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Whither Fitz? Look to Wayne

Posted by Darren Urban on January 23, 2013 – 11:03 am

The numbers weren’t great for the Pro Bowl receiver — 75 catches, less than 1,000 yards, four touchdowns — but then again, the quarterback situation wasn’t great either.

It was difficult for Reggie Wayne.

Wait, you thought I was talking about Larry Fitzgerald? Well, part of the story plays out as a parallel for sure. Wayne, the Colts’ veteran, had statistics (75-960-4) in 2011 that mirrored what Fitz dealt with in 2012 (71-798-4). But when Bruce Arians came in to Indianapolis as offensive coordinator before the 2012 season, one of his goals was to make Wayne the impact player he had always been. Now that Arians is head coach of the Cardinals, he has the same plans for Fitz.

“As a receiver, you can’t hand it to them, you have to throw it to them,” Arians said. “They can double-cover him, and you don’t throw it to him if he is double-covered and someone else is single-covered. You’ve got to take what is there as a quarterback, but you do have to get him the ball because he is such a tremendous talent.

“When I first met with Reggie, Reggie had been on the left side for 10 years. The first day of spring I put him over there on the right, and he looked like he had palsy. I said, ‘It’ll come. You have to retrain your body here. Wait until I put you in the slot.’ There was buy-in.”

Now, Fitzgerald is ahead of the curve there. The Cardinals have been moving him around for a while now, just to get him open. Wayne’s resurgence not coincidentally benefited from the arrival of Andrew Luck at quarterback, and as of today, it doesn’t look like a Luck-type will end up behind center for the Cardinals this season. But Arians understands the ball must end up with Fitz more often than it did last season.

Wayne, by the way, had 106 catches for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns in 2012.

WayneFitzBlog


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Posted in Blog | 32 Comments »


32 Responses to “Whither Fitz? Look to Wayne”

  1. By donttakelosses on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Darren:

    With Q back in SB, stories coming out re Cards. One: that on INT just before half, either Boldin or Fitz was lined up improperly,causing the Defenders to cheat as Fitz and Q were too close. True? Who was out of position?

    DTL

  2. By donttakelosses on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Darren:

    Another one, not SB related. Heard discussion re more hamstring and ankle injuries on Cards this last year, that some players suspect may relate to too much off season with Lott’s weight training style re season long wear and tear. Any plans re off-season change of pace with Lott?

  3. By D on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Darren, I am assuming that since Senior Bowl is going on now and then as we get closer to the draft that will take priority, but would Feb be the time frame for BA/Keim to either extend current player’s contracts or decide on the players on the team as we see today? Thanks

  4. By Darren Urban on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    DontTake —

    RE: SB play

    The story I heard was that Q was slightly off. But I also know that Warner counted on Harrison blitzing on that play — he ALWAYS blitzed from that formation in such situations — and he was the one who got the pick when he backed off.

  5. By Darren Urban on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    DontTake —

    RE: Lott changes

    I do not know that right now.

  6. By Darren Urban on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Extensions

    At this point, I’d think it will be next month. But if I am a free agent to be, I’m waiting for free agency if I can. Can’t hurt at this point.

  7. By mrpeary3189 on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,

    Have you watched any of Senior Bowl practices? If so, which QBs and O-Linemen have stood out to you the most?

  8. By Darren Urban on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    mrpeary —

    RE: Senior Bowl practices

    I have not.

  9. By jocards on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Darren –

    Very clever Wayne/Fitz hook at the beginning of the article and nice Arians tie in! Well done.

  10. By Dynosoar on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Warner threw the ball to Fitzgerald when double and even tripple teamed.

    Throw it to him! He’ll get it.

    And if we get Roberts or Floyd open, throw it to them. Then when the teams start watching them, throw it back to Fitz.

    Then run the ball a couple of times until an injury to our RB,(He He, sorry) then throw it back to Fitz.

    I believe if Larry’s targeted more, our QB’s will gain more confidence in moving the ball. Success breeds success. We have the weapons and we have Fitzgerald, arguably the leagues best weapon (or one of the top five) so let’s use him.

    I like Arians’ thought pattern, other than Fitzgerald catches the ball when double teamed.

  11. By Andy Kw on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    The Dumbest decision was letting go DB Coach Louie Cioffi. He transformed our Defensive Backs to turnover machines. How could we have let him go??????

  12. By Andy Kw on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    -What is the Cardinals draft order? Meaning the first round, 7th overall pick but what about the rest of the rounds?
    -What draft picks did we get in the trade of A.J. Jefferson to Minnesota?

  13. By Jordan on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Damn straight.

  14. By Jordan on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    This Quessenberry kid that Mike Mayock likes so much is really intriguing. Add some strength and there’s some real potential there.

  15. By mal on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah, nice hook on the story with the Wayne/Fitz thing, but its meaningless if you dont finish it —
    what happened to Wayne’s numbers in 2012 once Arian took over?

  16. By Darren Urban on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: draft picks/order

    The league has yet to put out that information.

  17. By Darren Urban on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Mal —

    RE: Wayne 2012

    Fair point. Fixed.

  18. By AndyStandsUp on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Well, Fitz did have 153 targets (7th in league) so it wasn’t like the QBs weren’t trying to get him the ball. Only WR in top 15 targets that didn’t have 1,000 yards, cuz they couldn’t throw, or have enough time to throw, long.
    I’ve read Darren, that Arians favors the vertical game. IYO, is there a current AZ roster QB that is above average in that area?

  19. By Darren Urban on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: QB

    I think that’s up for debate. Skelton and Lindley have the arm. Do they have the accuracy?

  20. By Brian Hoyer on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I can chuck it!

  21. By Eazy E on Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    We better not go into next season with this mess at QB. Vick, Alex Smith or Tebow.

  22. By azqfan on Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    Dynosoar, I disagree 100%. Kurt Warner NEVER threw it to Fitz when he was tripled covered. Kurt threw it to the open guy. If no one was open, yes he would give Fitz and Q opportunities to make a play. This Offense will NEVER improve if we keep this idiotic mindest that “Fitz is always open”. That has been proven 100% wrong the last 4 years. Lindley constantly forced the ball to Fitz when he was covered(Hello Rams game…2 pick 6’s) and so did Skelton. A qb has to know to find the OPEN guy, not just #11.

  23. By Scott Brown on Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    Andy Kw and Darren,
    Re draft order.

    Az will swap places with Cleveland each round, ( both 5-11 teams )
    so the basic draft order would be:
    round – pick – overall pick
    1 7 7
    2 6 38
    3 7 71
    4 6 102
    5 7 135
    6 6 166
    7 7 199

    Note, this does not include the pick coming from Minn in the Jefferson trade. also the later rounds picks ( rounds 4 – 7 ) will have the compensatory picks from the NFL to teams that lost free agent players the prior year, ( last year I think there were 30 – 31 picks slotted in at the end of rounds given to teams ) so that will change overall draft selection picks for the Cardinals in these later rounds.

  24. By Brian R. on Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    the quarterback position wasnt the problem. it was the offensive line. whens the last time we ever had a good ground game? ive been a cardinal fan since i was a kid and weve never had a good running attack.

  25. By jasonsoroski on Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    The most recent great RB I can think of is Stump Mitchell. :-)

  26. By Kevin S on Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    Azqfan — exactly. MANY of our picks were the result of the mentality “just try to get it to Fitz.” He sometimes makes great plays but if for every 2 or so that we get to him, one gets intercepted, that’s not going to work.

  27. By Kevin S on Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    We have a fan above saying we’d better not go into the next season with our QB mess… and suggesting Tebow as one of the options?

  28. By Scott H on Jan 27, 2013 | Reply

    Eazy –

    Tebow? Based on what, exactly????? That one crazy season in Denver, which was a gimmick offense and nothing more? Because based on that one crazy season, the Broncos made a bee-line for Peyton Manning and shipped Tebow out of towm on the same train that Manning came in on. What might that tell us?

    Subsequently, the Jets acquired Tebow and look how THAT played out. Despite having a QB situation as bad as or worse than ours, the Jets didin’t even want Tebow on the field. What might that tell us?

    It tells me that Tebow offers little to nothing for a team looking for a REAL answer at the QB position.

    Alex Smith, maybe.

    Michael Vick, I’d say no thanks. He no longer has the legs that made him special at one point in the past and the injuries in recent seasons are likely to continue.

    Tebow, definitely not. He’s not even a real NFL QB. Honestly, someone should convince him to convert to being a TE. THAT might actually work for him with his size and athleticism.

  1. 4 Trackback(s)

  2. Jan 23, 2013: ARIZONA-CARDINALS.INFO – Bruce Arians needs to involve Larry Fitzgerald in plan
  3. Jan 23, 2013: Arians Looks to Get Fitzgerald Involved Like Wayne
  4. Jan 23, 2013: ARIZONA CARDINALS – Bruce Arians needs to involve Larry Fitzgerald in plan
  5. Jun 13, 2013: Word From the Birds Blog | Not wanting to repeat, Fitz is on the move

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