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Recognizing The Top Cardinals In 2014

Campbell, Veldheer among those chosen for year-end awards by digital media panel

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Defensive end Calais Campbell (left) was chosen as the Cardinals' defensive player of the year and most valuable, while tackle Jared Veldheer (right) was named offensive player of the year, by a panel of voters from the Cardinals' web, broadcast and radio departments.


The Cardinals finished 11-5 this season and fell in the wild card round to the Panthers. They were hit hard by injuries, but were kept afloat by the standout performances of several key players. Here are the winners of the second annual Cardinals Digital Media Awards, as voted on by a 17-member panel.

OFEENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: LT Jared Veldheer (13 votes)

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Others receiving votes: WR Michael Floyd (3 votes); QB Carson Palmer (1 vote)

Veldheer's 2014 statistics (per ProFootballFocus.com): Allowed one sack, four hits, 22 hurries. Rated as ninth-best offensive tackle in NFL.

Voter takes: "The 'Hulk' gave up just one sack in 2014, showing excellent consistency. Need an example of Veldheer's positive impact? Throw on the tape from the Week 15 win over the Rams. Veldheer held St. Louis superfreak Robert Quinn to one tackle and zero QB pressures." – Jim Omohundro, radio producer

"Jared really became a true shut-down left tackle in the second half of the season. He also played injured most of the time, and from what I heard, he was also a leader on that O-line." – Rolando Cantu, former player/Spanish radio analyst

"Veldheer didn't receive much attention this year, and that in itself is a good thing. He's technically sound and a veteran leader who ended up being exactly what the Cardinals hoped for after swooping him from Oakland. Veldheer may not be the flashiest pick when thinking of an offense, but it's an area where the Cardinals desperately needed stability and talent. Veldheer wears his emotions on his sleeves and challenges those around him. Money well spent." – Lisa Blanco, multimedia producer

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DE Calais Campbell (8 votes)

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Others receiving votes: S Rashad Johnson (7 votes); LB Larry Foote (1 vote); DT Frostee Rucker (1 vote)

Campbell's 2014 statistics: 59 tackles, seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss, interception

Voter takes: "Finally getting his due as a great player. Should have made the Pro Bowl two years ago. Came back from injury to have his usual impact on the defense." – Dave Pasch, radio play-by-play

"For me, one sequence defines the impact Campbell has on games: In the first half of the loss at Denver, Campbell had two tackles, one for loss, a pass deflected and an interception of Peyton Manning in which Campbell shed a blocker trying to set up a screen for Montee Ball, spun and picked the ball out of the air with one hand. During the first series of the third quarter, Campbell was blatantly, and illegally, chop-blocked by tight end Julius Thomas, perhaps to remove the one-man wrecking crew in Campbell from the game." – Tim DeLaney, executive producer, broadcast

"Opposing game plans started with double-teaming Calais Campbell. A 6-foot-8 lynchpin to a top-5 scoring defense." – Paul Calvisi, sideline reporter/host

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DT Frostee Rucker (5 votes)

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Others receiving votes: LB Larry Foote (4 votes); ST Justin Bethel (4 votes); LT Jared Veldheer (2 votes); WR Larry Fitzgerald (1 vote); S Rashad Johnson (0.5 votes); S Deone Bucannon (0.5 votes)

Rucker's 2014 statistics: 37 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles

Voter takes: "As bad as the Daryl Washington suspension was, it was the Darnell Dockett injury that really could have sent the Cardinals in a tailspin before things got started. But Rucker stepped in with a solid season both on the field and as a leader. He was important, and personified what this particular team was about." – Darren Urban, azcardinals.com senior writer

"Frostee was a calming influence in the locker room, a soft-spoken guy who carried himself confidently. He filled in capably for Darnell Dockett, finishing with a career-high five sacks and making other signature plays, but more than anything, he kept the expectations high for a defense which never felt sorry for itself despite the injuries." – Kyle Odegard, azcardinals.com writer

"All the dirty work was done at his sink." – Gabriel Trujillo, Spanish radio play-by-play

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: WR John Brown (7 votes)

Others receiving votes:  S Deone Bucannon (4 votes); LB Larry Foote (2.5 votes); CB Antonio Cromartie (2 votes); RB Kerwynn Williams (1 vote); LT Jared Veldheer (0.5 votes)

Brown's 2014 statistics: 48 catches, 696 yards, five touchdowns

Voter takes: "Not much was known about the wide receiver from Pittsburg State when the Cardinals drafted him. But John Brown not only turned heads during offseason workouts and training camp but during the regular season in which he scored five touchdowns, second only to Michael Floyd's six." –Craig Grialou, radio host

"John 'Smokey' Brown did just what his moniker suggests, smoked past opposing secondaries on his way to the end zone. Brown had five touchdowns this season, four of which (four!!!) were go-ahead touchdowns that the Cardinals would secure victories from. This undoubtedly makes it easy for me to place him as newcomer of the year, but on top of what he did, it's how he scored those touchdowns that really seals it for me. Every single one was so, so exciting." – Dan Nettles, broadcast editor

'NEXT MAN UP' OF THE YEAR: QB Drew Stanton (7 votes)

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Others receiving votes: LB Larry Foote (6 votes); RB Kerwynn Williams (2 votes); S Deone Bucannon (1 vote); DT Frostee Rucker (1 vote)

Stanton's 2014 statistics: 132-of-240 passing for 1,711 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT

Voter takes: "We know the ole NFL axiom – no QB, no chance. Stanton not only gave the Cardinals a chance, but they tied a franchise record with 11 wins. QBs are measured in wins. Ding." – Calvisi

"Stanton hadn't played in an NFL game in almost four years, yet he stepped in twice for Carson Palmer and led this team to a 6-3 record. Two of those losses came against the AFC and NFC champions. His numbers won't wow anyone, but he stepped into the most important position on the team, protected the football and made some memorable throws along the way. If Stanton stays healthy, the Cardinals are still in the playoffs." – Richard Mendez, broadcast manager

PLAY OF THE YEAR: WR John Brown's 75-yard TD catch from QB Carson Palmer vs. Eagles (10 votes)

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Others receiving votes: WR John Brown 48-yard TD catch from QB Drew Stanton vs. Rams (4 votes); CB Patrick Peterson 30-yard pick-six vs. Rams (1 vote); WR Michael Floyd 20-yard flea-flicker catch from QB Ryan Lindley at 49ers (1 vote); WR Michael Floyd 41-yard TD catch from QB Ryan Lindley at 49ers (1 vote)

Voter takes: "Third-and-five. The Cardinals are down three with 1:33 to play. Do the Cardinals go for the first down? Hell no! Let's chuck that bad boy deep to John Brown for the win. This game was going to be won by the team that scored last. Carson Palmer made an unbelievable throw to rookie John Brown that set University of Phoenix Stadium on fire. This was a no-brainer." – Coby Rich, azcardinals.com producer

"Just an electric moment that propelled the Cards to victory over Philadelphia. Carson Palmer gave Brown the hand signal and he took off. Playground stuff on an NFL stage."—Jody Jackson, reporter/host

MOST VALUABLE CARDINAL: DE Calais Campbell (12 votes)

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Others receiving votes: LB Larry Foote (3 votes); coach Bruce Arians (1 vote); QB Carson Palmer (1 vote)

Voter takes: "Defense was the strength of this football team. Calais stood in the breach when Darnell Dockett went down and picked up the leadership void and carried the standard in Doc's absence. His production allowed the Cardinals to boast one of the better defenses in the league and finally got him a Pro Bowl berth. Generally speaking, the Cards defense won games for Arizona in 2014 and Calais Campbell was literally and figuratively standing in the middle of that reality." – Ron Wolfley, former player/radio color analyst

"Calais Campbell entered this year coming off of a monster 2013 campaign and was going to be a key cog on the defense and a leader on and off the field. Then the Cards lost Darnell Dockett, John Abraham, Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington. Campbell was voted a captain by his teammates and ascended to that role with ease. He again had a Pro Bowl caliber season and finally was recognized with the accolade. After being hurt against the Broncos in Week 5 (remember his awesome interception of Peyton Manning?) Campbell missed two games, but still compiled big numbers." – Jonathan Hayward, broadcast producer


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