was either the starting or end point for all three. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton, who had been scheduled...

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Now that the Kyler Murray-Kliff Kingsbury confrontation near halftime of Thursday night’s game has gone viral, and there isn’t anyone that hasn’t offered an opinion of what it means, if anything (some have even suggested free agents might choose not to come to Arizona because of it; really?), it’s instructive to go back in time to almost a year ago when Murray was sidelined by a high-ankle sprain. Murray had missed two games at that point, and he was getting closer to playing again. So it was that during a media availability, Kingsbury was asked about the relationship with his quarterback. When it was noted that Murray has some of the same traits in his personality, Kingsbury was then asked…

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