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Fitzgerald: It’s not the play-calling

Posted by Darren Urban on September 29, 2016 – 4:38 pm

The Cardinals are not playing as efficiently as they want on offense and the passing game has yet to truly click. But the problem is not overconfidence, veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said, and it definitely is not the play-calling — including the down-the-field mentality.

“Nobody’s opinion really matters outside of this locker room,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve had a lot of success with the way we play ball, and we’re not going to change the way we play our game. We’re a big-shot team, we’re always going to take our shots, that’s part of our makeup, and they will come.”

Sports Illustrated’s Andy Benoit, who breaks down game video weekly, noted that often the Cardinals’ “pass concepts worked, but catch-throw didn’t quite connect.” Obviously, the Cards can’t get away with missing opportunities, but it’s why they feel the offense needs focus rather than a change.

Bruce Arians emphasized this week that every pass play has a deep shot component — but every play has multiple levels for which quarterback Carson Palmer can read. It’s Palmer’s choice to go for the home run or go shorter.

“We’ve just got to make first downs,” Fitzgerald said. “What we have scheduled in terms of play-calls, they are great calls. They have worked for years and years. We just need to execute them better.”


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Posted in Blog | 29 Comments »

29 Responses to “Fitzgerald: It’s not the play-calling”

  1. By georgiebird on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply

    Cards are getting outplayed- period. I agree, it’s not the play calling. But it very well could be the personnel both on offense and defense. If the Cards were going for an 8-8 season, then the personnel would be OK.
    But if the Cards are going for Division, Conference and SB, who are these exceptional talents that will take us there? David Johnson, Larry, PP on pass defense. But where are the other guys??

  2. By Joseph Robinett(Lightwing) on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply

    The great Mr. Fitzgerald exemplifying, once more, to moi, on how to remain on the path to victory, and I don’t necessarily mean on the scoreboard… Always the best in prosperity to Mr. Michael B. and the Arizona Cardinals.

    Sincerely, Joseph Robinett Lightwing

  3. By creditcard on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply

    Cards have a deep, slow developing passing attack. They do not have a quick passing attack. They also have not shown much misdirection types of plays (reverses, screen passes) etc… O-line is at best average, and long developing plays w/o quick action passing plays only further exposes our average O-line.

    Defense speaking, the D-line is especially showing immense weakness. Jones appears to be solely interested in pass rushing. This results in teams exposing Jones by literally running right over him.

    Special teams is of no surprise, a true weakness with the team.

    All of these items should have been addressed during the OTA’s and preseason

    I sure hope I’m wrong, but I really think this will be a very long season.

  4. By Pitt on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply

    Fitz can say it’s not the play calling all he wants, but it’s obvious to everyone else. He must not be watching the same games we are if he believes that. Just cuz it has worked in the past doesn’t mean its has to work now.

  5. By Canadian Redbird on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply


    Maybe we should experiment with the 4 – 3 instead of the 3 -4 in order to upgrade our run defence. We seem to have an abundance of D linemen that would allow us to employ this scheme. Buchanon would move back to safety where he started his career and instil fear into the hearts of any receiver coming across the middle. It would be interesting to know how teams like the Patriots , Seahawks & Rams set up.
    Thanks for your thoughts !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Finally, I like the fact that our new punter Quigley is someone who can punt the ball outside his shadow, not like his predecessor. 45 yard average vs. 35 yard Butler – a no brainer if you ask me.

  6. By Dr. G. on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply

    Nobody’s opinion outside this room matters, Fitz?? This sounds like something PPXXI would espouse for the media. Please remember where your gargantuan paycheck comes from… We love you, man, but the Fans’ opinions are what make this game great; and w/o the media, your paycheck would be meager.

    Every fantasy player will have some opinions for you. Theirs has turned it into a big business also. And, Vegas has an opinion about the $$$ spent to trust your team to execute.

    As I said, we love you and your work ethic, but your efforts to cover for lackluster team mates and//or coaches falls on deaf ears…good try, but best you say nothing, nada, zip… You’re the man among the kids…

  7. By MesaBirdgang on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply

    2 out of conference losses could mean jack at the end of the season. Cards just need to execute and play sound fooseball. I’d rather take palmer and the 1 and 2 cards versus Kolb and the 4 and 0 cards

  8. By TucsonTim on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply

    Outcome bias

  9. By Cromanaz on Sep 29, 2016 | Reply

    We need john brown back to stretch the field, Arians is making a huge mistake leaving fitz in the slot without a outside threat it’s making our best player who draws double coverage to be covered by linebacker/nickel corner and safeties can just sit back and read palmers eyes. If fitz was outside he could force those safeties in coverage

  10. By shannon robinson on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    Everything that has happened this season is part of winning. Enjoy the ride, including the losses. Watch more film. Study the things we’re doing wrong and don’t miss the pleasure of seeing play improve. However, I have to say this: If you don’t like the talent on this roster and how it was constructed then you aren’t much of a scout. If you don’t like the defensive scheme, including Coach Bettcher, then you’ll probably think it’s magic when the Cards’ D comes alive with who they’ve got and what their doing. For those fans who don’t like the play calling, that’s who BA is and why we’re great and a thrilling team to watch. Fasten your seat belt?

  11. By Marlin on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    If we take care of the Rams and the Niners the next few days… all this will pass. The 2 games we’ve lost are non-conference. We’re still in a good position.

  12. By rod on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    Palmer keeps under throwing the receivers on those long balls. Either they have lost a step, getting bumped off the line or Palmer is losing strength in that arm. I would rather see over throws than under.

    Just my thoughts.

  13. By clssylssy on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    I remember when Whiz & Graves were fired, Michael Bidwill said, he wanted to bring some “football guys” into the positions which he felt he had in Arians & Keim.
    Certainly Arians was a “football guy” coming off a SB win in Pitt and then with the Colts when he took over for Chuck Pagano. Keim, was a former lineman (not NFL) and scout so it has always been a total mystery to me, why the Cards didn’t have great linemen; one would think that these “football guys” would understand the importance of building from the line. Special Teams is an area that I don’t think they guys place an importance on, perhaps are waiting until the league phases them out.
    Our D-line should be a priority but what have we got? Almost every starter is, at best, the walking wounded, playing injured, at less than full capacity and we have no real depth. Our “dollar linebacker” has seemingly fallen out of favor and gone from being the next best thing to “a liability”…because he added some weight which is now slowing him down. Perhaps, what we need are some adjustments that our DC is unable to see (and drafting some REAL linebackers would help too). I still think we need a “consultant” for the defense to bring some fresh eyes and ideas into a scheme that has become stale. We don’t have the size and no longer have the speed of our previous “no fly zone” b/c that was 90% Honey Badger as a FS.
    We have Veldeer, Iupati, and Mathis on the 0-line when they’re healthy, again we don’t have quality depth and this is a place we need a strong front.
    Fitz says it’s not the play calling because these plays have worked forever…perhaps that’s the problem. There is nothing fresh about anything we are doing and our players seem to have become too comfortable with the old routine, robotic in their execution; There is no excitement or passion like we saw with the Bills team and will likely see on Sunday with the Rams, who are the new darlings of Hollywood and the West.

  14. By Scott H on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    I may have to disagree with Fitz here. I think the play-calling does need some changes. I’m considering that after we have operated as we have the past few seasons, perhaps other teams are very well aware of what we like to do and they are playing us much more effectively. I mean, how do you account for the Pats so effectively taking away anything deep against us and just snuffing us out on offense?

    I think other teams know what we want to do and they are much better prepared to defend us. There IS some recent evidence of that. And IF that is the case, we can’t just keep trying to do the same things with no adjustments.

    Knowing Fitz, of course he is going to take the responsibility on himself, not blame the coaches or the play-calling. I love that about him. But I think it IS on the coaches right now to make some changes.

  15. By D on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    It’s funny how all of these media people are experts, when none of them have the combined coaching resume’s of BA and Tom Moore. I guess it’s part of society today, everyone is quick to tear down and find enjoyment of dissing each other..

    Cards 31, Rams 10

  16. By John the Draft Guy on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    Play calling;

    On offense, it is truly tough to say. If Floyd and Brown run the correct routes, if the line can protect Palmer, if balls aren’t dropped, is this offense good?

    Tough question to answer. When the Patriots took away the deep pass, it seemed the offense struggled. At the same time, the pats defense is very good with active LBs underneath. In spite of that, the offense still got in position to win and then a penalty and bad snap cost them. The only game In the Bills game, like I said, too many mistakes by the players. Larry, probably is right that if the players execute , the offense is fine.

    On the other hand, the defensive play calling has been horrible. The zones absolutely killed us against the pats and bills. To me, this change in defensive philosophy is the biggest issue with the cards.

    The Rams offense is so bad, everyone will say Bettcher’s defense is back, but I will need to see it against a good team.

  17. By TucsonTim on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    I’m surprised BA’s comments about the 8-8 Rams etc. haven’t come up. I think this is going to be a very physical game…and even last year we had trouble being physical

  18. By Darren Urban on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    Tucson —

    RE: 8-8

    Two things impact that I think. One, Arians said it in 2014, and the Rams were much worse last year. Two, after Fisher said on Hard Knocks about how he didn’t want to be an 8-8 or 9-7 team, it’s clear that even the Rams realized it was a problem.

  19. By John the draft guy on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply


    I’m calling you out!! I’m disappointed in you.

    Jetstream Roy Green is going into the ring of honor Sunday and not a peep from you. I thought everyday we would have heard something about him?

    Come on Georgie, give us one story about your guy.

  20. By Scott H on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG –

    RE: The Rams offense is so bad

    Two things….yeah, but how bad has OUR defense been? And let’s not forget what Gurley did last time he played at UoP. AND look at what McCoy / the Bils run game did to us just last week.

    Anyone realize that the Rams are 4-1 since the beginning of 2015 against the Seahawks and the Cardinals??? Granted, three of those wins have been against the Seahawks. But we know the Rams ALWAYS play us tough, as tough as anyone else we play all year.

    Anyone thinking we are just going to walk right over the Rams is dis-regarding what the history has been AND the problems we are having with our own execution recently. This game is not a win until we go out and earn it.

    From the perspective that we just got our tails handed to us and we seem to be on the ropes a bit, the Rams could not be catching us at a better time. But from the perspective that because we just got our tails handed to us and the players / coaches are hearing about it everywhere they turn….maybe it ain’t such a good time to be catching us right now! The Cardinals have every reason – and plenty of motivation – to want to just totally turn it loose on somebody right now. Let’s hope the Rams are about to walk into a buzz-saw.

    I’m expecting a close, hard-fought game.

  21. By MartinK on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    Play calling is not synonymous to a team’s overall makeup or philosophy. As a person who is critical of current play calling I do appreciate the aggressive deep ball mentality. What I have an issue with is that I don’t see Arians make adjustments that are needed when the team is sputtering. That, I believe, cost us the championship game last year and the game in Buffalo.

    When you keep going for the pass when nothing works you are one-dimensional. The fact that you have deep and underneath options on your pass play is not important when you are in a hole, — players are frustrated, and it is time to establish the run and settle down. They are looking for the coach to make the right adjustments. Ultimately, the receivers dropped the ball, and Fitz or the other receivers should not point to play calling as an excuse. But the coach’s job is to make adjustments and help the team get out of the hole and win regardless of who drops the ball and why. If the coach wants the quarterback to go underneath he can tell him, that’s why they have radios.

    The Cardinals are a great team and they can easily score 21 points in the fourth quarter once they settled down. The problem was that Arians made no adjustments and threw bombs. This resulted in three and outs, and put all the pressure on an already struggling defense.

  22. By georgiebird on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    Chandler Jones looks like the second coming of Simeon Rice. Pretty good at getting after the QB but a Zero on rush defense. PP is also very good on pass defense and a near zero on rush defense. Belichick might of know what he was doing when he nearly gave Jones away.

  23. By georgiebird on Sep 30, 2016 | Reply

    I have been spending so much time with my baseball Cardinals that I didn’t get the memo on Roy.
    Roy was truly the greatest of all Cardinals . His induction into the Ring is more than overdue. It does bring a sentimental tear to my eyes.
    In 1984, Bill Parcells called Roy ‘the best Offensive player in the NFL’ Roy’s total pass receiving yardage in the 1984 season was the most by any NFL player to date- (only Alworth and Hennigan AFL) had more.
    And Roy could run away from any NFL db and that includes the great HOF Darrell Green of 4.2 speed fame.

  24. By Matt on Oct 1, 2016 | Reply

    Cardinals this year playing with zero passion. You can tell in the first quarter of every game, cardinal players don’t want to play.

  25. By clssylssy on Oct 1, 2016 | Reply

    Fitz and Roy Green discussed his impressive career in a really nice special piece on Channel 10 (I think…may have been 12) last week that I’m sure will be available on Youtube eventually in case you didn’t catch it. You are absolutely right; Roy Green is long overdue for induction into the Ring of Honor, truely a great player.

  26. By shawn sass on Oct 1, 2016 | Reply

    i think everyone is freaking out to soon, just some kinks that need to be worked out and i for one have faith in both keim and ba to right the ship.

  27. By TucsonTim on Oct 1, 2016 | Reply

    Didn’t we open with 5 straight 3 and outs? Hmmm… Not the play calling, seriously??? Easier to blame it on one dropped pass than admit the truth.

  28. By rod on Oct 1, 2016 | Reply


    You don’t know what you’re talking about, Roy was a doodie-poopie-pants!!

    He farted constantly and it threw people off of their games….he literally was leaving people in his cloud…a stinky brownish cloud!!

  29. By Cody Zarr on Oct 1, 2016 | Reply

    Gotta love fanalysts. Drop 2 games and everyone thinks the sky is falling. Of course they also have the perfect solution to rectify the problem as well because they know the organization inside and out.

    There’s a reason the majority of us sitting in a cubicle grinding away in a 9 to 5 and not strutting the sidelines of what could have been the Pink Taco Stadium, so just calm down and let BA do what he does better than you. I for one think that St. Fitzgerald is 100% correct. BA has earned our trust and we shouldn’t betray him so quickly.

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