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Fitzgerald again lands in NFLN 100

Posted by Darren Urban on May 29, 2017 – 6:53 pm

As the NFL Network’s Top 100 rolls along, a second Cardinal has found a spot: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was revealed as 45th on the list, Fitz’s seventh straight year to make it. After an NFL-leading 107 catches (1,023 yards and six touchdowns) Fitz becomes the second player thus far (Chandler Jones was No. 85.)

Over the years, Fitz has gone from 14th to seventh to 22nd to 38th to 68th to 27th before this year’s ranking. Regardless of whether 2017 becomes his final season, I’d expect him on next year’s list as well.

(It’s great to hear cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross telling Fitz “That’s gold jacket right there” after Fitz’s great TD catch against the Patriots last year. Gold jacket indeed. The Hall of Fame is when, not if.)

As for any other Cardinals on this year’s list, I’m still expecting two: cornerback Patrick Peterson and running back David Johnson. Johnson may actually make a run at a top 10 spot. That’ll be interesting to see (as well as where Le’Veon Bell and Zeke Elliott end up, comparatively.)


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28 Responses to “Fitzgerald again lands in NFLN 100”

  1. By Jeff R. on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    Fitzgerald only had good QBs for half his career, yet he’s still put up HOF numbers and currently ranks 9th all time in yards and 8th in TDs. If he gets 1,000 yards and 8 TDs this year he’ll end up 3rd in yards and 6th in TDs. (Spots above those are unlikely in a single season). I think he’s the second greatest WR to ever play.

  2. By mitchaz on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    At this point in his career, it is remarkable that Fitz is still ranked in the top 50 of the best players in the NFL. This is as much a tribute to the way Larry plays the game, as it is to his innate talent. Fitz is a flat-out baller.

    While Fitz has unselfishly embraced his recent role as hybrid WR/TE “Y” slot receiver…it is taking its toll on him physically to the point where this will likely be his last year in the NFL Most slot receivers are smaller, quick players who aren’t used as blockers on DEs and LBs within the box where the biggest worry is getting rolled up on from behind by a pulling guard or even his own teammate. Basically Fitz is being used as a flexed TE.

    I have been wishing that the Cardinals would acquire a player to fit that flexed TE role so that Fitz can go back to being an X or Z WR. Yet, BA&SK have insisted that Fitz stay at Y. One would think they would want to do everything they can to prolong Fitz’s career, not shorten it.

  3. By Darren Urban on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    Mitchaz —

    RE: Fitz and Y

    Since the time Arians arrived, this staff does not see him as an X or Z any longer. It’s one of the reasons they pushed him so hard to learn his current role.

  4. By Az Cards 2017 on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    The pair still the same Palmer-Fitz, last year Fitz leading the whole league in catches, went over 1000 yards, yet the ranking still down. Very subjective list.

  5. By Scott H on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    Larry RULES!! I understand he is the 3rd oldest WR in NFL history to lead the league in receptions. Wow. I mean….greatness has become the norm for Fitz. You expect it and he delivers every year. Yet, he never ceases to amaze….to reach that level of performance that goes beyond.

    Seems like in recent seasons, we hear so much about Fitz falling off, losing a step, not the dominant player he was a few years ago, etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah, all the standard clichés that writers use when they ( obviously ) really haven’t been paying attention. Fitz dropped off so many lists of different things going into last year. Then, in his early 30’s, in his 13th season, he goes out and catches more balls than anyone else in the league.

    That’s BIG TIME! And, yet, it somehow doesn’t surprise me at all. That is the beauty of Larry Fitzgerald. People continue to write him off as just not really relevant anymore, and he just goes out and continues to play at that level of excellence. Fitz has NEVER dropped off, and I don’t believe he ever will. He has NEVER left the realm of great, and I don’t believe he ever will.

    Frankly, after leading the league in receptions, I find no reason that justifies his dropping down into the 40’s from last year’s 27. But….whatever. Larry is beyond rankings at this point. When a player that is still playing is already being looked upon as a sure-thing HOF’er, rankings don’t matter.

  6. By Scott H on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    Since we were recently in agreement that Fitz has every right to be considered the GOAT at WR, I’m wondering if you saw the piece on NFL.com that questions if Larry has earned consideration to be one of the top 5 GOAT. TOP FIVE??? Are they kidding???? The majority of the panelists included in the discussion do NOT think he has earned consideration as a top 5 WR. The guys that get mentioned throughout that they seem to feel define that elite category are, of course, Jerry Rice, TO, and Marvin Harrison. One puts Sterling Sharpe in there as well.

    Again, you’ve gotta be friggin’ kidding me if you don’t think Larry Fitzgerald belongs on that tier. He absolutely does.

    Heck, we’re talking about the top 5 here. Even if we have to have Rice / TO / Harrison on that list…..well, there are still two more spots to fill. Please. Larry Fitzgerald has to be one of them. He has to. It is NOT possible to put together a list of the 5 GOAT NFL WR’s that does not include Larry Fitzgerald.

    Frankly, I still think the GOAT discussion comes down to just TWO guys – Fitzgerald and Rice. And Fitz has every right to take the title.

    Peachin’ to the choir, I know. I was just wondering if you saw that.

    Man, there goes my blood pressure again!

  7. By mitchaz on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    Darren:

    Whatever Fitz lacks for blazing speed, he more than makes up for with expert route running, using his length and strength to box out defenders and by showcasing the best hands in the business.

    He could still play the X receiver…easily. If the CB leverages him inside….he runs his patented fade, which no one in the NFL runs better. If the CB plays him straight up…he can stutter step, influence the CB one way and beat him opposite. If the CB shades him to the outside…he can run the skinny post all day long.

    That said, Fitz’s best position has always been as the Z receiver…there is no one better at motioning into the slot and releasing or motioning across the formation and running the out route, a dig route or a reverse drag.

    I would argue that Fitz could have been even more productive if he didn’t have to endure the kind of physical pounding he’s taken in the running game.

    BA was always touting Michael Floyd’s 50/50 ball ability…but Fitz is, bar none, the best 50/50 ball WR on the planet. That in itself makes him a threat wherever he lines up.

    One of the main reasons why Fitz is used in the role he’s in is that BA&SK have done squat in adding bona fide talent at TE (other than the erratic Gresham) and slot WR. Michael Floyd never played in the slot because he was “hearing footsteps” over the middle. Smokey and Nelson are too small and frail. Jaron Brown is the next best, but he keeps getting injured…which will often happen when one plays up the middle in the NFL. We will have to see about Chad Williams.

  8. By JTDG on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    Scott H,

    Yeah, that is just plain stupid. Was it ESPN ? They are worthless as a network.

    To me, you look at the stats, offense they play in, the receivers they play with, QBs they had, and did the great player make great plays when they matter.

    When you look at Marvin Harrison. He had Peyton. Manning was so good, he threw guys open. Manning made every receiver he had look great. Now Harrison was good, but I think the John Brown comparisons are good.

    Sharpe ????? The guy played 7 years only. Has 8000 yards and 65 TDs. He shouldn’t even been mentioned. And half his time was with another HOF QB in Favre.

    Rice deserves to be talked about GOAT because of the sheer incredible numbers he put up. Rice had Montana and Young as his QBs. They ran an offense that took the NFL by storm by a Great offensive mind. Every year they had a top defense and running backs who forced teams to bring safeties up. Rice shined above everyone but he had help and longevity.

    Now Fitzgerald has just 13 years under his belt. Lets look at stats;

    Rice after 13 years – 1057 catches, 16455 yards, 157 TDs
    Fitz after 13 years – 1125 catches, 14389 yards, 104 TDs

    So Fitz has more catches, but less yards and considerably less TDs.

    Then you look at the teams. Fitz has been on 5 winning teams out of 13. Jerry Rice has been on 4 Super Bowl teams. Obviously, the niners during Rice’s era were much better than the cards during the Fitz era. Then Rice has had Montana and Young , two HOF QBs for most of his career. Fitz, had Warner and Palmer, but a host of other QBs he has caught passes from.

    So, Rice would have more opportunities being on a better team and better QBs throwing him the ball. That is a huge disadvantage to Fitz. Then to think he had more catches and in the neighborhood of yards is astonishing.

    But my last argument is playoffs. When you think of the greatness of Fitz, you go back to that amazing run in 2008. No receiver has every dominated and tried to hand a championship over to his team more than Fitz. Think of a Fitz play, you think of what should have been a game winner in the super bowl as he breaks away on the slant. Or maybe the catch with 3 falcons hanging on him. Or maybe the play against the Packers in overtime ?
    Look at the big moments in niners playoffs. The Catch was #87 Dwight (can’t remember his name). The Td on the drive against the Bengals to win the superbowl was John Taylor.

    Rice was great and in my opinion, the second best receiver of all time.
    But when I think GOAT, It is Fitzgerald.

  9. By jeffcardinalfan on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    larry and all cards players get penalized for playing for the cards…this is clearly evident throughout nfl history. can anyone make a legitimate argument that roger wehrli and aneas Williams were not first ballot players? if they had played for the cowboys they would have been. notice how the media is forecasting the cards demise while insisting that the panthers just had a bad year and will be great this year. imho aside from injuries the cards lost their:chip on the shoulder” mentality and im sure that being the subject of all or nothing contributed to this. this year however cards have plenty of guys with something to prove…carson, Humphries, Boehm, Shipley, john and jaron brown, niklaus, tyrann, jones, bethel, Williams, Robert n, Gunther,ellington, branch,…I hope the media predicts the cards to be 6-10 and that it makes the players ANGRY

  10. By Adam Smith b1723 fka DTL on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    Fitzgerald says to Clark, “Look, we’ve got a high standard for Larrys in this room.”)

  11. By Scott H on May 30, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    Thanks for all that. Every point you make is right on. And, I get that maybe at some point, we can’t deal in projections of numbers, we can only deal with the numbers that were. OK. But in the case of Larry Fitzgerald, you CANNOT look at the QB’s he played with vs the all-time-great QB’s those other WR’s had and not consider that. Fortunately, Fitz numbers ARE good enough – no, make that GREAT enough – to get him into the HOF AND fairly into any / all discussions of greatest WR of all time.

    Unfortunately, no discussion is idiot proof, as the piece I read today shows.

    BTW, it was Dwight Clark who made “The Catch.”

  12. By mitchaz on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    BA’s Presser 5/30/17

    Players He Touted:

    QB Palmer—he was very sharp and like a kid in a candy store
    RB K. Williams—he always rushes for 100 yards
    WR C. Williams—big, physical, sneaky fast playmaker
    WR K. Hogan—has length, size and can run
    RG Boehm—RG is his, has added more muscle to his frame
    C Toner (save a bad snap)—looks good at C, likes his versatility
    DE Nkemdiche—much improved
    DE Pierre—best interior pass rusher, 6-5, 298, can’t keep him out of the backfield
    LB Dansby—energy level in the building rose the minute he arrived
    LB Reddick—a natural, making good breaks on the ball
    S Baker—he will play all his natural spots (SS, FS, slot CB) when he arrives
    FS Miller—has looked good in new role

    Players He Likes But Has Questions About:

    RB Penny—we haven’t seen yet what he can do in a real game, but sure liked what he did last pre-season.
    CB Bouka—got exposed on field 1 so we moved him back to field 2 for now

  13. By clssylssy on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    13 Seasons and still in the top 50, not to shabby. Especially when beiing relegated to something of a support role (that turned out to be the one to actually have to carry the show), When you consider that Fitz is still able to hold his own with much young players and is still considered relevant when most receivers his age are retired or not working at his level speaks volumes. Do I think he should be ranked higher? Absolutely, but this is a youth driven business, so, it is what it is. Do I think he would still be playing at a high level and have even better stats playing for a different coach and different franchise–without a doubt. Most players with his stature and skillset would have moved on when demoted to the slot position but Fitz chose to play his entire career a Cardinal and possibly pass up the opportunity to achieve his career goal of a SB ring.
    I saw the article that Scott was referring to which made me laugh a little as Larry has had to do more in his career with less than any of the other players considered in the conversation for top five “elites”. IMO, TO was a flash in the pan and the fact that he hasn’t been able to even get a whiff of interest and remains unemployed, immediately takes him out of the conversation. There is more to greatness than numbers on a page. Greatness includes things like longivity, the ability to play at a high level for a sustained length of time without missing significant time away from the field, while continuing to be a contributing force to elevating one’s profession and defining what a great receiver consists of. Few of those doing the evaluating ever consider his value as a blocking receiver and key contributor with intangible values on top of the other stuff.
    When you take his stats, his versatility, longivity, and the universal respect by his colleagues and fans of all teams there is no question that Larry Legend is the GOAT.
    That he is recognized essentially our entire receiving corps speaks for itself.

  14. By Darren Urban on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: T.O.

    Owens was a “flash in the pan?”

    Are we talking about the same player?

    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/O/OwenTe00.htm

    He’s unemployed because after playing 15 seasons, he’s in his mid-40s.

  15. By clssylssy on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    RE: T.O
    LOL! Holy Cow, didn’t realize he was THAT old or perhaps next to Fitz his career seems like a flash in the pan b/c he played with four or five teams (which may include his try in the arena league toward the end) and then getting cut from Seattle’s PS his last time out.
    I acknowledge that he was a gifted athlete but with some personality issues that allowed his accomplishments on the field to be overshadowed by his big mouth although that was pretty typical of the 9er culture when he was there.
    It’s always sad when someone with so much potential is constantly shooting themselves in the foot and can’t get out of their own way. His recent prolonged rant at the HOF selection committee, at the unjustice of not being selected, has taken him out of the conversation as a great for many. He did put up some good numbers and was fun to watch (on the field) if you didn’t have to listen to him!

  16. By JTDG on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    Yeah, To say Terrell Owens is a flash in the pan is not right.

    To me TO dominated. He made huge plays when you needed it and when he played injured in the Superbowl and still was pretty dang good, said everything you need to know about the guy.

    Was he a bad teammate? Yes. But flash in the pan?

    To me, I do not like to include receivers I never watched or just saw in highlights. It is impossible to compare guys from those eras. So forgetting the Raymond Berrys of the world, here is the 5 best receivers of all time.

    5. Calvin Johnson – Teams tripled him and he still dominated
    4. Randy Moss – best deep threat of all time, scared defenses.
    3. Terrell Owens – like him/hate him, the guy made big plays
    2. Jerry Rice – Sheer numbers don’t lie. In 21 years, has better stats than anyone.
    1. Larry Fitzgerald – Numbers are great, but sheer will to win and big time plays .

  17. By clssylssy on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    RE: T.O
    Yes, I believe I acknowledged that to say Owens was a “flash in the pan” is not quite right, but greatness is more than big plays and numbers and by comparison, he doesn’t seem to even be that memorable, quite possibly because of his grandstanding, divaesque behavior. I would never put him ahead of Randy Moss or even Calvin Johnson who are sure to be HOFers, TO??? but yeah, I’ll give him big plays

  18. By JTDG on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    clssy,

    TO did more than just make big plays; He was a great player. Should be in the HOF but some fragile voters want to hold things against him instead of looking at the guy on the field. It is a shame he is not in.

    Guys like Larget, Loften, Harrison, Tim Brown and Chris Carter are in the HOF, and TO has better stats than all of them.

    Owens is #2 in yards all time, 8th in receptions, 3rd in receiving TDs. The guy could ball.

  19. By clssylssy on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG…
    I’m not saying he shouldn’t or won’t get in, just that he didn’t help his case any. He was outraged that he wasn’t a first ballot HOFer & acted like a 2 year old not wanting to wait his turn. LOL,diplomacy has never been his strong suite & sometimes life’s not fair!

  20. By JTDG on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    Again, The HOF is not about if you say the right things or play the political correctness game.

    TO is 2nd alltime in yards. Out of every player who has ever put on a uniform, only one guy has more yards, only 7 have more catches and 2 have more TDs. EVER..

    When you are better than just about everyone in the HOF, you should be upset when some self righteous voters keep you out.

    He never was busted by the law, he never did drugs, he never cheated. Why keep him out? Because he was an ass? Lots of people are asses. I’m sure Darren can think of some he has come across.

    But that has nothing to do with what he did on the field, which is what the HOF is about.

    It is like keeping the guy with the most hits ever out of the baseball HOF.

  21. By Darren Urban on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Owens/Rose

    OK, I’ll take issue with this one. Owens never was busted by the law. Rose was. And yes, it was related to his sport.

  22. By JTDG on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    First, its funny I am arguing on behalf of TO, since I am not a TO fan at all.

    So, OK, I would say you have somewhat of an argument about Rose.

    But his gambling was when he was a manager. He was disciplined and was kicked out of baseball and rightfully so. He should be banned from contact with baseball.

    But the Baseball HOF is full of guys who were not choir boys. They made the Hall because of what they did on the field. That is what the HOF is. The best players who played between the white lines. That’s it…..To not vote someone in, because of the things they have done outside of their sport is wrong.

    OJ Simpson is in the HOF and we know what he did off the field. What about denying Lawrence Taylor? The most dominate player I have seen and a guy who could not kick drugs. If you are denyine people for what they do outside the lines, Taylor should have never got in and Simpson should be kicked out.

    To deny TO, because he was a jerk to reporters or didn’t get along with his coaches/teammates, is wrong.

    The question for the HOF, did he dominate at his position during his era? If you answer that honestly, TO should have been first ballet.

    To show how much off the field politics play, take a look at this.

    Owens- 1078 catches, 15934 yards, 153 TDS.

    Lynn Swann – 336 passes for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns, made the pro bowl 3 times in 9 years
    John Stallworth – 537 catches, 8723 yards, 63 TDs

    I bring them up because if they weren’t on the steelers, they would not be in the HOF. Swann’s receptions aren’t even in the top 250 receivers. He is behind guys like Gene Washington, Sammy White, and Eric Decker.(none in the HOF)

    Point is, the HOF voted for guys because of factors outside of the players play on the field. Those who put Lynn Swann in should have their voting taken away. It has to be about what the player (not the team) did between the white lines and nothing else.

    TO deserved a first ballot election.

    Frankly, I thought I would get more of a push back from placing Larry over Rice.

  23. By Darren Urban on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG —

    RE: Fitz/Rice

    Personally, I believe Rice is the best. A personal favorite of mine. But I’m not into arguing such things. You can never come to an answer.

    Swann is another favorite of mine. In my formative years, the Steelers held my attention, with no hometown team. I understand the argument he shouldn’t be in the Hall. But you more than most should stats aren’t the final barometer. No one who knows anything would pick Sammy White or Eric Decker over Lynn Swann. They wouldn’t. The game was totally different then too. Sometimes I’ve gone back to watch, say, a 1978 Steelers-Oilers game. It’s almost funny. Split backfield, quick snap, hand off up the middle. Second down, do it again. Third down, chuck it 20 yards downfield and hope. Punt and play defense.

    And again, what Rose did, to me, wasn’t “off the field.” It was very much on the field.

  24. By JTDG on May 31, 2017 | Reply

    Darren,

    Fitz / Rice;

    Why else do you think I could get away with such a claim? How can you ever prove me wrong ? I lean towards Fitz for reasons mentioned above, but I understand the Rice side.

    Swann;
    Different game of course but he didn’t dominate during his time. He wasn’t even the best on his team. Stallworth had 200 more catches and 3000 more yards. I think Swann made amazing catches in playoffs and superbowls that over inflated his value.

    Just one more stat; Swann had 336 catches for 5500 yards while Steve Largent,(another HOFer) who played at the same time had 800+ catches and 13000 yards. That is what a HOFer during that time should have produced.
    Swann is so obvious steeler bias.

    Rose;
    On the field is correct, but his playing days were over. Rose is selective.
    Cobb’s was a raciest, Tris Speaker was a member of the KKK. Babe Ruth and others were breaking the law with the Volstead Act by openly drinking alcohol which was clearly against the law.
    Dozens of players from the 1960s and 1970s in the Hall of Fame have copped to using “greenies,” which are amphetamines that now carry suspensions in MLB.
    Then you have the steroid era. Who used and who didn’t.
    But yes, lets draw the line at Rose.

    He should be in the Hall for his amazing accomplishment. He should be banned from baseball for his gambling.

  25. By Scott H on Jun 1, 2017 | Reply

    JTDG –

    I like the inclusion of Calvin Johnson on that list. From a purely PHYSICAL standpoint?? There has NEVER been a specimen like him. He was amazing. And could still play when he stepped down. And like Fitz, he often toiled on bad teams and less than great QB’s. Didn’t matter. NO ONE COULD STOP HIM.

    I think Julio Jones fits that mode right now. Just a freakish combo of size, speed, and talent to spare.

    But regardless, I maintain that Fitzgerald has to be on that list. He never had freakish size or blazing speed, but his HANDS are beyond compare. They are THE BEST set the NFL has ever seen.

    And how often did Fitz ever drop a pass?? That is another number to consider here. I wonder if career stats are obtainable for drops…..

  26. By Cardinal's Chick on Jun 1, 2017 | Reply

    Darren – If he retires before the 2017 season I don’t think he will make the Top 100. Manning didn’t make it last year. I seem to remember that it was not because of his performance…after all Denver did win the SB. Rather, it was because he retired. Sooo…tell my man Larry, if 2017 is indeed to be his last year…wait until the 1st day of the season to announce it. ;o>

  27. By Darren Urban on Jun 1, 2017 | Reply

    Chick —

    RE: Manning

    With all due respect, Peyton was terrible the season the Broncos won the Super Bowl.

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