Excite Holidays recently treated its Brisbane-based agents to a Mexican themed breakfast at Watt Riverside Restaurant and Bar.In collaboration with Los Cabos Tourism, the event was designed to showcase and educate agents on all that this Mexican hotspot has to offer. Including the fact that Los Cabos is only a two and half hour flight from Los Angeles, and is the perfect stopover or standalone destination. Agents were also given the chance to win some fantastic prizes!Filled with an abundance of good food, great company, stunning views and plenty of colour, the agents started their morning off the right way. Upon arrival, they were met with a fancy cocktail, mexican hot chocolate and a delectable spread that included baked goods such as muffins and danishes, before sitting down to indulge in a Pico de Gallo Burrito, a traditional Mexican breakfast.The agents were even lucky enough to meet with the Managing Director of Los Cabos Tourism, Rodrigo Esponda, who came straight off the plane from Mexico to offer his expertise and passion for this incredible destination. The agents also heard from Lisa Hollenberg, from Thompson Hotels and Rebecca Maitland from One&Only, who both took the agents through their incredible properties.A great morning was had by all, and it’s safe to say that by the end of the breakfast, everyone was dreaming of a last-minute dash to Los Cabos to enjoy a poolside cocktail! Hola from Excite Holidays and Los Cabos!Hola from Excite Holidays and Los Cabos! Source = Excite Holidays
THAI Signs MOU with Travel Agent in Hong KongTHAI Signs MOU with travel agent in Hong KongMrs. Usanee Sangsingkeo (4th from left), Acting President of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), recently presided over the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between THAI and Guang Zhou Hui Yue International Travel Service Co. Ltd. THAI was selected as their preferred carrier flying a total of 3,000 participants from Hong Kong based company, Infinitus Co. Ltd. to Bangkok to attend MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) in June 2018. Representatives who signed MOU were Mr. Chetseni Dhanarajata (3rd from left), THAI General Manager Hong Kong & Macau and Mr. Li Xuebing (5th from left), Vice General Manager of Guang Zhou Hui Yue International Travel Service Co. Ltd. Also presented at the ceremony were Mr. Wiwat Piyawiroj (2nd from left), THAI Acting Executive Vice President of Commercials and Ms. Gao Yuping (6th from left), Vice General Manager of Guang Zhou Hui Yue International Travel Service Co. Ltd. at Conrad hotel, Hong Kong.Infinitus is a member of Lee Kum Kee Group, a century-old Hong Kong enterprise. Infinitus is engaged in Chinese herbal plantations, Sales and service of TCM health products, a mobile internet platform and property investment.THAI looks forward to exploring new ways to further enhance the cooperation, spirit and joining hand in hand with Infinitus and Hui Yue Travel to build a strong business alliance.Source = Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI)
Three major projects aimed at the development of tourism in Munnar will be inaugurated by A.P. Anil Kumar, Tourism Minister, Kerala. Among the projects are Munnar Botanical Garden set up at Rs 4.5 crore, the one crore rupees Munnar budget accommodation centre and the Ripples waterfalls tourism projects.Joice George, MP, will deliver the keynote address. V. Ratheesan, District Collector, and Kochuthresia Paulose, President, District Panchayat will speak at the inaugural function. Munnar wildlife Warden G. Prasad said that the botanical garden, to be developed in the model of Ootty Botanical Garden, will be a mega project. He said that plants suitable to the cool temperature of Munnar would be planted and it would have facilities for people to take rest and take a break.
The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) has announced that it will host its 51st FHRAI Annual Convention from September 22-24, 2016 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The theme for this year’s convention ‘Brand India’ is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision based on the 5 T’s ‘Talent, Tradition, Tourism, Trade and Technology’.Radisson Blu is the main convention hotel where all the business sessions shall be conducted. Tentatively, eight business sessions are planned for the Convention. The venue for the inaugural ceremony and the prestigious FHRAI Awards is the Amber Convention Centre.The Convention organising Committee under the Chairmanship of Vivek Nair and Co–Chairman D S Advani and Chetan Mehta has chalked out an interactive three day programme. An exhibition showcasing several vendors and service providers has also been organised at the convention venue itself.
As one of the key speakers of the inaugural session of Global Aviation Summit, 2019, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis focused on how aviation contributed to 15% of the national GDP. He highlighted the importance of growth in the aviation sector and said that Mumbai is proud to be one of the most efficiently managed airports in India.Thanking Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Civil Aviation and Commerce and Industry for choosing Mumbai as the venue for this prestigious summit, Fadnavis said Maharashtra is an industrial state and the way aviation sector is witnessing growth, there is a demand for more infrastructure, more airport spaces. Mentioning the construction of the new Navi Mumbai airport, which is touted to be operational by 2020, the minister said that the airport will offer a unique experience to travellers. The airport has the capacity to add 1% to our GDP and apart from this, there are nine airports in the pipeline in the state.While Pune airport is being developed to cater to one of the major IT hubs in the country, Nagpur airport is being developed for its strategic location in national and international flight routes. All metros in India are around an hour’s distance from Nagpur by flight and this connectivity has called for more attention to its infrastructure development, the chief minister added. The connectivity between South East Asia and Europe also passes through Nagpur and hence facilities at the airport are one of the best that has been created. A passenger and cargo hub will also be created in Nagpur while Boeing has already started manufacturing few aeroplane components in Nagpur. Other companies have shown interest in establishing their aviation facilities in Nagpur.The Chief Minister also said that a strategy has been put in place for a seamless ecosystem that boasts greater growth in the aviation sector. One of the unique things about the state of Maharashtra is the technical human resource and the ecosystem that has been created using artificial intelligence and technical minds. Soon, the state is committed to enabling the “Flying for all” through better technical decisions made in the state. Recalling the UDAN scheme, the chief minister said ensuring affordable flights for most people will soon be an accomplished goal.
February 11, 2013 397 Views As prices and home sales climb, many rejoice in a housing market that is finally on the mend. However, “”Capital Economics””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/ poses the question, “”Should we be concerned that housing starts are outstripping sales?””[IMAGE]While some take it as a good sign that housing starts are again on the rise and construction is making a small comeback, some might cautiously wonder if the market is ready to handle an increase in construction and if we aren’t headed for a repeat of the overbuilding that contributed to the past housing boom and bust.The “”Census Bureau””:http://www.census.gov/ reports new home sales have risen 9 percent over the past year, while housing starts have risen by a much higher 37 percent.[COLUMN_BREAK]””With starts currently increasing faster than new home sales, that might ring alarm bells that homebuilders are starting too many homes for the level of demand,”” Capital Economics stated in its recent market update.Capital Economics first eased any initial astonishment at these numbers by explaining that on an annualized basis December’s housing starts versus new home sales numbers are not out of line with historical standards.December’s annualized housing starts totaled 954,000, while the month’s annualized new home sales totaled 369,000. “”This large _levels_ difference is not unusual by past standards,”” Capital Economics stated.Furthermore, the analytics firm explained the raw percentages are not necessarily comparable. The Census Bureau includes both single-family and multifamily homes in its housing starts data.New home sales data only include single-family homes, excluding any built-for-sale homes such as custom-built homes. Built-for-sale homes are included in the housing starts data.Supply remains tight in the new single-family housing market with 4.9 months’ supply. Historically, supply has been about 6.2 months’ supply.Currently, the market holds about 151,000 new homes for sale, which is lower than any month before 2012, according to Capital Economics.The firm expects both new home construction and new home sales to “”rise significantly further this year.”” in Data, Origination Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Capital Economics Home Sales Homebuilders Housing Starts Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2013-02-11 Krista Franks Brock Share Analysts Address Imbalance Between Starts, New Sales
Commercial/Multifamily Debt Up by Largest Amount Since 2008 in Origination Share In the fourth quarter of 2012, commercial and multifamily mortgage debt continued to grow, reaching the highest level in four years, according to a “”report””:http://mba.informz.net/MBA/data/images/cmfdebtoutstandingq412.pdf from the “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA). [IMAGE]Commercial and multifamily mortgage debt was up by $21.8 billion, or 0.9 percent, from the previous quarter and up $29.7 billion, or 1.2 percent, from the fourth quarter of 2011, the MBA reported. “”The appetite among lenders and investors for commercial and multifamily mortgages grew during the fourth quarter,”” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s VP of commercial real estate research. “”The fourth quarter saw the largest increase in commercial and multifamily mortgage debt outstanding since 2008.””””Bank-held commercial mortgages increased by the largest amount since 2008. The balance of loans held in CMBS rose by [COLUMN_BREAK]the most since 2007 and the balances of loans held by life companies and held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA continued their multi-year increases,”” he added. Banks and thrifts held the largest share of commercial/multifamily mortgages at 35 percent, or $836 billion. CMBS, CDO and other ABS issues held the second largest share-23 percent or $561 billion. Agency and GSE portfolios and MBS held 16 percent, or $376 billion, the third largest share. Bank and thrifts saw the largest quarterly increase in holdings of commercial/multifamily mortgages after growing by 2.1 percent. Multifamily mortgage debt outstanding grew to $846 billion in the fourth quarter, a quarterly and yearly increase of 1.4 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively. Agency and GSE portfolios and MBS held nearly half, or 45 percent, of all multifamily mortgage debt. Their share represents $376 billion. Banks and thrifts followed with a 28 percent share, while CMBS, CDO and other ABS issues held 10 percent of the total. In dollar terms, agency and GSE portfolios and MBS increased their holdings of multifamily debt by $7.6 billion, the most out of any other sector. Private pension funds grew the most in terms of percentage and rose 11.6 percent. MBA’s analysis is based on data from the Federal Reserve Board’s Flow of Funds and the FDIC’s Quarterly Banking Profile. Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Commercial Real Estate Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Debt Mortgage-Backed Securities Service Providers 2013-03-12 Esther Cho March 12, 2013 421 Views Share
A new report from a government watchdog accused “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com/, its servicers, and the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov/ (FHFA) of not meeting requirements when handling and resolving escalated consumer complaints. [IMAGE] According to a report from the “”FHFA Office of Inspector General””:http://fhfaoig.gov/ (OIG), Freddie Mac and eight of its largest servicers, which service 70 percent of the GSE’s mortgages, received over 34,000 complaints that became escalated cases during a 14-month time period ending November 30, 2012. Escalated cases include foreclosure actions in violation of the GSEs’ guidelines; allegations of fraudulent servicing practices; complaints that the borrower did not receive proper evaluation or was inappropriately denied a foreclosure alternative; threats of litigation; and violations of the GSEs’ policy timeframes for borrower outreach, evaluation, or time permitted for a response, according to the report. After tracking the escalated cases, FHFAOIG found a failure to implement the Servicing Alignment Initiative (SAI) and Servicing Guide requirements for escalated consumer complaints among Freddie Mac servicers. For example, seven out of the eight Freddie Mac servicers did not resolve all escalated cases within the 30-day requirement, and some servicers did not correctly categorize the nature of the escalated cases. Four servicers├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ôBank of America, CitiMortgage, Provident, and Wells Fargo–failed to report any escalated cases during the 14-month time period to Freddie Mac even though they handled more than 20,000 cases. [COLUMN_BREAK]When the banks were contacted, the servicers “”indicated that they would begin reporting to Freddie Mac,”” the FHFAOIG report stated.Furthermore, Freddie Mac data showed that 98 percent of its servicers, or 1,179 out of 1,207, did not report any escalated cases as of December 2012. “”This strongly suggests that many other servicers handled escalated cases but did not comply with the reporting requirements,”” the report stated. Of the four large servicers that did not report escalated cases, one servicer said it was not aware of the requirement and another said the GSE had not requested the information during an onsite examination. Among the eight largest servicers, 26,196 escalated cases were handled during the 14-month time period, of which 25,528 were resolved. About 21 percent of those cases, or 5,371, exceeded the 30-day time frame.Branch Banking & Trust Corporation (BB&T), however, managed to resolve all of its escalated cases within 30 days. FHFA OIG also found issues with how escalated cases were categorized when resolved. When categorizing escalated cases, servicers are required to use 13 resolution categories. However, one servicer used 61 different categories when identifying resolutions. Overall, about 8 percent of the 25,528 resolved cases lacked a required resolution category. The report also determined Freddie Mac did not adequately address servicer compliance in handling escalated cases. The GSE did not implement procedures for testing servicer compliance and has not established penalties, such as fines, for servicers who fail to report escalated cases, according to the report. When examining Freddie Mac’s implementation of the SAI, FHFA failed to identify noncompliance with consumer complaint requirements, FHFAOIG stated. The FHFA examination team also did not conduct its own testing of servicer compliance, and instead relied solely on the GSE’s onsite operation review reports, which did not mention problems with servicer reporting, the report stated.In response to its findings, FHFAOIG provided several recommendations for Freddie Mac and FHFA to enhance their oversight. Share March 22, 2013 422 Views in Data, Government FHFAOIG: Freddie Mac Servicers Failed to Report Escalated Complaints Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies FHFA Freddie Mac Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-03-22 Esther Cho
November 30, 2015 585 Views The total amount of debt outstanding among students has risen from $364 billion to $1.2 trillion over the last ten years, and the number of borrowers (ages 18 to 30) with a student loan has increased from 27 percent to 40 percent during the same time period.Following the Great Recession, consumer debt decreased, but student loan debt rose at an average quarterly rate of 3.2 percent, a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released Monday showed.So how adversely does student debt affect consumers’ ability to get a mortgage loan?”The sharp rise in student loan debt has raised concerns that young people with a lot of student debt may be having trouble getting a mortgage or other types of loans,” the report said.According to the report, as the percentage of 18 to 30-year-olds with student loan debt rose over the last ten years, those with a mortgage declined. Prior to the recession, 11 percent of young consumers had a mortgage, but now this number stands at 7 percent.”While the total number of mortgages has declined for most age groups, part of the drop in young people’s mortgage borrowing may be due to an increase in the number of people with student loans, the report stated. The Cleveland Fed highlighted that the amount of debt a person has already can negatively affect the obtaining a mortgage loan. If a consumers’ debt burden occupies over 20 percent of their income, there is no way they can they afford a mortgage payment, which could comprise an additional 30-45 percent of their income.”While it’s unlikely that student loans are the sole factor for the decline in mortgage borrowing across the United States, it is hard to ignore how the recent surge in student loan debt is changing the debt portfolio of young borrowers,” the report noted.”With over 40 percent of young borrowers having a student loan, and debt payments comprising 20 percent of their income, it makes it more and more difficult for young people to take on a mortgage in the first few years after attending college. And as the number of student loans continues to rise, it is a trend that is likely to continue.”Click here to view the full report. Share Mortgage Borrowing Dampened by Student Loan Debt in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, Market Studies, News, Origination Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Mortgage Borrowing Student Loan Debt 2015-11-30 Staff Writer
September 26, 2017 695 Views Share The Board of Directors for Equifax, Inc. announced the retirement of Chairman of the Board and CEO Richard Smith Tuesday morning, effective immediately.Smith’s retirement follows the September 7 announcement of a data breach that affected an estimated 143 million consumer records as well as the stepping down of Chief Information Officer David Webb and Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin September 15.“The cybersecurity incident has affected millions of consumers, and I have been completely dedicated to making this right,” said Smith. “At this critical juncture, I believe it is in the best interests of the company to have new leadership to move the company forward.”Equifax’s Board of Directors appointed current board member Mark Feidler to serve as Non-Executive Chairman. Seven-year veteran Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., who recently served as President of the company’s Asia-Pacific business, has been appointed as interim CEO as the Board searches for a permanent individual both within and outside of the company.“We are working intensely to support consumers and make the necessary changes to minimize the risk that something like this happens again,” Feidler said. “Speaking for everyone on the Board, I sincerely apologize.”Feidler continued that Equifax is a substantially stronger company than it was 12 years ago when Smith began with the company, but “the Board and [Smith] agree that a change of leadership is in order.”However, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) believes the change in leadership comes in poor timing. With only days left until Smith is scheduled to testify at congressional hearings about the breach, Waters warns that his retirement does not relieve the company of its duty to provide answers to, and adequate address for, the many Americans who were affected.“The public deserves answers about what occurred at Equifax, and its entire board of directors and senior management team should be accountable for the enormous harm caused to consumers across the country,” Waters said. “There will be consequences. This process is only beginning.” in News breaking news Equifax HOUSING mortgage 2017-09-26 Brianna Gilpin Equifax CEO Explains Reasons for Retirement
in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Ginnie Mae and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have discussed ways to implement a change to their rate index, and move away from the current London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) standard, according to a report by Reverse Mortgage Daily. Michael Drayne, SVP of the Office of the President of Ginnie Mae, presented this topic at the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) Eastern Regional Meeting in New York earlier this month. The report states that international investigations found LIBOR was vulnerable to manipulation efforts identified between 2003 and 2012, and global regulators started actively advising financial institutions to move away from the LIBOR standard by 2021. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2014 convened the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) to identify best practices for alternate rates, while also developing an implementation plan.“We’re looking at this, HUD is looking at this, and we’re all participating in the industry working group convened by the Federal Reserve ARRC,” Drayne told NRMLA conference attendees. “The amount of time we have to figure everything out is less reassuring the more you look at how complicated this problem is. We at Ginnie Mae have indirect exposure to this issue. In the end, on the government side, it’s up to the Secretary of Housing to determine what the main rate is going to be.”Drayne said Ginnie Mae’s purpose in the process is to determine how to facilitate the transition to whichever rate is chosen. Since Home Equity Conversion Mortgage-backed securities (HMBS) issuance is focused on adjustable-rate mortgages, this will play into the decision. A rising LIBOR index could also result in lower principal limit factors, further decreasing the issuance volume of HMBS, according to Reverse Mortgage Daily.“To the extent a Ginnie Mae issuer wants to be in this market, we think that should be part of a diversified business plan,” Drayne said. “We want to make sure that they’re committed to the reverse mortgage business and committed to helping senior homeowners.”A Look at Reverse Mortgage TrendsHome Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) loan originations continued to decline in March according to data from Reverse Mortgage Insights.In March, overall HECM originations stood at 2,573 loans, registering a month-over-month decline of 35.7%. While retail HECMs declined 36.1% to 1,497 loans, the wholesale market stood at 1,076 loans registering a month-over-month decline of 35.1%.The report indicated that the top 10 lenders in this segment all saw declines during the month “without the tailwind from loans built up during the government shutdown.” The combined wholesale and retail volume among the top 10 lenders stood at 2,336 loans, a decrease from 3,567 loans originated in February 2019. Ginnie Mae, HUD Moving to New Rate Index? May 29, 2019 462 Views Ginnie Mae HECM HMBS HUD Libor Reverse Mortgages 2019-05-29 Mike Albanese Share
BelmondhotelsItalyTuscany Belmond has announced the acquisition of Castello di Casole, an historic castle hotel in the heart of rural Tuscany, and located within easy access of Florence and Siena. The intimate, 39 room hotel sits within 1500 acres of farmland, vineyards and olive groves; one of the largest private estates in Italy. Belmond expects to invest €7.3 million ($9 million) in a phased refurbishment of the hotel over four years, including the addition of two new villas, bringing the resort’s total key count to 41. Belmond Castello di Casole joins sister hotel, Belmond Villa San Michele, that sits atop the hills of Fiesole overlooking Florence; making for the ideal Town & Country escape. “I am delighted to announce the addition of the stunning and historic Castello di Casole to the Belmond portfolio,” said Roeland Vos, president and chief executive officer. “The Belmond brand continues to gain momentum and this acquisition marks the latest step in our journey towards realizing our strategic growth plan. We believe this stunning castle, steeped in Etruscan history, builds on our past experience of acquiring distinctive, timeless properties and restoring them to their iconic status through strategic investment. Belmond Castello di Casole dates back to the 10th century; owned by Italian aristocratic family, the Bargagli, who for generations farmed the landscape and latterly by acclaimed cinematographer Luchino Visconti whose films The Leopard and Death in Venice embody the ‘Golden Age of Cinema’. Visconti’s parties at the castle were legendary, attended by Hollywood glitterati.
The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has announced its worldwide campaign for 2019 will be themed ‘German Summer Cities’ and will include pop-up events, digital and trade marketing and PR & social media activity in numerous source markets including Australia, using the hashtag #GermanSummerStories.The campaign will feature everything from museums and exhibitions, to industrial heritage, music and open-air events.“As the market leader in urban and cultural travel, the GNTB operates a storytelling strategy across five core themes. For example ‘Urban City’ highlights big city culture, shopping; roof-top bars; for a ‘Romantic’ story, it’s all about fairy-tale small historic towns in rural areas, castles and parks,” said Petra Hedorfer, Chief Executive Office of the GNTB.The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany and develops and communicates strategies and products to promote Germany’s positive image abroad as a tourist destination and to encourage tourists to visit the country. It has 32 agencies around the world. #GermanSummerStories2019German National Tourist BoardGermanyGNTB
New Caledonia’s new microsite, pulse.newcaledonia.travel, has been designed to change people’s perceptions that New Caledonia is simply a beautiful beach destination. The site features recommended activities based on their level of intensity: the ‘Zen’ collection includes swimming in a natural pool in the Isle of Pines, while the ‘Thrills’ collection features skydiving over the UNESCO World Heritage listed lagoon and ziplining through the lush forests near capital city Nouméa.The new site is part of a wider New Caledonia 2019 campaign, Feel The Pulse Of New Cal, which includes a variety of activities.New Caledonia Tourism Australia Director, Margot Deltour, said the Feel The Pulse campaign will put a spotlight on New Caledonia’s diversity, with the aim of encouraging Australian travellers to experience the destination firsthand.“Travel in 2019 is driven by the experiences a guest can have in a destination and the memories they can create there, and New Caledonia is in a unique position to leverage this. We have a wide range of activities on offer for all types of visitors, from adrenaline-fuelled windsurfing on the lagoon to soft hikes along world-class trails. And all less than three hours from Sydney.“We want Aussies to feel the true ‘pulse’ of New Caledonia and know all the different ways they can immerse themselves in the destination to create wonderful, lasting memories.”In February 2019, a large-scale piece of street art appeared in Sydney’s Marrickville suburb showing underwater scenes from New Caledonia. Later in 2019, a map will appear on the microsite tracking the heartbeat of a range of travellers and influencers as they experience the different activities on offer in the destination. The map will create a shared experience between those who have visited the destination and those yet to explore it. This is in addition to a range of radio and digital advertising.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) pumps his fist as he runs off the field after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, in Chicago. The Cardinals won 48-23. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Top Stories 0 Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires It’s clear that while blocking may not have been a priority for Fitzgerald — and still, he gets paid as much as he does to catch the ball — it is now a big part of his game that will continue to help the Cardinals win. While Chris Johnson, David Johnson and Andre Ellington get the credit for running with the ball and the offensive line is praised for opening holes, the work of Fitzgerald and his fellow wideouts may not be easy to see, but it is not unnecessary.Or unnoticed.“As a football player either you’ve got it or you don’t have it,” Goodwin said. “You have to be a tough guy, first of all. There are a lot of guys that play in this league that are not tough — they’re just athletic and they can make plays.“But when it comes down to it, the dirty part of the game, be it blocking in the trenches or blocking on the perimeter, it’s got to be a will, it’s got to be an attitude, it’s got to be a want-to, and Larry has that.” – / 44 “His heart. You block with your heart,” Arians said of what makes Fitzgerald a good blocker. “You see a lot of wide receivers go, ‘I could’ve got him.’ No, you could’ve got him and you just didn’t. He gets it.”Fitzgerald, though, admits that hasn’t always been the case.“It wasn’t something that was really high on my priority list when I was younger, but here for us to be able to have great team success it requires the wide receivers to do some blocking,” Fitzgerald said. “And so for us to be able to have the success I know that we’re capable of, guys have to do some things that maybe they weren’t good at before.“But I’ve worked at it, we practice on it every single day. I’m much more comfortable doing it and I just hope to continue to improve at it.”His ability to be an extra blocker, especially when lined up in the slot as often as he is, is a central reason for the team’s improvement in the run game. Offensive coordinator said Fitzgerald reminds him of former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward, who was also a physical blocker. He said the receiver is always talking to him about how he can improve as a blocker, and that mentality trickles down to the rest of the receiver group. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. — Around the country, Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald is earning rave reviews for his resurgence as a weapon in the passing game.Through two games, the 32-year-old is tied for 10th in the league with 14 receptions, is fifth with 199 receiving yards and is tied for second with three receiving touchdowns. His fantasy football owners are very pleased with the early returns.But inside the organization, while everyone is undoubtedly excited about the box scores the veteran is producing, it is something that does not show up in the stat book that has everyone talking. Specifically, Fitzgerald’s blocking in the run game.Asked what has changed in that department this season, as the Cardinals are averaging 4.4 yards per carry through two games this year after gaining just 3.3 yards per tote last season, head coach Bruce Arians pointed to the tight ends, offensive line and receivers blocking, singling out Fitzgerald as someone who has excelled.Quarterback Carson Palmer, who has made a living throwing to players like Fitzgerald, has noticed the receiver’s ability there, too.“I think he is the best in the game,” Palmer said. “I would take him over a lot of tight ends in the blocking game and it’s nothing but will and want-to. There are a lot of guys that don’t want to and a lot of guys that look like they can. He obviously looks like he can and does it. There are not a lot of guys that do that at his position.”At 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, Fitzgerald no doubt has enough size to at least get in the way of defenders, if not beat them outright. But just being big does not make a player a good blocker, especially when said player is a eight-time Pro Bowler who is going to enter the Hall of Fame because of his ability to stretch the field and make big-time catches. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, right, a first round draft pick from Mississippi, battles with offensive lineman Cole Toner, left, a fifth round draft pick from Harvard, during the team’s NFL football rookie camp practice Friday, May 6, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The Cardinals are coming off their finest season since 1948, leading the NFL in points and yards per game. Carson Palmer owns the NFL’s best winning percentage (.870) since the start of the 2014 season, playing the best ball of his 12-year career. He’s 36 years old, though, tossing passes to Larry Fitzgerald, who is also entering the twilight years of a sterling career.After watching the Cardinals pressure Cam Newton on a season-low 20.7 percent of dropbacks in their season-ending loss, Arians and general manager Steve Keim prioritized finding a blue-goose pass rusher this offseason. Keim promptly traded for Pro Bowl edge rusher Chandler Jones while selecting talented defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche in the first round of the draft. If Palmer and Fitzgerald don’t reach the Super Bowl in the next two years, it won’t be for lack of front-office support. Arians and Keim understand it’s time to seize the moment.The acquisition of Jones from New England was widely praised in NFL circles as it gives the Cardinals a premier edge pass rush threat. Since entering the league in 2012, Jones has 36 quarterback sacks, tied for the 11th-most in the league.Nkemdiche, the 29th overall selection in the draft earlier this month, had seven sacks, 19 tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hurries in his three-year college career. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Carpe Diem.It means “seize the day.”According to NFL.com writer Chris Wesseling, the Arizona Cardinals did just that in terms of reconstructing their pass rush — an element of their defense thought to be a weakness despite their trip to the NFC Championship Game last January.Wesseling gave out his NFL Roster Reconstruction Awards for 2016, and gave the Cardinals the “Carpe Diem” Award. Jones and Nkemdiche aren’t the only new pieces on Arizona’s defensive line. Veteran tackle Corey Peters is back from a left Achilles tendon injury that he suffered in training camp last summer. – / 28 Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Reddick understands much of this weekend is about the coaches throwing as much as they can at players in an effort to see who can learn quickly and improve their game.“To see who’s really going home and studying, who really wants to be here,” he said. “You get to weed out who’s just out here and who’s seriously trying to make a living.”Though his roster spot is not exactly up for debate, Reddick plants himself squarely in the latter group. He is trying to be a leader on the field because, as he said, it is his job, both as a middle linebacker and a first-round draft pick.He won’t get it all down in one practice, but with his first on-field experience as a Cardinal in the books, the former Temple star is pleased.“Very nice, just to see how things are going to go, what’s being expected of you, what’s the tempo like, what mistakes you’re making,” he said. “So that you can try to come back and correct them the next day.”Impressive startsOverall, Arians said on Friday he was very impressed with his group, with the team’s draft choices as well as some undrafted free agents and tryout players catching his eye. “Larry, from Colorado State Pueblo, wide receiver — I gotta get his last name yet — but I learned his first name already, so that’s a really good thing.“And Carlton, from Rutgers, looked really good; the two wideouts. A couple of the corners broke on balls really well. Budda (Baker) showed his ball skills.”The “Larry” Arians was referring to is Larry Clark (pictured), a 6-foot-3, 182-pound player who is in town on a tryout. In five games for the ThunderWolves last season, he caught 22 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns.Taking a look for down the roadOne of the more interesting players in rookie camp is Air Force linebacker Ryan Watson.Practicing on a tryout basis, even if the coaches are impressed and the Cardinals would like to keep him around, he could not join the team for another two years.According to a rule handed down in late April by the United States Air Force to the Academy, all cadets must serve two years of active duty before they earn “ready reserve” status, at which point they could enter professional sports.“I think it’s dumb,” Arians said of the rule.Be that as it may, Watson, who notched 99 career tackles along with 16 sacks, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery, could not possibly suit up for the Cardinals — or any other team — until 2019. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Arizona Cardinals first round draft pick Haason Reddick works out during an NFL football rookie minicamp at the team’s training facility, Friday, May 12, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) TEMPE, Ariz. — About this time last year, Robert Nkemdiche’s first practice of rookie minicamp raised some eyebrows.As you might recall, afterwards Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the first-round pick “was killing people in walk-through” and was “bench-pressing linemen already.”For a variety of reasons, that did not foreshadow a dominant initial campaign for the defensive lineman. “Like always, I’ll only answer questions about guys on our team,” the coach said. “So you can put the pen away. If the guy’s not on our team, don’t ask me a question.”And that was that.Follow Adam Green on Twitter Comments Share As he told ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, having to wait will be very tough, but he pointed out that he went to the United States Air Force Academy, so the easy road is not one he is familiar with anyway.“Oh, it’s definitely a tease,” he said. “But I’d rather be here than not be here, so I’m blessed to have the opportunity. I will never be upset coming in here and leaving.”At this point, Watson is trying to soak it all in while the Cardinals and their coach are just hoping to learn more about him.“Just give him a good look and give him the opportunity, he’s earned it,” Arians said. “I love working with the service guys and giving them that chance.“And you never know, they’ll impress you enough that you’ll think about them two years from now.”One final thought — sort of — on Daryl WashingtonYou knew it was going to come up.After the Cardinals surprisingly released recently-reinstated linebacker Daryl Washington on Thursday, Friday was the first chance to ask any of the team’s decisionmakers about what transpired.Expecting it, Arians pivoted mid-point while talking about players who impressed him in rookie camp with a quote most could have anticipated. And, on Friday, a similar occurrence happened with Arizona’s 2017 first-round pick, linebacker Haason Reddick.Playing middle linebacker after primarily being an edge rusher in college, the No. 13 overall pick in the draft caught Arians’ eye.“He tried to make a damn tackle,” Arians said. “And flying across the field and trying to get an interception.“But like I always say, I’d rather say ‘woah’ than ‘sick ’em,’ and he looked natural at the position.”This early, that’s a good sign.Because while pretty much every player on the field this weekend in Tempe is learning a new system, Reddick is at the disadvantage of doing so while at an unfamiliar role in the defense.“It’s very tough, it’s very tough,” he said of learning a new position at the same time as a different defense. “But I’m dedicated. I’m going to be in here watching film, getting in there with Coach (Larry) Foote, making sure that I’m learning.“I’m looking forward to being the biggest impact this season and getting out there and making some plays, so I’m definitely out here and I’m taking it seriously.”
Arizona Cardinals defensive end Kareem Martin (96) sacks St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis to cause a fumble for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires “I just wanted to go out there and do everything right. Have my right angle, have good get-offs, setting edges because this is a zone team—they hit the edge,” he said of the Bears, “and get after the passer standing on the edge and I felt like I accomplished that.”Martin, 25, has made plays in all three of the Cardinals’ preseason games. He had three tackles and a pass defensed in the Hall of Fame Game and then registered a half-sack and tackle for loss last week against Oakland.Martin is playing how he’s practiced, according to head coach Bruce Arians.“He’s been outstanding,” Arians said recently. “He’s another guy that kind of became our best special teams player. His pass-rush skills as his strength has gotten better. For him, standing up, that took some time having always played with his hand down. But, he’s got that length and he’s got a couple of good pass-rush moves now so, yeah, he’s earning his stripes.”A defensive end in college, Martin, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 272 pounds, transitioned to outside linebacker in 2015, after his rookie year. In the two seasons since, he’s made 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 29 games.“My pass rushing and just having overall confidence in myself to go out there and complete the task,” he said, referring to his progress. “This being my third year now at the position, I feel so much more comfortable doing every thing that Coach Bob (Sanders) and Coach (James) Bettcher ask me to do in the defense, and that’s the biggest thing when you’re playing outside backer because there’s so much to do.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Besides Martin, the other outside linebackers in training camp looking for playing time behind Golden and Jones are Alex Bazzie, Cap Capi, Jarvis Jones and Terrence Waugh. Jones is the only one with an NFL resume, though, having played the past four seasons in Pittsburgh. But Jarvis Jones has been dealing with a back issue, keeping him on the sidelines for much of camp.In other words, Martin appears to be the clear front-runner to be that third outside linebacker.“He is right now,” Arians said. “Jarvis isn’t practicing, so he’s winning that job.”It would be quite the story: from special teams standout to key contributor defensively. It’s a story Martin hopes is written in 2017.“The biggest thing is just make an impact, on special teams and hopefully being that guy on that third down sub package to be able to rush the passer with my guys out there. That’s the biggest thing,” he said. “That was my goal coming in, to be able to get in that third-down package. I’m trying to showcase it in camp and in the games that I can be out there and be dependable, be that third guy they can depend on.”Follow Craig Grialou on Twitter GLENDALE, Ariz. – With Markus Golden on one side and Chandler Jones on the other, the Arizona Cardinals are set at outside linebacker; and perhaps for quite some time. Golden is 26 and eligible for a contract extension after this season, while Jones, 27, was just rewarded with a five-year deal back in March.But those two, who had a combined 23.5 sacks last season, can’t play every snap of every game; and often a third linebacker is used on the outside, especially in obvious passing situations. That third backer was Alex Okafor in 2016. He, however, departed in the offseason, signing a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints.The most likely player to step into that role in 2017 is Kareem Martin.“Definitely that’s the goal,” he said, following Saturday’s preseason loss to the Chicago Bears. “We got two great pass rushers in Markus and Chandler, so hopefully I can take over that spot that Okafor left here and continue what we had last year to be the top outside linebacker sack leaders in the NFL.”Against the Bears, Martin nearly had a sack and perhaps would’ve if it weren’t for a botched snap by center Taylor Boggs. Quarterback Mark Sanchez recovered the football and Martin, in on the play immediately, was credited with a one-yard tackle for loss.“I felt like if he didn’t fumble the ball I would have had a cleaner hit on him,” Martin said. “I felt like I had a good get-off. I jumped the snap it felt like, got around the edge. I beat the guy a few plays earlier so I knew I was going to be able to run around him and he just happened to fumble that when I was lucky to get my hands on him.”It was another solid effort by Martin, who also recorded a quarterback hit during his 19 defensive snaps. 1 Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) So, this is what happens when you beat a good team?The Arizona Cardinals scored their most impressive win of 2017 by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-24 at University of Phoenix Stadium last Sunday. Jacksonville came into the game riding a four-game winning streak powered by the league’s best defense and running game. The Cardinals were able to move the ball against the Jags while bottling up Leonard Fournette, who managed only 25 yards on the ground. Ultimately, Arizona is an average team that is going to struggle to maintain consistency down the stretch. That stretch is tough, and I don’t see the Cardinals getting back in the playoff hunt this season. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact As you’d expect, the pundits noticed the Cardinals’ win.Here’s a look at where Arizona lands in NFL Power Rankings from around the country. NFL Power Rankings: Chargers are in mix for AFC West crown after 0-4 startCardinals rank: #22 (▲5) Like Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said: They are still alive. But they face a must-win against the Rams this week. NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 13?Cardinals rank: #23 (▲4)This was the perfect matchup for the Arizona Cardinals to steal a win. When the Cardinals can run the ball with some consistency, they can be tough to stop. Bruce Arians is going to find creative ways to throw the ball downfield. The problem is they haven’t been able to run consistently this season.Fortunately, the Jaguars’ biggest defensive weakness is against the run. This helped open the passing game up for Blaine Gabbert, who does have some arm talent and who can make some nice throws.It also helped that the Jaguars have a one-dimensional offense. Arizona was able to sell out against the run and put Jacksonville in a lot of unfavorable situations. Cardinals rank: #22 (▲4)Beat the Rams on Sunday, and the Cardinals could be on to something. 4 Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo NFL Power Rankings Poll: Chargers Making Their RunCardinals rank: #22 (▲4)Boy, it was nice to see the Cardinals win a game on special teams play rather than lose one. Though, as they surely know, Blaine Gabbert as a quarterback means they are prohibited from a top-20 spot in the Power Rankings Poll. Top Stories NFL Power Rankings: Mike Tomlin’s Super Bowl proclamation wasn’t wrongCardinals rank: #21 (▲1)Have the Cardinals unearthed a gem in Ricky Seals-Jones? Seals-Jones was a big-time wide receiver recruit to Texas A&M but didn’t do much there. He never had more than 560 yards in a season. As a senior he had 333 yards and one touchdown. But he switched to tight end with the Cardinals after not being drafted, and after starting the season on the practice squad and not catching a pass before Week 11, Seals-Jones has 128 yards and three touchdowns the last two weeks. He has a great size-speed combination (6-foot-5, 243 pounds, ran a 4.69-second 40-yard dash at the combine) and we might be seeing the start of a really fun breakout.USA Today Power Rankings – Week 13Cardinals rank: #20 (▲9)Dare we ask if Bruce Arians is making a legit quarterback out of Blaine Gabbert, who’s looked un-Gabbert-like against two quality defenses? Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Eagles keep soaring; Falcons, Ravens rise upCardinals rank: #22 (▲1)Blaine Gabbert got some type of revenge on the Jaguars and earned more opportunities to be the Cards’ starting quarterback. The team still needs to look at a QB early in the 2018 draft, but it’s good for Bruce Arians to get a long look at what the 2011 first-rounder can still do. – / 51 Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Week 12 power rankings Arizona Sports Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Top two the sameCardinals rank: #19 (▲6) Gabbert should start the rest of the season. He has shown great upside. — Mike JureckiWeek 13 NFL Power Rankings: Where every team ranks No. 1 (well, almost)Cardinals rank: #18 (▲3) Punters need love, too. Cardinals punter Andy Lee continues to be one of the best in the league. He has pinned opponents inside the 5-yard line five times this season, most in the NFL.NFL Power Rankings, Week 13: Chargers hit top 10; Chiefs dropCardinals rank: #21 (▲6)Gotta hand it to Blaine Gabbert, who spread clutch passes around in the fourth quarter as easily as he purportedly spread blame around while in Jacksonville. While myriad factors played into the former No. 10 overall pick’s failures with the Jags, Gabbert is a different player now. Despite seemingly never getting any credit, Gabbert always competed in San Francisco — and had a few moments of glory — before eventually being overshadowed by the Colin Kaepernick question (pre-kneeling). Gabbert clearly outplayed Kap in 2015, before giving way last season. When I saw him perform in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton this past August, I thought some folks might have bailed on him too early. Gabbert was 9 years old when Phil Dawson started launching field goals in 1999. What a kick.
Go back to the e-newsletter >Cruise Passenger Magazine has named Scenic winner of the Best River Cruise Line category for 2015 for the fourth year running. The annual Reader’s Choice Awards accredit the best cruise operators within the travel industry as ranked in order of readers’ choice.Michelle Black, GM Sales and Marketing, commented: “It is such a huge honour to have won the Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Award for Best River Cruise Line for the fourth consecutive year. This is a fantastic achievement and we are so grateful to our loyal past guests for taking the time to vote for us year after year.“These awards really do mean so much to us as they are proof that we are delivering a world class luxury river cruise product that we can be proud of. 2015 has been a huge year for us in terms of river cruising with the launch of four new ships in three new destinations, including our expansion into South East Asia, and we can’t wait to welcome our guests on board and share these new destinations with them in 2016.”Scenic marks the award as the end of another successful year after winning Best Cruise Company and Best Tour Operator in Luxury Travel Magazine’s prestigious 2015 Gold List Awards in April. The annual awards accredit the best luxury travel operators and destinations as voted for by their readers.Go back to the e-newsletter >