Virgin Australia, the official airline of the AFL, has responded to strong demand for interstate flights by adding thousands of seats to its flight schedule during the 2015 Toyota AFL Finals Series.Whilst the match schedule for the Finals has not yet been determined, fans are rushing to secure flights across all four weeks of the Series in a show of faith for their teams.The majority of additional flights have been added between Perth and the eastern states. Virgin Australia is also addressing increased demand between Melbourne and Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, the Gold Coast and Hobart for the Toyota AFL Grand Final weekend.Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton said: “As the official airline of the AFL we are monitoring demand and working closely with the AFL to ensure as many fans as possible can travel to see their team play during the 2015 Toyota AFL Finals Series.“With the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles currently topping the ladder, the greatest demand for flights is between the east and west coasts of Australia. Bookings on these routes have already far exceeded those in the corresponding period last year.“We’ve added many flights across the country to cater for demand and we will add further flights should they be required,” Ms Crompton said.AFL General Manager of Commercial Operations, Darren Birch, said; “There is huge interest in this year’s Toyota AFL Finals Series and we are very pleased to have the support of our official airline partner, Virgin Australia, to assist fans, players, and match officials in travelling to and from matches across the country.“In addition to flights, fans can also register now to book great value travel packages through AFL Travel to secure flights with Virgin Australia, airport lounge access, accommodation and Finals tickets,” Mr Birch said.Each year Virgin Australia carries the 18 AFL teams on more than 300 flights, travelling more than 450,000km, and provides thousands of extra seats to fans. Book your AFL travel packages hereSource = Virgin Australia
In keeping with the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) global focus on quality versus absolute numbers, TAT Mumbai tied up with Thailand’s most exclusive standalone and chain hotels for the event titled Amazing Thailand Luxurious Pleasure Road show.Kittipong Prapattong, Director, TAT ASEAN, South Asia & South Pacific Market Division, who travelled to India especially for the event, defined TAT’s luxury strategy globally and in India. “We want to attract travellers who are looking for a higher quality of experience in Thailand. This doesn’t mean an exclusive focus on the niche HNI segment. Even the middle class qualifies as our target audience if they are at incremental spends towards an extraordinary experience in Thailand that might not be accessible (even with extra investment) in many other parts of the world,” he said, going on to offer an example. “Yacht vacations in most parts of the world are out of reach except for the world’s HNIs. In Thailand, the experience is an expensive, luxurious proposition but would still be within reach for many. Luxury implies high spenders as well as those looking to have authentic experiences in Thailand.”Prapattong summed it up as, “The idea is to promote the luxury of EXPERIENCING (this calls for more investment but also more time, effort, involvement…all characteristics of a more mature traveller) rather than the less involved experience of simply SEEING things.”Over a dozen suppliers, including hotels and destination management companies, were present at the event. The added benefit for invitees to the closed-door event was the participation of regional TAT offices from parts of Thailand that are nascent but growing in popularity for the well-travelled, discerning Indian. Soraya Homchuen, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand – Mumbai office said, “TAT representatives from our regional offices in Chiang Rai, Koh Samui and Trat joined the delegation. Their participation was definitely an opportunity because they were able to share the intricacies of travel planning and execution in these destinations. Each of them experienced tremendous interest from attending travel trade.”Isra Stapanaseth, Director, TAT Chiang Rai said, “We get about 1,000 Indian travellers a year and this is encouraging because Chaing Rai is brand new for India. Chiang Mai, our more popular cousin came up only a few years ago and now Chiang Rai’s popularity is on the rise.”Saiphayom Somsuk, Chief of Koh Samui Coordination Centre, TAT Samui said that the island destination welcomes about 10,5000 Indians a year. “What is interesting is that they are amongst the highest spenders in Koh Samui. Over 70 travel agents visited our booth at the roadshow, showing special interest in adding the area’s famous Full Moon Party to their itineraries. This is in keeping with our strategy of opening up Koh Phangan (the island where the party takes place every month) to the Indian market.”The idea of the roadshow was also to open up entirely new destinations. Wanaphapar Suksombul, Director, TAT Trat shared, “63 agents approached us at the roadshow, of which only seven even knew where Trat is. Trat is brand new for India. However we have already prepared ourselves to welcome Indian travellers. Trat recently opened up for Indian groups and as such Indian food is easily available at our island destinations.” She said that she expects the Indian honeymoon segment to enjoy Koh Mak and Koh Kood while the Indian family segment is likely to be drawn to Koh Chang.Homchuen said that TAT Mumbai is looking forward to strengthening its position as a luxury destination. “We have definitely seen a firm shift as a direct result of our luxury-oriented initiatives in this market – from advertising to media and trade FAMs and of course, the important deals inked during earlier editions of our luxury roadshow. We have put special effort into bringing in brand new, hitherto unseen hotels and experiences to India for this third edition and I am certain that the travel trade has benefitted from the sellers they met at the roadshow”Among branded chain-linked hotels, the delegation included the Minor Hotel Group, the Conrad Koh Samui, Centara Grand at CentralWorld, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit (A Luxury Collection Hotel) and Sofitel Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort.Among standalone hotels, attendees found novelty value in Keemala, which is all set to bring ultimate luxury to barefoot chic accommodation concepts such as tree houses, when it opens in December. Iniala, a 10-room villa (made famous by Kim Kardashian’s month-long family vacation in Phuket prior to her wedding to Kanye West) was part of the delegation and invited great interest from the attending travel trade.Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways were part of the delegation with the goal of inking special agreements with attending travel agents and destination management companies AM Interservice and Travstore brought logistical expertise that Mumbai’s travel trade will require in order to sell new destinations to India’s high flyers going ahead, especially as the peak travel season rounds the corner. Thailand Elite Card, a programme that promotes repeat travel through discounts and privileges extended to card-holder showcased their product at the road show.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently conducted the ‘Amazing Thailand Luxury Roadshow’ in India covering Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Kolkata. TAT is targeting the high end travellers from Tier-I Indian cities who are big spenders. The delegation at the roadshow included hoteliers, Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways and few DMCs.The Delhi event commenced with an exclusive networking B2B session within the setup of a Thai modern lanna style theme.Isra Stapanaseth, Director, TAT New Delhi, mentioned that Thailand has been accredited as one of the world’s most luxurious destination as it has an abundance of luxurious offerings and experiences. He gave a brief presentation that included the insightful market information on luxury tourism in Thailand covering new destinations, products and trends.“This year, for the fourth edition of roadshow in India, we have strived to make it even more successful by bringing the delegation of Hotels, DMCs, Airlines and tourist attractions related to luxury tourism in Thailand to meet the high profile travel agents in India and to explore market possibilities of high spending Indian travellers,” he said.Pinki Arora, Marketing Representative, TAT New Delhi, said, “Thailand has plenty to offer to the high end travellers. We have range of five-star and four-star hotels and resorts around Thailand. At present high end travellers constitute 15-20% of the total Indian travellers.”Thailand welcomed 1.06 million Indian travellers in 2015. For 2016, the target is 1.1 million – a figure that the destination looks like it is on track to achieve having hit over 700,000 Indian arrivals by August.
While inaugurating a one day workshop organised by the department to give shape to its tourism policy, the Minister said that the need and time has come for the tourism department to evolve itself to cater to the needs of activity and adventure based tourism from now on.“Sensing the immense and innumerable possibilities of promoting Kerala as a destination for ‘Adventure and Activity based Tourism’ the state tourism department is focusing on developing new projects to utilise the same,” said Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister.While the primary focus at the workshop had been to find new possibilities to take adventure tourism forward in the state, the Minister has stressed on the need to work closely and in coordination with the Forest Department to realise the goals in the adventure tourism sector.Speaking at the workshop, Dr Venu Vasudevan, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism opined that the cooperation and coordination with the Forest Department is of paramount importance for the growth of adventure tourism in the state and that this could be achieved without violating any of the existing environmental laws.Kerala Tourism is currently planning to rebrand itself and find new avenues to take the sector forward in order to double the tourist arrivals by 2021. Keeping this in mind the department will now start a new ‘Tourist Circuit’ based out of North Kerala and will shift focus from areas it had been concentrating all this while to specifically give thrust to Adventure Tourism with the sole aim of attracting more youngsters to the state.P Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism said that for the first time in the history of Kerala Tourism the numbers of the inbound foreign tourists have rise beyond one million and that domestic tourists arrivals have touched 1.38 crores.
First-time homebuyers accounted for only about one-third of home sales in the last year as young adults continue to struggle to get a foothold in the market, according to a report from a major housing group.In its annual survey of homebuyers and sellers, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that only about 33 percent of home purchases in the last year were made by first-time buyers, down from 38 percent in last year’s survey and the long-term average of 40 percent.The last time the share of first-time buyers was this low was 1987, when they accounted for just 30 percent of home sales, NAR said.The association’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, pointed to many of the frequently cited reasons why young Americans are staying on the sidelines, including increasing living costs and high debts.”Rising rents and repaying student loan debt makes saving for a downpayment more difficult, especially for young adults who’ve experienced limited job prospects and flat wage growth since entering the workforce,” Yun said.Those aren’t the only issues would-be homeowners have had to deal with in recent years. According to NAR, 47 percent of first-time buyers in the latest survey said the mortgage application and approval process was more difficult than expected, a result of a more heavily regulated and risk-averse lending environment.For first-time buyers, the median down payment was 6 percent, less than half the median for repeat buyers. Nearly a quarter of first-time buyers said saving for that initial payment was a major hurdle, with more than half of that group citing student debt as a challenge.In addition to tapping into their own savings to make a down payment, 26 percent of first-time buyers said they received a gift from friends or relatives, while 6 percent took a loan from them.The vast majority—93 percent—of entry-level buyers opted for a fixed-rate mortgage, NAR reported, with 35 percent financing their home purchase through low down payment mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). That figure was down from 39 percent last year, partly due to rising insurance premiums.”FHA premiums are too high in relation to default rates and have likely dissuaded some prospective first-time buyers from entering the market,” Yun said. “To put it in perspective, 56 percent of first-time buyers used a FHA loan in 2010. The current high mortgage insurance added to their monthly payment is likely causing some young adults to forgo taking out a loan.” First-Time Buyer Share Hits 27-Year Low in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News November 4, 2014 548 Views Credit Standards FHA First-Time Homebuyers National Association of Realtors 2014-11-04 Tory Barringer Share
July 21, 2017 693 Views Reexamining Flaws community development block grants herrera beutler House of Representatives HUD 2017-07-21 Aly J. Yale New legislation was pushed through the U.S. Appropriations Committee recently that would, if passed into law, force the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to recalibrate how it determines eligibility for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).The bill, introduced by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington), would require that HUD report any area it uses “flawed income data”—or data with a margin of error that’s 20 percent or higher—to evaluate CDBG eligibility. These reports would need to be submitted to both the House and Senate appropriations committees within 90 days of the evaluation.Until now, HUD has calculated community income levels by averaging five-year data from the American Community Survey. HUD data from 2014 shows many towns in Beutler’s district—including Pe Ell, Vader, and Morton—have been deemed “too affluent” to benefit from CDBG grants.According to Beutler’s office, “This requirement would impact rural communities in Lewis County [Washington] that, based on inaccurate household income data, were determined to be ‘too affluent’ to qualify for Community Development Block Grants.”Beutler says HUD has often made mistakes when deeming a community “too affluent,” and that the agency has even used data with margins of error as high as 91.5 percent when determining eligibility.“This agency is supposed to return tax dollars to the communities that need it most, but it has made serious mistakes in disqualifying communities like Toledo, Pe Ell, and Vader for being ‘too affluent,’” Beutler said. “It can’t cover up these mistakes if this legislation becomes law.”This isn’t the first time Beutler has taken on HUD. She also created a provision that requires HUD to have alternative methods of measuring income levels.“After years of pressuring for transparency, my efforts will again require HUD to make the extent of inaccuracy of its data public—and it will be held accountable for its reporting errors,” she said. “While it shouldn’t take an act of Congress to get a public agency to provide basic transparency, I’m not going to let up on this issue or the needs of our rural communities until we have a long-term solution.”The bill was passed by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday and will go before the full House floor soon. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines Share
Home prices continued to rise according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices for March 2018 that were released by S&P Dow Jones Indices on Tuesday. The data on the U.S. National Home Price NSA Index covered by these indices indicated that nationally, home prices reported a 6.5 percent annual gain in March, remaining unchanged over the gains reported in February 2018. The 20-City Composite Index also remained unchanged and posted a 6.8 percent gain year over year. The 10-City Composite Index grew from 6.4 percent in February 2018 to 6.5 percent in March.The year-over-year gains on the 20-City Composite were led by Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco with double-digit increases. According to the index, while Seattle reported a year-over-year price increase of 13 percent, Las Vegas, and San Francisco reported price gains of 12.4 percent and 11.3 percent respectively. The report found 12 of the 20 cities reported “greater price increases in the year ending March 2018, versus February 2018.”“While Seattle has been the city with the largest gains for 19 months, the ranking among other cities varies,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Las Vegas and San Francisco saw the second and third largest annual gains of 12.4 percent and 11.3 percent. A year ago, they ranked tenth and sixteenth. Any doubts that real, or inflation-adjusted, home prices are climbing rapidly are eliminated by considering Chicago; the city reported the lowest 12-month gain among all cities in the index of 2.8 percent, almost a percentage point ahead of the inflation rate.”Even though Seattle showed the highest price increase during the month, the gains are widespread according to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com. “All 20 cities saw price gains with the smallest in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Cleveland,” Hale said. “Despite the trend of rising prices, a look at preliminary realtor.com May housing data shows that listing price growth slowed in May. This could signal slower growth in home sales prices in the months ahead—a good turn of events for buyers.”Be that as it may, buyers will still have to contend with low housing supply this summer, which has also contributed to the growth in home prices. “Rising home prices continued in March amid strong economic conditions for would-be home buyers; unemployment remained low and job growth steady,” said Cheryl Young, Senior Economist at Trulia. “These strong consumer fundamentals drove demand as peak home buying season ramped up. Robust demand paired with abysmally low inventory contributed to surging home prices.” Young also pointed out to rising mortgage rates that could make this summer a tough season for potential homebuyers. “As if increasing home prices weren’t enough—beleaguered would-be homebuyers faced mortgage rates hitting four-year highs.”Blitzer agreed though he pointed out that compared to the price gains of the last housing boom in the 2000s things were much calmer. “ Months-supply, which combines inventory levels and sales, is currently at 3.8 months, lower than the levels of the 1990s, before the housing boom and bust,” he said. “Until inventories increase faster than sales, or the economy slows significantly, home prices are likely to continue rising.” Share Home Prices March Upwards May 29, 2018 706 Views Demand Gains homes HOUSING Housing Boom HPI Prices Realtor.com S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index Supply Trulia 2018-05-29 Radhika Ojha in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News
Fannie Mae Homebuyers HOUSING real estate Renters Secondary Market Securitization 2018-10-08 Radhika Ojha October 8, 2018 818 Views Share On Monday, Fannie Mae announced the appointment of Hugh R. Frater as its Interim CEO. Frater’s appointment will be effective on October 16, 2018, subject to final FHFA approval, Fannie Mae said in a statement. He will succeed Timothy J. Mayopoulos, who announced his intention to depart in July 2018 and will leave the company on October 15, 2018.“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are excited to have an executive with such broad experience and impressive track record as our new Interim CEO,” said Egbert L.J. Perry, Chairman of Fannie Mae’s Board of Directors. “Hugh has a deep understanding of the housing and the financial services industries, and his experience on our Board makes him an ideal choice to lead Fannie Mae as the Interim CEO.”According to Fannie Mae, Frater has served on its Board since 2016. He has held a number of executive and management roles throughout his career and currently serves as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of VEREIT, Inc. and as a director of ABR Reinsurance Capital Holdings Ltd. He previously led Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC (“Berkadia”), a national commercial real estate company providing comprehensive capital solutions and investment sales advisory and research services for multifamily and commercial properties.“I have great respect for Fannie Mae and the significant role it plays in our housing system,”Frater said. “I am humbled and excited to serve at an institution that has made tremendous strides in supporting its customers and making housing more affordable for millions of Americans while reducing risk to taxpayers. I look forward to working alongside the leadership team as we continue to look for new ways to serve our customers, implement our strategy and strengthen the company.”Commenting on Frater’s appointment, Mayopoulos said that Frater would be “an excellent complement to the strong management team at Fannie Mae.”“Hugh will serve as a terrific leader who will maintain our momentum and move the company forward as it addresses the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s homebuyers and renters, while strengthening the housing finance system,” he said.Speaking about Mayopoulos’ term at Fannie Mae, Perry said, “Under Tim’s leadership, Fannie Mae helped stabilize the housing market, while strengthening the company’s business model, returning it to profitability, and positioning it well for the future. Tim has delivered for America’s housing market and for taxpayers. Our Board of Directors is deeply grateful for Tim’s years of dedication and stewardship, and his commitment to helping to make housing finance safer and better. We will miss his remarkable presence at the helm of the company, and wish him the very best as he enters the next phase of his professional career.” in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Market Mayopoulos: “Hugh Will Serve as a Terrific Leader”
Employment increased by 196,000 in March, according to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary.Weighing in on the report, Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, said, “The March jobs report suggests that the labor market remains solid overall.”“We expect the Fed to remain patient given a solid labor market and little evidence of upside inflation risks,” Duncan continued. “Meanwhile, employment in the residential construction sector expanded following a decline in February. This should allow builders to continue expanding supply at a gradual pace though labor shortages across the industry remain a concern. This report is directly in alignment with our economic and housing outlook for the year.”March’s 196,000 jobs added is a jump from February’s 20,000, though unemployment remained relatively the same, at 3.8 percent. Additionally, construction showed little change, up by around 16,000, though construction has increased by 246,000 over the past 12 months.realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale commented on the job growth, noting the increase in purchasing power for homebuyers.“March’s jobs report painted a much brighter picture than a month ago, as 196,000 jobs were added, compared to February’s bleak 20,000 jobs and both January and February early reports were revised higher–meaning there were more jobs added those months than we originally believed. Job growth is slower than the average month in 2018, but appropriate since unemployment is at long-time lows,” said Hale.Hale continued, “Unemployment continued to hover at a 19-year low, at 3.8 percent, just a touch higher than the 49-year low of 3.5 percent. The combination of earnings growth of 3.2 percent and low mortgage rates has boosted home buyers’ purchasing power in the face of rising home prices, but affordability remains a challenge, especially for entry-level buyers. Still, as buyers grapple with their budgets, job and earnings growth and lower mortgage rates suggest sufficient demand for sellers this spring.”Find the report here. April 5, 2019 900 Views Construction Employment Fannie Mae HOUSING mortgage Realtor.com 2019-04-05 Seth Welborn Employment Rises—Housing and Mortgage Experts React in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination Share
Alogent, a Georgia based global banking and financial software provider has expanded its product portfolio with the acquisition of the FinanceGenius suite of lending software from IntelliEngines, Inc.The cloud-based software suite, which will now be marketed under the new name Origins, part of the Alogent Lending family, automates consumer lending and streamlines the loan origination process for financial institutions and retail lending. With an end-to-end, fully scalable mobile, online and digital experience, consumers gain simplicity and speed, maximizing decisions and business opportunities for banks and credit unions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.“The addition of Origins to Alogent’s product portfolio naturally marries our digital banking and enterprise information management solutions,” said Jason Schwabline, Chief Strategy Officer at Alogent. “Cloud-based and mobile-ready, Origins is a turnkey and automated decisioning platform that embodies Alogent’s ‘user-first’ and channel-agnostic approach. Consumers choose how they want to engage—online, mobile, in-branch, or by phone—while financial institutions benefit from a streamlined and uniform workflow regardless of the channel of interaction.”Addressing the full lifecycle of the loan, starting with origination to decisioning to underwriting, Origins simplifies the lending experience and strengthens customer and member relationships.“The acquisition of the FinanceGenius suite expands Alogent’s footprint into more facets of the digital financial ecosystem,” said Dede Wakefield, CEO, Alogent. “By delivering end-to-end capabilities for intelligent loan origination, we’re opening new business opportunities for Alogent’s 2,400 financial institution partners and enabling them to maximize loan growth and profitability.”“The FinanceGenius software is a competitive cloud-based consumer lending product that has been deployed by financial institutions seeking to automate and streamline their operations,” said Tejas Vakil, CEO, IntelliEngines Inc. “Alogent’s commitment to innovation and user experience makes the addition of this suite to its technology stack a natural fit, and will position the company to be a leader in lending to financial institutions, as well as in the fast-growing segment of retail or point-of-sale lending.”The company said that the United States is the largest consumer in the world of loan origination software. The Origins software is available today through Alogent, expanding its deposit automation, item processing, enterprise information management, and digital banking offerings within the financial software ecosystem. Alogent FinTech Intelliengines loans LOS mortgage 2019-06-05 Radhika Ojha in Headlines, News, Technology Alogent Acquires New LOS System June 5, 2019 291 Views Share
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The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Six weeks into the 2012 NFL season, it appeared the Arizona Cardinals may have found their franchise quarterback in Kevin Kolb. In March of 2013, the search for that franchise signal caller continues.The Cardinals announced Friday they have cut the quarterback, whose time in the Valley ends after a disappointing two seasons.Reports circulated Friday that Kolb had rejected the Cardinals’ contract restructuring. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling By releasing Kolb, the Cardinals will save $7.5 million against the 2013 salary cap, which is set at $123 million.Acquired by the team from Philadelphia for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick in August 2011, Kolb was expected to become the team’s solution at quarterback.Since entering Week 1 in relief of an injured John Skelton, Kolb had completed 59.6 percent of his passes and thrown for 1,169 yards. He tossed eight touchdown passes against just three interceptions and, perhaps most important, had led the Cardinals to a 4-1 record. Then Kolb suffered shoulder and rib injuries in a Week 6 loss to the Buffalo Bills, maladies he was unable to recover from. And now, the Kolb era in Arizona has come to an end.Instead, injuries and ineffectiveness plagued the signal caller over the course of his time in Arizona, and with a $2 million roster bonus along with a $9 million salary on the way this season, and after adding free agent quarterback Drew Stanton, the franchise decided it best to part ways.Kolb leaves Arizona having played in just 15 games for the Cardinals — including 14 starts. He threw for 3,124 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
“Andre went through limited like he will probably next week, also, and he’s fine,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Friday.Ellington, who is again ‘questionable’, agreed.“I feel good,” he said about his status. “Sunday is gameday so I’ll be ready. Adrenaline will be flowing and things like that, so I’ll be good to go.”What’s plaguing Ellington is a tear in the tendons in his left foot. The team is hoping extra rest will help him heal — or at least keep him fresh enough for Sundays — as it seems comfortable with the schedule Ellington was on this week, with two days of no practice and then one of the limited variety to finish the week.“As long as I get some rest throughout the week I feel like my foot will calm down a little bit and I’ll feel good going into the game,” Ellington said. Ellington added that it doesn’t really feel any better now than it did around this time last week, and while he understands rest is the most important thing, he feels good about the plan the team has in place to keep him on the field.He admitted that he’s not sure how long things will be like this, saying it’s kind of a day-by-day, week-by-week issue. Playing with it Monday night helped his confidence because it showed he could still be effective. He said he got off to a slow start in the win, but his foot “warmed up a little bit” as the game wore on and he started to feel good. 0 Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington was listed as ‘questionable’ leading into Monday night’s game against the San Diego Chargers. He played in the game, and led the Cardinals in rushing with 53 yards, and touches with 18. While he may not have been 100 percent, he was good enough to go. It looks like the same may hold true for Sunday’s tilt with the New York Giants, as the second-year running back seems to be following the same pattern leading into the Week 2 matchup. Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Given that he was expected to be the focal point of the team’s offensive attack, having him out there in any capacity cannot be looked at as anything other than a good thing. And while he’d rather be completely healthy, Ellington has no plans on missing any game time.“I want to play,” he said. “I don’t want to sit out.”
LISTEN: Michael Floyd, Cardinals wide receiver Top Stories Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires At 6-foot-3 and 225-pounds with good speed, Floyd certainly has the look of a go-to receiver.But the production hasn’t quite been there, and Floyd’s failure to establish himself led to some speculation that the Cardinals might be looking to trade him. The wideout was aware of the rumors, but said the chatter did not effect him.“Being a player, you can’t let it bother you,” he said. “I think, mentally, if you let it get to you a lot of things can happen, negativity.”Instead, Floyd said he just works even harder, controlling what he can control. If all goes according to plan, that will lead to him having a big 2015. For Floyd, who said he has plenty he would like to accomplish during his career, that would be a welcome situation.“I just always, since I was young, (wanted) to be the best player that I could possibly be, and putting in the work each and every day,” he said. “But also learning at the same time. Larry has a lot under his belt, and you can’t do nothing but learn from someone like that.“Watching other guys around the league, too, big guys like me, you can learn a lot from them because they experience a lot more and being a vet guy and having that experience, (me) being four years in you can take that into your own game and kind of implement onto the field.” – / 16 “Because they want me to be successful and they count on me and they expect me to make plays when they come my way, and I expect myself to make them, too.”You don’t have to look too hard to find reasons that are beyond Floyd’s control to help explain his down year. The team’s issues at quarterback, where injuries ravaged the position, were a factor. Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas combined to throw 97 passes Floyd’s way, with Palmer and Lindley being the only two to complete more than half of them. Stanton, who threw a team-high 45 passes to No. 15, connected on just 40 percent of the throws. Then again, as anyone who watched the Cardinals last year would tell you, there were also certainly times where it seemed as though Floyd could have made a play only to come up short. Now 25 and entering his fourth NFL season after being taken 13th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, it would seem to be the right time for the former Notre Dame star to put it all together and become the player Arizona thought he would be, possibly supplanting legend and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald as the team’s top option in the passing game. Your browser does not support the audio element. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Michael Floyd knows his 2014 season was not as good as his 2013 campaign. He caught 18 fewer passes, gained 200 fewer yards and, while he scored one more touchdown, his year was generally viewed as a disappointment. “I think last year wasn’t as good as my first year with [Bruce Arians],” he told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “A lot of things come into play with that, but I usually look at myself individually and I think some of the stuff that I did was inconsistent, but I heard B.A. say that and I take that as a challenge to myself to be a better player and make plays for this offense and this team. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim watches the offense and defense during an NFL football training camp practice Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 0 Comments Share 5. LB John Abraham: The Cardinals signed Abraham to a two-year deal worth $4.6 million on July 25, 2013. In his first season, he recorded 11.5 sacks, which ranked seventh in the NFL, and he also had four forced fumbles. Things went south when Abraham was arrested in one of the more bizarre DUI cases on record. He eventually left the team after a concussion suffered in a season-opening win over San Diego when he was kneed in the head and his head hit the turf. The Cards eventually placed him on IR.Honorable mention: CB Antonio Cromartie, RB Chris Johnson, DE Dwight Freeney, LG Mike Iupati.Worst1. WR/KR Ted Ginn: The Cards signed Ginn for three years at $9.75 million in 2014. He was supposed to bring speed at receiver and be a threat as punt and kick returner, but he spent most of the season as the team’s fifth wideout and the Cardinals ranked last in the NFL in kickoff returns. The Cards released him on Feb. 23, 2014, absorbing $1.5 million in dead salary cap money, while saving $2.5 million in cap space.2. LB Sean Weatherspoon: The Cardinals signed Weatherspoon for one year at $3.85 million last summer to help offset the continued absence of Daryl Washington. He appeared in 14 games (no starts), recording 11 combined tackles (nine solos). Top Stories 3. TE John Carlson: The Cardinals signed Carlson to a two-year, $4.65 million deal in 2014 shore up a longstanding trouble spot — a pass-catching tight end. He was a major disappointment. In his first season, he caught 33 passes for 350 yards and had some infamous drops. The following spring, he announced his retirement in a move motivated by his concussion history and a loss of passion for the game.4. RB Rashard Mendenhall: The Cardinals signed Mendenhall to a one-year, $2.5 million deal in 2013 to give them a between-the-tackles runner to complement Andre Ellington, Mendenhall carried 217 times for just 687 yards (3.2 average) as the Cardinals finished 27th in the NFL in yards per carry (3.6) and 23rd in yards 2,340.5. LB Jasper Brinkley: The Cardinals signed Brinkley to a two-year, $3.5 million deal in 2013. He started three games, totaled 30 tackles and five special-teams tackles. He was released after one season. Cutting Brinkley saved the Cardinals $2 million in salary cap space, leaving only $200,000 in dead money.Dishonorable mention: SS Yeremiah Bell, RB Jonathan Dwyer.Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. — Steve Keim’s aggressive and creative approach to improving the Cardinals’ roster has paid dividends in his first three seasons as general manager. The Cardinals have posted three consecutive 10-plus win seasons for just the second time in franchise history (1974-76) and their 34 wins over the past three seasons are the most over any three-year period for the franchise.Free agency has been a key cog in Keim’s success, with a couple of one-year, incentive-laden deals to accomplished veterans warranting special mention. As the Cardinals prepare for the opening of NFL free agency on Wednesday, we look back on some of Keim’s best and worst moves. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Best1. LT Jared Veldheer: The Cardinals signed Veldheer to a five-year, $35 million deal on March 10, 2014. He has been an anchor ever since, locking down a critical position that had been a major weakness while Levi Brown and others manned it. While Keim made some good moves in his first year (2013), this was really the signing that proclaimed a new order for a long-floundering franchise.2. LB Karlos Dansby: The Cardinals brought Dansby back on a one-year, $2.325 million deal in 2013 and it paid major dividends for both sides. Dansby had 122 combined tackles (114 solos), 6.5 sacks, four interceptions (two for TDs), 19 pass defenses and a forced (and recovered) fumble. He parlayed that performance into a four-year, $24 million deal with Cleveland the following summer.3. CB Jerraud Powers: The Cards signed Powers to a three-year, $10.5 million deal in the initial wave of 2013 free agency and he has been a valuable piece of the secondary ever since. He lost his starting job to Antonio Cromartie in 2014 but he had 52 tackles, two fumble recoveries, an interception and a sack last season in the final year of his contract.4. DE Frostee Rucker: Rucker joined the team in 2013 on a one-year contract, re-signed on a two-year deal in 2014, and then Arizona extended him another year at a 2016 cap number of $1.353 million. Given Rucker’s solid contributions and his invaluable presence in the locker room, it’s hard to argue with his presence on this list.
LISTEN: Calais Campbell, AZ Cardinals defensive end 0 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Your browser does not support the audio element. By all accounts, Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Calais Campbell is one of the nicest guys in the league.In fact, it’s a label that has followed him for the last few years. Critics wonder how someone so big (6-foot-8, 300 pounds) and so athletic isn’t more dominant on a consistent basis.Campbell made his second straight Pro Bowl following a 13-3 season that ended in a loss to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game. The 29-year-old had 61 total tackles and five quarterback sacks. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Others will point out that Campbell is often double-teamed and the lack of established and explosive players around him makes his job more difficult each Sunday.While Campbell is back, many of the pieces around him on the Cardinals’ defensive line are different. Namely, pass rusher Chandler Jones, who was acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots earlier in the offseason.There are a lot of curious people who can’t wait to see how Campbell’s performance is affected by a player of Jones’ ilk flanking him. Consider Campbell one of those people.“Me and Chandler Jones have a really good connection already,” Campbell told Doug and Wolf Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “We already have that chemistry. We’re not doing it in pads yet, but you can just tell. It’s going to be special.”Jones had a career-high 12.5 sacks for the Patriots who, like the Cardinals, lost in their conference championship game. He figures to provide the Cardinals a boost to their outside pass rush, which was a weakness for much of 2015.“Our connection is the strongest it’s ever been when it comes to running games with a guy (like him) on the outside,” Campbell said. “When we run games together, I think you guys are in for a treat this year.” Campbell has played with elite pass rushers in the past, like John Abraham and Dwight Freeney. But he’s never really been complimented by a player like Jones — who is one of the best in the business and in the prime of his career.“Chandler Jones is an every-down player — he’s on the field on first, second and third down,” Campbell said. “Now we become a lot better on first down rushing the passer and be able to run games where we can tell it’s a pass, but it’s a first-down run situation.”The Cardinals were tied for 20th in the league with 36 regular-season sacks in 2015. A third of them came on first down situations. – / 19 Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones during the team’s mini-camp in Tempe Tuesday, June 7, 2016. (Photo: Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) can’t make the catch as Washington Redskins free safety Will Blackmon (41) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Collins also earned the honor of the most-improved hybrid defender, and Jefferson, who PFF graded as one of the best run-stopping safeties, came in as runner-up. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories 0 Comments Share For the Arizona Cardinals, players old and young took serious steps forward in 2016. Four of them earned mention on Pro Football Focus’ list of the 2016 season’s most-improved players.PFF said David Johnson’s pass-catching skills out of the backfield and Calais Campbell’s interior rushing skills were the most-improved, respectively. Additionally, outside linebacker Markus Golden (for second-year defensive player) and safety Tony Jefferson (hybrid safety) earned runner-up mention. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo First, to Johnson.Johnson led all backs in receptions (80), yards (879) and broken tackles (27) in one of the most-impressive receiving years from a running back PFF has ever graded. He nearly doubled his output from a season ago in each of those categories. Even with the volume he had, Johnson still somehow ended up fourth in yards per reception (11.0).And while an increase in volume helped Johnson make the leap after he displayed receiving skills as a rookie a year prior, Campbell’s step forward could have been induced by the added focus of opponents who had to deal with Arizona’s outside rushers like Chandler Jones and Golden.Campbell has been a top-level interior presence for a while, but he really stepped up his pass rush in 2016, recording three more sacks, five additional pressures and three extra batted passes on fewer pass-rushing snaps than a year ago.Golden, by the way, was PFF’s runner-up in the category of second-year defensive players. He recorded 12.5 sacks on the year from his outside linebacker position and came in second to Giants safety Landon Collins, who was among the NFL’s best disruptors.New York’s safety recorded five interceptions, 13 passes defensed and rolled up 125 tackles. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Top Stories Added Shipley, “We got a pretty solid grasp of it, though. We’ve been in it two weeks now. Football is football at the end of the day. I mean there’s only so many plays you can run. It’s just different terminology, different ways to do things, different formations (and) different motions just trying to get the right matchups.”The NFL allows teams with a new head coach to hold a bonus voluntary mini-camp, and for the Cardinals that is this week. The team will be on the field again Wednesday and Thursday.Wilks and his staff want to see just how much the players are able to retain and how well they transfer the class work to the on-field work.“We’re learning every day. We’re learning as coaches, we’re learning as players,” he said. “Most importantly around here, I’m just trying to figure out exactly what gets them in the right position, moving in the right direction. Again, it’s learning each individual. Most importantly, it’s trying to set the tempo and the vision as the head coach and get those guys to continue to buy in, which they are.”Quarterback watchAs expected, quarterback Sam Bradford was more spectator than active participant on Day 1. He had his helmet on and joined his teammates for the stretch, but he did not attempt a pass or appear to hand the ball off during the 20-minute media availability. 4 Comments Share “Guys got to be able to take care of their body and we’re trying to help them do that and trying to get those guys prepared and ready for practice,” Wilks said.And the music?“Some people may see it as a distraction,” Wilks continued, “I think it’s a level of getting guys to concentrate, when you start talking about crowd noise and those kinds of things like that, and it also allows the coaches to be able to let the players play.”Yes, things are different under Wilks.Of course, the biggest adjustment for the players is the playbook.Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald likened this offseason — which on Tuesday moved to Phase Two with on-field workouts, minus contact — to being back in college. He spent the weekend and the night before studying.There are some similarities to Wilks’ offense compared to Arians, but the terminology is completely different, according to Fitzgerald.“They’re some words that are the same but they mean completely different. So that’s really confusing when you run to the line and you think, ‘Flounder’. Oh, no. Shoot. That’s not that route. I got to run this one. Stuff like that,” he said. “I’m just trying to make it be fast recall so I can go out there and play fast and execute.” The Cardinals are being cautious with Bradford, who was limited to just two games last season because of a knee injury.“He did some things during walk-through, which I thought looked pretty good. He went with the 1s, doing a few things there so we’re going to continue to progress and move forward with his progress,” Wilks said.Not limited was running back David Johnson. He, too, is coming off an injury but he looked every bit as good as he was two years ago according to his teammates.“I don’t think you can put into words or put into perspective how good David is and what he means to this offense — what he means to any offense, he’s that good of a player,” Shipley said. “Having him back is going to be huge; having him fresh is going to be even better.”Fitzgerald mentioned Johnson’s return as well, and also highlighted some of the other talent, the young talent, on offense in running back T.J. Logan and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones.“He’s got his burst and he’s working his tail off to get himself in shape and get ready. That was fun to see him,” Fitzgerald said, referring to Logan who missed all of 2017 due to a dislocated wrist. “Ricky Seals is making plays out there. He flashed a lot today, too. We got some young, exciting guys so I’m looking forward to it.” EXTRA POINTS— A handful of players were spotted working out on the side. Those were tight end Jermaine Gresham (Achilles), defensive end Markus Golden (ACL), left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) and defensive tackle Olsen Pierre (unknown).“I’m not going to be in a position to put a timetable on any of the players,” Wilks said. “I have tremendous respect for Tom (Reed, head athletic trainer) and his crew in there as well as Buddy, and those guys are doing a tremendous job in getting those guys moving forward.”— Approaching his 15th season in the NFL, Fitzgerald will be 35 when Week 1 arrives. Those are just numbers to him.“I’m as motivated as I was when I was 20 when I was just cutting my teeth. It doesn’t really turn off—that’s a good and a bad thing,” he said. “I’m probably going to struggle when I’m done with it.”— Asked about the Los Angeles Rams adding Ndamukong Suh to what was already a star-studded defense, Shipley feigned excitement.“Can’t wait,” he said, drawing laughter. “Their defensive line was good and it just got better.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling TEMPE, Ariz. – The difference was noticed immediately.Music, specifically Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” was playing on large portable speakers. A country song followed.“That wasn’t me. I think that country song right there was A.Q.,” Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said, smiling, referring to center A.Q. Shipley.With the music blasting, the players — led by strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris — got loose for practice. That’s right; team stretch is back, something not seen the last five years during Bruce Arians’ tenure. Arizona Cardinals NFL football team president Michael Bidwill, left, and head coach Steve Wilks watch their team run drills during a voluntary team activity Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at the Cardinals’ training facility in Tempe, Ariz.(AP Photo/Matt York)
Go back to the e-newsletter >Atout France Tourism Board will host a 2 city roadshow in Sydney and Melbourne next month, accompanied by 10 partners including Air France, Rail Plus, French Travel Connection and Accorhotels.com.Two exclusive workshops and seminars will provide trade partners with insights and updates on French products and services, including a whole new package exclusively created for Australians travel agents by French Travel Connection.The package easily links the 3 regions by high-speed train and includes bike rides to discover this part of France through vineyards and famous cities like Reims, Beaune or Strasbourg, where the first-ever Sofitel in the world opened.Entrance is free and a special bottle of champagne or wine will be offered to each attendee. One lucky travel agent in Sydney and Melbourne will be able to win a trip to France, at the end of a 30-minute presentation on ‘How to improve your knowledge on Alsace, Burgundy and Champagne regions’.Events will be held 5-8pm in Sydney on 14 September and 16 September in Melbourne. For full details, register online.Go back to the e-newsletter >