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Another year in top 100 for Fitzgerald

Posted by Darren Urban on May 27, 2015 – 7:01 pm

You can argue that more players should be involved in the polling for the NFL Network’s “Top 100” players — currently unveiling their list from 2014 — but one thing cannot be argued: Larry Fitzgerald continues to command heavy respect with his peers, and it’s hard to see that changing. Once again, Fitz has made it on to the Top 100 list, this year at 68th. It’s the fifth straight year Fitzgerald has been on the list, and admittedly, his status has moved from 14th to seventh to 22nd to 38th to his current spot.

But again, Fitzgerald, in an era of prolific receiving numbers, hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2011 and yet still grabs the attention of the other players that he would be on this list (and undoubtedly, by the time the list is complete, other receivers with better stats will be left off.) Bruce Arians has said a number of times Fitz’s stats won’t return to gaudy numbers, but the franchise still wants to make sure Fitz is around. It was also clear that right before Carson Palmer got hurt last season, he and Fitz were finally clicking at a nice rate of return.

He’s the team’s emotional leader these days, which often can impact as much as a big catch. And even if his numbers have shrunk a bit, he’s still good for plenty of those too.


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12 Responses to “Another year in top 100 for Fitzgerald”

  1. By clssylssy on May 28, 2015 | Reply

    It certainly sounds as if Arians and Michael Bidwill aren’t on the same page about Fitz’s value with the Cards, and Arians statement about Fitz’s future numbers has a note of foreboding to it. The decline in Fitz’s numbers isn’t as much a reflection on Fitz as it is on the Cardinal offense, the QB situation, and Arian’s stubborn refusal to use the Card’s best weapon optimally. It’s really difficult to put up the numbers when you aren’t targeted so smart football fans will look at the bigger picture and judge Fitz’s place according to his contributions to the team that he can control.
    As a longtime fan, I watch ,not only Fitz’s performance while up against our opponents but also I follow other teams and compare their receivers to Fitz with the conclusion that he is stuck in a system that is not going to help his career as far as the numbers are concerned; BA has decided that , and. if stats were all that were important to Fitz he would have gone to a team where his agenda would be served best rather than that of the team. If he had gone to another team in FA, we would be see a higher ranking and a return to the “gaudy numbers” once again.
    Despite his “drop” on this top 100 list, it seems everybody (except perhaps those in Cardinal land) recognize Larry Fitzgerald as one of the best all around players in the league, and I put more weight on how his peers grade him than a bunch of media “experts” who have never played a down in their life and make their living dishing hyperbole as directed.
    Nonetheless, given the circumstances, and as you noted, against players with better stats, #68 is not too bad a place to be! Great Job Fitz!

  2. By shooter28 on May 28, 2015 | Reply

    The last 3 seasons in 2012, 13, and 14 WR Larry Fitzgerald’s stats have been affected because of QB play not because of him . In 2012 Arizona had no QB or offensive line. In 2013 the offense was a bit shaky as everyone was trying to learn the new system , but over the last 9 weeks of the season Palmer was one of the hottest QBs in the NFL and WR Larry Fitzgerald was a tear , finishing with 82 receptions for 960 yards and 10TD’s . Again last season Fitzgerald’s numbers were affected once Palmer went down & he to rely on & play with back-up QBs. Palmer started out last year on fire , he was undefeated , ranking in the top 5 to 10QBs & Palmer and Fitzgerald had excellent chemistry with each other & you could see Fitzgerald was fully comfortable and now at home in the slot. Fitzgerald , Floyd , and John Brown were all on pace to have 1,000+ YD seasons until Palmer went down last season.

    Fitzgerald isn’t the WR he was in 2009 but he is still a elite top 10 NFL WR w/ the best hands in the NFL , dropping just 1 pass over the last 2 seasons in 2013/14, Fitzgerald is also a elite route runner and is one of the best precise elite route runners in the NFL!!!!

    With Palmer back under the helm at QB w/ a elite offensive line protecting him and a massively improved running game , Arizona’s offense is going to be vastly improved and i’d bet money Fitzgerald ends up with between 1,000-1,1000 + yards and 8-10TDs next season. Palmer loves WR Michael Floyd & thinks he is just going to absolutely explode this next season and so do I . At 6″3 , 220 pounds with 4.45 40 yard dash speed Floyd is extremely physical , he ranks as the top blocking WR in the NFL, and is ready to hit that elite level this season. Floyd has also gotten into the best shape of his life this off-season . With a excellent run game and elite offensive line protecting Palmer , the Palmer to Floyd connection is going to explode this season with Floyd hitting that elite level with over 1,300+ yards & 10+ touchdowns this season.

    WR John Brown is going to be Arizona’s next great wide receiver , I absolutely love Brown & he is quickly becoming my favorite Cardinal. At 5″10 1/2 , now 195 pounds , with the kinda of elite raw break away speed Brown has ( He runs between a 4.29-4.34 40 yard dash) along with his excellent , crisp route running ( Which he will only get better at) & having mastered the double move he can not only rip the top off of secondary’s but he can destroy secondary’s and make you look straight up stupid while being double covered. Brown is quickly become an elite WR & I believe he will be one of the NFLs best by his 3rd year, and make the Pro Bowl this year. Going into his 2nd year with Palmer back under the helm , with how much Palmer loves throwing to Brown & the chemistry they have, I think Brown is going to have around 70-80 receptions for 1100+YDs n 6-8TDs. He set a NFL Record as a rookie with the most game winning TD passes in a season with 4 , finishing with 49 receptions for 700 yards n 5TDs, had Palmer stayed healthy I think Brown would of easily had 60-65 receptions for 900+ yards and 7-8+TDs.

    With Arizona now having two RB’s with elite pass catching abilities as a WR, with both 5″10 205 pound Andre Ellington (4.35 speed) & 6″1 1/2in tall at 225 pound RB David Johnson ( 4.46-4.50 speed) having both elite overall speed & elite lateral speed with both having literally able to stop n cut on a dime, Arizona is going to have a top notch run game this season but Arizona is going to also put both RB’s Johnson & Ellington on the field at the same with Floyd, Fitz and Brown all on the field at the same time ( Everyone but Fitz runs a 4.3-4.4 40) which is going to give Arizona a straight up lethal pass & run game because teams cant cover all of those guys , and someone on the opposing defense is going to get isolated and exposed !!! Arizona also drafted 5″11 WR/KR/PR JJ Nelson , who has 4.24 40 speed & AZ also has 6″3 210 pound WR Jaron Brown ( NOT John Brown) w/ 4.39-4.42 speed that has developed into a excellent WR & is AZ’s #4WR this year. Palmer is going to have a massive amount of weapons in his arsenal .

  3. By Richard L on May 28, 2015 | Reply

    Shooter28-

    The one stat that Floyd has to change is his number of drops. Fitz is elite because he has 1 drop in 2 years. If Floyd makes the catches then he could achieve elite status this year.

  4. By Crow on May 28, 2015 | Reply

    Fitz is a class act on and off the field he may not be getting the numbers he used to but he is a great leader he is one of two reason i came a fan of the cardinals……. the other was when i followed kurt warner here

  5. By Scott H on May 28, 2015 | Reply

    shooter28 –

    Unlike my other response to you on the previous blog, I am right with you on your take on Fitz and his numbers over the last 3 years. I have made the same case many times, so…nice to see that someone else gets it. All well said. And no great mystery to it.

    As stated by clssylssy, Fitz has not dropped off. His numbers dropped off ( last season, in particular ) because of changes in the offensive philosophy, which involved a concerted effort to not feed any one player or “force” the ball where it shouldn’t go. Whatever. I’ve said it a thousand times – a player like Fitz IS a player you HAVE to get the ball to often because of the good things that happen when you do.

    I mean, we’ve only seen that for a the last decade, haven’t we? What suddenly changed???

  6. By Scott H on May 28, 2015 | Reply

    Well, Fitz being in the Top 100 is a given. IMHO, he does not belong at 68, but….hey, it’s a list done by the NFL Network, ya know? The same geniuses who haven’t included Calais Campbell until this year. So….how much attention can ya really pay it?

    To me, it’s pretty simple – if ya just look at Fitz’ numbers from last year, then you would probably agree he belongs right where he is because he is over 30 and a player starting to decline. OR, you can look at HOW Fitz played, the catches he made, the body control, the effort he still brings on every damn play, and THOSE HANDS ( ! ) and you would see very much the same player he has always been. And THAT player doesn’t belong at 68 on a Top 100 list.

  7. By Lifetime Fan on May 29, 2015 | Reply

    I agree with Arians here – no need to feed Fitz the ball, as shooter detailed, the cards have a ridiculous amount of weapons on offense and a lot of them are way more explosive than Fitz. Use Fitz as a possession receiver who still often demands a double team, and feed the others on deep routes or plays with explosive potential. Arians knows offense and that is exactly what he does.

  8. By clssylssy on May 29, 2015 | Reply

    Shooter 28
    John Brown reminds me of Andre Ellington as both are good specialist and situational players, however, through no fault of their own they lack the physicality to be the every down player or elite players we wish them to be. We all saw Ellington get crushed last year because he was forced into a role he wasn’t built for, as well as, seeing John Brown relegated to playing in specialized schemes where he wouldn’t be forced to do the heavy lifting blocking duties handled by Fitz and Floyd, but could utilize his speed to help the team in more specialized I don’t see John Brown EVER being able to take on the tough guys in the league, upending the Richard Shermans or Darrell Revises, opening up routes, and, in order to be considered “elite” a WR has to do more than make catches; there’s the blocking, and, of course the hands…Brown had a few drops as I recall,but still good for a rookie. None the less, we are fortunate to have such weapons as Brown and Ellington in our offensive arsenal and can only hope that this year they can remain healthy in their roles. In today’s NFL, in order to have a successful career as a WR and be considered “elite”, a player has to be an all- arounder and while speed is great, size matters!
    Scott H-Very good job at stating the obvious; the facts Fitz’s peers and other coaches KNOW about Larry’s skillset as an all-arounder …AT THE “DECLINING” AGE OF 30! Obviously, I’m in total agreement with you about Fitz’s place on the Top 100…but, as you stated, this is an NFL generated list and it just part of the process of doing business to hype “the new kids on the block”. We can just be happy to have him around for another two years? to continue delighting fans and being our “emotional leader”!
    If Floyd can work on cleaning up the drops (like Brown he has made some pretty amazing catches when it counts), the Cards should have one of the best receiving corps around and a huge asset for our offense.

  9. By Scott H on May 29, 2015 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    Oh, I excell at stating the obvious! And, often times, the idiotic as well. 🙂

    Funny that I often hear you mention the drops that Brown had…and I just don’t seem to remember those. But I didn’t see every play, so…I’ll take your word for it. What I DO remember are many of the catches he DID make that I thought were just spectacular catches for a rookie WR. Some of the ones I recall at the moment were just amazing. His best HAD to be the game-winner against the Eagles, the 75-yarder. First Palmer’s throw was so absolutely perfect but the way that ball came directly over his helmet to land right in the basket….I mean, HOW DID HE EVEN SEE THAT BALL??? Over one shoulder or the other is one thing. And a pass out in front of the WR is another. But THAT pass? Again, I just don’t even know how he saw that thing.

    What matters is that he caught it, it resulted in a win against the Eagles, AND I was there to see it! 🙂

    Yeah, let’s hope to see Floyd revert to a level of dominance this season. He seems so capable of it. I wanted to see it last year, but….didn’t. I think you and I have wondered if Fitz would still be here if Floyd HAD taken over as the dominant WR for this team last year. But NOW is the time. The windows for Fitz and Palmer may be closing and this team needs to get it done while they are still here and playing at a high level. A big season from Floyd can only help ALL of us.

  10. By clssylssy on May 30, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H-
    If I seemed to be remiss in giving Brown his due props I didn’t mean to do that; perhaps when we see a player making those amazing catches like Brown did from the very start as a rookie, we begin to hold them to a higher standard and expect that kind of performance every time they are targeted and sometimes maybe the balls aren’t as catchable as they appear from afar…Floyd has also had some pretty amazing catches at critical moments so I think the fan base is a little spoiled. We are becoming famous for our receivers in this league!
    Quite honestly, I didn’t think Fitz would be back this year, and while I shuddered at the thought, had prepared myself to see him in a different uniform…or retired doing bigger things.
    I do think with two big receivers like Fitz and Floyd (not the blocking leader as I recall) as a pretty intimidating tandem, plus the specialty speedsters like John Brown, JJ, Jaron Brown, and any of the others, the Cards could have the best receiving corp in the league and a pretty critical weapon for the offense. And, while we hope Palmer will remain healthy the entire season, the level of a receivers consistency can’t be hindgent upon the perfect throw.
    I am from Kansas originally, am quite well acquainted with the college football programs there, so am naturally pretty stoked to see Brown haul in those unbelievable catches which I hope he is able to continue without a “sophmore slump” that we have seen from some of our other players. In this league a high level of consistency and longevity define greatness more than flash. (I was hoping we would get Tyler Lockett in the draft who went, unfortunately to the Seahawks)

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