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Help me help you

Posted by Darren Urban on December 16, 2010 – 10:28 am

John Skelton said he just wanted to throw more completions as his life as NFL starter heads into a second week. That makes sense, but it really needs to be a two-way street. It was difficult to see the Cards’ game last weekend and not notice the early drops, which put Skelton into an 0-for-7 hole as a passer. There is little question each side has to back the other in this equation (Hence the headline … and yes, that’s really the Cards’ locker room).

The Cards’ pass catchers do seem to have dropped more passes this season than normal (think Steve Breaston’s long incompletion last Sunday — pictured below– or Larry Fitzgerald’s TD drop against the 49ers). In fact, according to STATS, LLC, the Cards have had the greatest percentage of dropped passes this season (12.7) than any other team in the league. Sunday’s opponent, Carolina, is next (11.2) and then surprisingly, New England (10.4). According to STATS, Breaston has seven drops this season, Fitzgerald four and Early Doucet four (and running back Tim Hightower 5). The Cards are listed with 33 total drops.

“To be honest I don’t even see it as a major issue,” Doucet said. “It’s one of those things, the coaches notice and they mention it, and drops happen. As receivers, though, you want to make sure you’re not that guy. I know I have had a couple and so have the other receivers. I don’t think it’s something we’re always thinking about, which would cause more drops.”

Again, it works both ways. STATS also tracks “catchable” balls (and like drops, there are judgment calls involved in these “facts”). The Cardinals are last in the NFL in “catchable” passes thrown, at 57.8 percent. More than half the league is above 65 percent. In the end, it goes back to being a two-way street.

“It’s something you need to focus on, especially with a young guy (at quarterback),” Doucet said. “If he’s making the throws he needs to make and you’re not holding up your end of the bargain … we are professionals and that’s what we get paid to do, catch the ball. That’s something we are aware of.”

UPDATE: Coach Ken Whisenhunt’s thoughts on the subject of drops: “I don’t necessarily know if it is an inordinate amount as much as it is in critical situations, where we have had opportunities for big plays that can change the momentum of a game. That’s where I think we have had some. Anytime you are struggling a little bit and not performing the way you expect to, those things are magnified.”


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Posted in Blog | 39 Comments »


39 Responses to “Help me help you”

  1. By xevinx on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    I’d be interested in knowing how many of Skelton’s passes were considered “catchable” last game.

  2. By Rugbymuffin on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    So appropriate to hear that quote from Doucet, who has dropped more than four passes this year. That is a joke, four passes ? More like 10 or 12.

    Early should start thinking the other way about drops since he has been playing himself off this team, IMO.

    ….just wow. How can someone who has regressed as a WR as much as Doucet has, even say something like it, “To be honest I don’t even see it as a major issue”.

    You are a receiver!!!!!!!! Your #1 priority is to catch the flippin’ ball. Unreal.

    And we wonder why this team has failed as such a massive level ? Jeez, can’t the end of the season come sooner so we can get guys like this off the roster ?

  3. By ross on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hightower doesn’t drop passes. The ball is just scared of his awesomeness.

  4. By brad oneill on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    in defense of the receivers it is difficult to adjust to the throwing styles of three different quarterbacks in a year. i have cringed over a few of the drops but I think the reason the drops stand out is because it has been so rare to see a pass land in a good spot and to lose it when it happens is crushing to a fan. i think this week should be an improvement over last week, and then against Dallas we will get a real feel for where the team is.

  5. By Darren Urban on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Brad —

    RE: QB styles/drops

    Asked Doucet about that specifically. His answer: “That’s not an excuse. We’ve worked with all of them all year.”

  6. By Adam on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    I still want to know who you think is the best coach in the NFL. Belichick is hands down the best coach in the NFL. If you want to give all the credit to the quarterback then Peyton Manning should have 4 or 5 superbowls. Belichick has created a system that works and he develops his players to play and excel in it. That’s what great coaches do. They design a system that is proven to work. ( I. E., Bill Walsh) Coach Whisenhunt doesn’t know if he wants to throw the ball or pass it. What system is that? The Cardinals don’t even develop their players. That’s why Dominique Rodgers is an up and down player who should be a shut down corner. I haven’t seen or heard of any of the Cards coaches being known as coaches that are known for developing talent. The Cards will go 5-11 this year. Next year will be the same. I want to hear your football acumen Darren.

    Also, who is coach Raich???? YOu haven’t answered that either. From my research it seems like he was brothered in to be a linebackers coach and he had no business being one. Hmmmmm???? Am I correct??? I know you know. You can’t have this site and not know who all of the coaches are and their background.

    I’ll just keep digging up these guys background because I can tell you won’t tell me.

  7. By Hank on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve had a growing suspision all season long that Fitz is starting to get exposed as perhaps not the top-flight receiver he’s been painted to be. He’s seemed to have missed a few steps with Q and Kurt out of the picture. I wish I was wrong but Fitz has been anything but special this season. Sure, you have to have someone to deliver the ball. But even when it’s there, Fitz is looking pretty ordinary. Maybe he’s still recovering from the early injury, but the leader of our vaunted receiver corp has not been impressive, even on the jump ball.

    Maybe I’m alone here on this?

  8. By Darren Urban on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Adam —

    RE: Questions

    1) I think the best coach in the league is Belichick.

    2) http://www.azcardinals.com/team/coaches/matt-raich/94709857-771b-43c1-847f-9da6d0a3c108

  9. By Mike on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Everybody should vote for Fitz for the pro bowl, this guy works hes tail off! If he had a good QB he would rank near the top again! Its not hes fault the balls thrown to him by DA aren’t catchable!!! Skelton looks better though. SO LETS GET LARRY TO THE PRO BOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Doucet will probably never develop into receiver half as good as Boldin, although he’ll probably exceed Boldin in games missed due to injury. If I were GM, I’d cut Doucet and try to find someone else more reliable. WRs are a lot easier to replace than QBs, CBs, OTs, and reliable kickers like Feely.

    As for reliability, Beanie’s turning out to be just as fragile and injury prone as most everyone thought he was coming out of the draft. The Cards were right to take him, and he’s got great potential, but his injury track record should compel the Cards to draft a good RB prospect in the middle of the next draft, and even another in the later rounds. The Cards definitely need more depth and competition at the RB position.

  11. By Peter in Canada on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    I think this is a symptom of a team that is losing and an offence that is struggling. Everybody tries that little bit harder and sometimes they try too hard i.e. they start looking to make yardage after the catch just before the ball arrives. It would be interesting to compare the stats between the seven game losing streak and the other six games.

  12. By ross on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hank, yes you are alone. Best player on the team. And top 3 wideout in the league.

  13. By Mike Ellingboe on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    What a difference a year makes. Didn’t we have the lowest ranking in this category last season?

  14. By Mike Ellingboe on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    @Hank,

    I can’t speak for anyone else but I don’t share your views on Fitz. Our QB play this year has been deplorable.

  15. By darrel on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    I agree

  16. By Adam on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,
    Thanks for answering my question. I knew you were a good guy.

    Now that most of Dennie Greens talent is gone we will definitely see what type of coach Whisenhunt is. We will see if he and Rod Graves and Justin Casey know how to evaluate and bring in awesome talent like Dennie Green did. Right now it is looking bad. The players that should be developing aren’t and that’s on Whisenhunt. It’s a team of underachievers right now. Not to say it can’t change but I don’t think Whiz has the saavy in creativeness to change it. The Boss’ personality and style contagiously penetrates the minds of his players and coaches.

    Great coaches eventually create a coaching tree of talent that coach other teams and are usually successful as well or above average. These assistant coaches go on to be successful not necessarily because of the coach they were under (Whisenhunt) but because the head coach knew what type of coaches to surround himself with (LEADERS). If I was coach Whisenhunt I would surround myself around coaches that were as smart as me or much smarter than me. They are out there you just have to do extensive research and don’t tell me the NFL doesn’t know how to do that. You don’t surround yourself around dummies just so you can look like a genius in front of them. Only time will tell if Whiz is a good coach and I really like the guy but if I had to bet, I would bet against him. He’s too nice and not detailed enough. Simple as that. Once he corrects those 2 simple things I will get on his side as a coach.

    Whisenhunt, you need to read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. It should give you some incite on runnig a tight ship.

  17. By AndyStandsUp on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,
    That WAS the Cards locker room and hopefully the title of your offseason article will be “Show Me the Money”.
    BTW, with a 69ers win tonight in SD, AZ will be officially eliminated from playoff contention, correct?

  18. By darrel on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Ur crazy any team in the nfl would bend over backwards for fitz he can dominate games. But look at qbs we have had. Four diffrent qbs throwing to him cmon Man best route runner in the nfl. With sure hands to me he looks way better with yards after the catch thrn evr did poor qb and a bad offfensive line. Your wide outs. Aren’t gettin. Balls. Plain and simple ..like T.O. said. He can’t throw. The ball to himself

  19. By Phoenixraven1 on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Your alone here…

  20. By K-DUB on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    How many drops have Andre Roberts have? Does the stats included muffed punts?

  21. By Darren Urban on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Mike —

    RE: Drops

    That I do not know.

  22. By MikeG on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren– Do you attribute the dropped passes by the Card’s receivers more on the QB or the receivers themselves??? Playing with 3 different QB’s this year has to add to that. Plus Warner threw such a soft catchable ball. I put it more on the Qb’s!!! Kurt had great touch! Also I think Belichik is a great coach but don’t you lose some respect for him after his cheating escapade with filming the other teams signals the last 3 years????

  23. By Darren Urban on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Playoffs/Niners win

    Well, technically, if there were ties in a couple of specific games after tonight, it could still work. But given how many times we actually see a tie in the NFL, well, I’m probably more likely to win the lottery.

    And it is still the locker room, since that’s at the training facility they have always been at and not a stadium.

  24. By Darren Urban on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    K-Dub —

    RE: Roberts.

    Three. And no.

  25. By Darren Urban on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    MikeG —

    RE: Questions

    I think it’s both. When your QB play is lesser, that’s when receivers have to be better, not worse.

    I didn’t say I had a whole lot of respect for Belichick. I find him, from a far, pretty arrogant. But that doesn’t change the fact he’s the best coach.

  26. By MikeG on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Where do you rank Sean Payton of the Saints as a coach??? Certainly he is young and does not have the track record of Belichick but I really like him. He really did turn around the Saints! They are my pick to win the Super Bowl again this year. I think they are better than last year—their defense is much improved. I think he is our next great coach in the making.. I think he can win multiple Super Bowls! What do you think???

  27. By Darren Urban on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    MikeG —

    RE: Payton

    I think he is a very good coach. And I think he’s going to be winning as long as Drew Brees is his quarterback.

  28. By cards62 on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Just hope to see Skelton play 3 more games this year and see if he can find a rythem with our receivers. Carolina has a good defense 10th against the pass and 15th overall, and the 49ers defense is 11th overall. The Cowboys not so great at 25th overall and our Cardinal defense is 30th overall and 30th against the run.Hope to see the young guys playing more on our defense.

    Guys I think we have to give our receivers a pass this year as our QB play and therefore play calling and offensive line play has just been dismal.

    It sure would be nice to see Larry jump and snare a few balls these last 3 games I will admit, but I think Larry has played well, but I can not be a homer and put him in the pro bowl this year as others are more deserving.

    Steve Breaston was banged up, but once again came to play every game and I really like his game.

    Early D. I have not liked, but I remember his teammates saying he was going to have a breakout year this year so I am okay with rolling the dice on one more year.

    Steve Williams – Would like to see him again. Man how he teased us in the preseaso and nothing during the year. Does anyone know his speed? I think we need another burner like Breaston or even faster.

    Roberts – Is this our other burner or is he also underneath? Started the year horrible, but seems to be building slowly as the year goes on.

    TE – Another year and yet no tightends. We could have had Hernandez out of Florida and he has done really well with New England. I wanted him on draft day. I hope we finally draft a TE very high this year.

    We must have 2 new QBs at least one a proven veteran on our team next year no matter how well Skelton plays these next 3 games.

    Go Cards and Beanie get better so we can pound the ball.
    Steve

  29. By latch on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    @hank

    You are not alone……………

  30. By AndyStandsUp on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, thanks for correcting me not once, but twice.

    You related to my wife?

  31. By Darren Urban on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Wife

    Not as far as you know.

  32. By Big Red on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Please, just don’t drop any against the girls(DC).

  33. By Alex on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    Haha. Darren. I just read on the Arizona Cardinals facebook page that Bellichick loves draft picks. And later on in a post he says that why not give all of our draft pics up for Brady? What do you think?

  34. By Darren Urban on Dec 17, 2010 | Reply

    Alex —

    RE: Brady

    *smh*

  35. By Jeff Gollin on Dec 17, 2010 | Reply

    Doucet doesn’t see dropped passes as a “major issue?” I respectfully disagree.

    I think this (along with stuff like TD saving stops, dropped interceptions, missed open field tackles and net punting yardage) is one of those hidden factors that can tip a game over to the dark side.

    A couple of dropped passes here, and a couple of dropped ones there, and suddenly you’re 17 points behind at halftime & playing catch up (instead of being up by 3).

  36. By Mike Ellingboe on Dec 17, 2010 | Reply

    Hard to imagine having to defend Fitz on this, of all sites, after everything he’s accomplished here but look at it this way – he’s still on pace to have 85 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards. Would any of us have predicted that before the year if we knew he was going to get hurt in the preseason, have a starting QB with a completion percentage hovering around 50% with more INT’s than TD’s, and being in an offense that has a mere 26% conversion rate on third down? How many star WR’s would have continued to play and lead the way he has after losing the supporting cast he had?

    Put any other WR in the league here this season and see if we can say the same about them.

  37. By We'll miss Q on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    Mike, I will go ahead and disagree with you here. Yes Fitz is a great receiver. That being said, he has dropped more balls this year than ANY other. What is his BIGGEST strenth? It is jumping up and “hioghpointing the ball”. He has not done that well this year at all. He dropped the TD against the niners and the pass Breaston threw him last week. I agree the QB play has been terrible, but if you want to be called one of the best WR’s in the game, you need to catch the ball when it hits you in the hands. I for one do NOT give Fitz a pass and vote for him for the pro bowl just because our qb’s suck.

    Let’s not forget Anquan Boldin caught 103 balls and went to the pro bowl, and won rookie of the year without anyone like Breaston or Doucet with him, and with Jeff Blake throwing to him.

  38. By Mike Ellingboe on Dec 18, 2010 | Reply

    @we’ll miss Q,

    So who are you putting in the Pro Bowl ahead of him? Not denying Boldin’s selection to the 2003 Pro Bowl at all, but statistically speaking he had about the same numbers from other receivers that year that Fitz has had this year (Freddie Jones was second on the team with 55 receptions, right now Breaston is at 41 with three games to go). Blake’s numbers, mediocre as they were, still were significantly better than DA’s. If Fitz can’t “highpoint” DA’s passes that’s an indication to me it can’t be done (combined with the fact that he’s had two knee injuries the past two years that would have ended anyone else’s seasons).

    For all his supposed drops he’s still not on the league leader’s list. He is, however, #1 in the league in how many passes have been thrown his way that weren’t deemed catchable (74). I think we can give him a pass for dropping 4 since it’s obvious that there’s no predictability in where they’re going to end up. How many times did he get isolated on a LB this year only to not get looked at by the QB at all?

    Anyone who puts up the kind of numbers he has with the year DA had, and with two rookie QB’s sprinkled in, definitely merits Pro Bowl consideration.

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