The play was a risky one, with Carson Palmer dropping back deep into his own end zone, the line of scrimmage the Cardinals’ own 1-yard line. But it was executed well, with the Packers getting no pressure on Palmer before he delivered a 17-yard pass to an open Larry Fitzgerald.
It was hard not to notice, however, that — on a pass play — one of the key points of protection was wide receiver Michael Floyd blocking Pro Bowl pass rusher Clay Matthews. An odd matchup, to be sure, and certainly an unexpected one for Floyd to win. Floyd isn’t small at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, but he isn’t Matthews’ 6-3, 255, nor does he have the experience to fend off a pass rusher in such a situation.
“(Michael) handled Clay pretty well on that play,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “I wasn’t really happy he was matched up on Clay. It was supposed to be a quicker pass. He blocked the crap out of him. Mike is a big strong guy. But hopefully, I think my coaching would be questioned if we put him on pass rushers like that every day.”
Floyd’s reputation from college was one of a willing and able blocker. That part isn’t a surprise. “You know, if Coach puts me in a position where I’ve got to do something, I’ve got to do it,” Floyd said of the play. “If I don’t, that’s a sack for him and that’s a no-play for us. It’s something I’ve got to take care of. I take a lot of pride in my blocking and I have to get it done.”
What seems more surprising is having Floyd, one the top receivers, stay in on a passing play. On running plays, Floyd has already shown he can and will be effective as an edge blocker.
“I want to be an all-around receiver, not just making big plays and scoring touchdowns,” Floyd said. “I also want to help those guys running the ball be successful. If it means blocking a guy to get them in the end zone, I’ll do it.”
That’s the kind of attitude and performance most coaches appreciate. And Friday night, it helped lead to a completion (as seen below) and should be a point of pride. “When he watches the tape,” Arians said. “there will be some chest poking.”
Tags: Clay Matthews, Michael Floyd
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