Larry Fitzgerald knows what he is doing in front of the cameras. He’s made it an art form, and he’s very honest in admitted he’s not going to deliver bulletin board material. Then, again, he’s also really good at good-naturedly jabbing friends of his. So it went Thursday, when he was asked about Michael Floyd, and if he could see comparisons between Floyd and physical former teammate Anquan Boldin.
“I don’t like to compare my teammates,” Fitzgerald said. “Anquan is Anquan. Mike is Mike. Let’s put it like that. They both are really good players. I had a lot of quality time with Q earlier in my career and now later in my career with Mike.
“I see a lot of similarities in terms of the toughness and the meanness out of both those guys,” Fitzgerald added, and then you could see he really understood what he was saying. “They are both really mean dudes,” Fitz said with smile.
As opposed to your “niceness,” Fitz was asked?
“I’m a lot nicer than both of those guys,” Fitzgerald said to a chorus of laughs. “You’d like to have me at your Thanksgiving table much more than you would those two.”
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd
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Michael Floyd has turned into the player the Cardinals hoped he would be when they selected him in the first round. That’s been easy to see of late.
“He’s emerged, and three weeks in a row at that level is kind of a breakout,” coach Bruce Arians said of his second-year receiver. “That’s consistency you’re looking at, and he’s playing hurt.”
(Arians said the only Floyd downside right now is that Floyd’s run blocking — which is usually among the best in the league for a wide receiver — is subpar right now because of his shoulder injury.)
The last three games, Floyd has averaged six receptions for 132 yards and he has a pair of touchdowns in that time. But Floyd’s receptions go even deeper as a Cardinals’ advantage with this statistic: Every one of his last 20 catches has produced a first down. That’s an amazing streak. The last time he had a catch that didn’t get a first down was in the third quarter of the Atlanta game — Oct. 27, before the bye — when he made a five-yard catch on first-and-10.
Looking further, Floyd has 54 catches this season, and 40 of them have produced first downs. That’s a conversion rate of 74.1 when Floyd snares a pass, which puts him among the league leaders. He is tied for 12th when it comes to players who have averaged two receptions a game, but climbs to a tie for fourth when talking about players with at least 50 receptions with Baltimore’s Torrey Smith for fourth in the league, behind the dominant Calvin Johnson (83.3 percent on his 72 receptions), San Diego’s Keenan Allen (77.6 on 58 catches) and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas (74.6 on 67 catches).
Obviously, Floyd’s routes often take him past the sticks, but not always. Floyd has learned a lot about getting to the line to gain on his route, and he is good at breaking tackles, which has served him well in this current 20-catch streak.
Tags: Michael Floyd
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As far back as the summer, Bruce Arians was speculating that Michael Floyd could become a breakout wide receiver this season. The last two weeks seem to underscore Floyd’s coming-out year. He had the 193 yards in Jacksonville, including his memorable 91-yard score, but his game against the Colts seemed to put all of Floyd’s abilities on display in one tidy little package.
Floyd was targeted seven times by quarterback Carson Palmer. He made seven catches (for 104 yards). Here’s how it broke down:
– First quarter. Second-and-6, IND 48. Floyd runs a crossing pattern about four yards downfield and then, in stride, makes the catch and easily adds another five yards for the first down.
– Second quarter. Second-and-6, AZ 45: Floyd runs deep down the right sideline and makes a nice one-on-one jump-ball catch for 29 yards.
– Second quarter. Second-and-6, IND 36: Palmer is flushed from the pocket rolling right. He has to launch a pass to the right sideline almost all arm, but Floyd has smartly broken off his route and come back to the ball, snaring it for an 11-yard gain. Yet another first down. (Are you sensing a pattern?)
– Second quarter. Second-and-10, AZ 33: Floyd makes the grab a yard or so short of the first-down marker. But he powers through the attempted tackle of Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn for what ends up as a 13-yard gain.
– Third quarter. Third-and-14, 50: Floyd knows right where the first-down marker is on the right sideline. Then he leaps to snare a high pass (pictured below) for a 14-yard gain. Analyst Dan Fouts, a former QB, talks about how nice it is to have tall receivers so the quarterback can throw it high and the wideout can just go up and get it away from the defender. At 6-foot-3, Floyd certainly qualifies.
– Third quarter. Second-and-8, IND 34: A simple slant pattern on the move, gains about five yards after the catch on a nine-yard completion.
– Third quarter. Second-and-12, AZ 27: The “easiest” play of the day. A skinny post to gain 19 yards and Floyd slips at the end, meaning he doesn’t even get hit on the play. A beautiful choice/throw by Palmer, and a solid route run.
Floyd earns a first down on each of his seven catches. On the day, he shows his ability to run precise routes, to break a tackle for extra yards, to run after catch, and to be able to go up and get a pass. He shows his sure hands. And if he keeps producing (Floyd is now on pace to have 71 receptions for 1,107 yards) teams are going to have to start paying more attention to him — and that in theory should take some of the attention away from Larry Fitzgerald, freeing him up more often.
Said Arians, “(Michael) is the big-time player I hoped he’d become.”
Tags: Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd
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Sometimes, practice doesn’t make perfect. Sometimes, it’s only game-action that truly can forge what a player can do. That’s often tackling, because you can’t practice it live against your own teammates. And for similar reasons, it’s the same for the jump balls a quarterback throws to a receiver.
From the lofted fade pattern to Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown to the 29-yard bomb to Michael Floyd early in the second quarter, Carson Palmer tossed it up and counted on his receivers to bring it down.
(Poor Vontae Davis, who was the cornerback victimized on both plays. Obviously, the Cards sensed a weakness.)
Those jump balls weren’t being caught early in the year, for a variety of reasons. Who can forget the interception early in the year on the long jump-ball pass to Floyd, the one Bruce Arians said he thought Floyd should have broken up? Or even a lack of jump balls thrown to Fitz, which might’ve just been a case of Fitz’s hamstrings and being physically limited. But if the Cards can try more of those down the stretch to Fitz and Floyd, the chunk plays and the scoring plays should keep coming.
Especially now that Palmer has a trust good things will happen. He couldn’t have known that this summer, or even really in training camp.
“With those kinds of things, you don’t gain trust and know the plays the guy can make or can’t make until you’re playing games with guys,” Palmer said. “In practice, nobody is going up for 50-50 balls, risking an ankle injury or coming down on a shoulder, so you have to see it in games.
“I’m starting to realize the types of plays that those guys have the ability to make and the types of plays they don’t. I’m getting a feel for where I can put certain balls. It’s just something that when you see it on the film and when you see it on the field, you can’t practice that. You can’t see it in practice and all of a sudden go, ‘OK, I know exactly how he’s going to react to this.’ You’ve got to see it on game day. Mike (Floyd) has done a great job making those plays recently.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd
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That’s five years worth of hair growing on the head of Andre Ellington, so he doesn’t want to lose it. He especially doesn’t want to lose it on the football field, but he lost
some of his beloved dreadlocks Sunday, which might have been the strangest part of a strange game. The rookie running back was tackled, Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin ended up with a handful of it (right) and it ended up on the ground, only to have Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker rescue and return it.
“I didn’t think I was going to get it back,” Ellington said. “I was talking to (Jaguars defensive end) Andre Branch, we are pretty good friends, I told him, ‘I’m gonna get your boys, they pulled my hair out.’ But it’s all good.”
Amazingly, Ellington said he didn’t feel it, although “you don’t feel it when you are being tackled by 300-pounders.” He didn’t even realize it had happened until he saw Babin holding it up. “I was like, ‘Oh man.’ He was like, ‘It’s part of the uniform.’ I was like, ‘Alright. I’ll remember that.’ ”
Ellington later tweeted out he’d just stich back in the loose part. I didn’t really know you could do that, but hey, Rucker is a hero, apparently. Ellington did say he was just happy with the win, which is good, because not only did he have hairs yanked out (ouch, by the way) but he was held to three yards on eight carries (ouch again.)
This game had a little of everything. Big plays, bad officiating, crazy calls, a few turnovers and yet another dominant defensive showing after not exactly a bad but more of a weird start. But lookie here: The Cardinals are 6-4, reeling off three wins in a month after that Seattle loss. The schedule gets tougher, with division leaders Indy and Philly next. But the Cards are where they want to be.
– The Newark Star-Ledger reported the Cardinals game in Philly will be flexed to “Sunday Night Football.” Not a surprise. It is supposed to be Giants-Redskins, and with all the Thanksgiving games (and with Chiefs-Broncos Part II unavailable after Part I was on SNF tonight) there aren’t a ton of choices better than two potential playoff teams. It would be the Cards’ first Sunday night appearance since the Vikings game in Arizona was flexed into the spot in 2009. UPDATE: Here’s an opposing report saying it won’t happen. We’ll see this week. UPDATE II: Monday morning the NFL announced that “Sunday Night Football” was going to stay Giants-Redskins, and the Eagles-Cardinals game is staying as a 1 p.m. kickoff in Philly.
– Michael Floyd was spectacular Sunday. Forget the 91-yard play for a moment, he made a catch on the sideline for 22 yards that was incredible. He made a nice play on the long TD, too. His 193 yards are a career-high, and that threat means a lot for the Cards going down the stretch.
– Carson Palmer did not throw an interception Sunday. (OK, he did, but it didn’t count.) First time that’s happened this season.
– Palmer looked good. He said afterward he had a clean pocket, and again, that’s the book on Carson – if you give him a comfortable place within which to throw, he will do well. That’s exactly what happened.
– The Cardinals didn’t have a turnover for the first time since the third week of last season.
– The lopsided way the Cards had their offense today – 419 yards passing, 14 yards rushing – reminded me of the 2006 game in Minnesota when Matt Leinart threw for 405 yards but the Cards just ran the ball five times. The Cards lost that game. It’s not like the Cards didn’t try Sunday, with 24 attempts, but against the worst rushing defense in the league? It was surprising, to say the least.
– Special teams did not have a good day at all. The Cards allowed 36 yards a kickoff return, Dave Zastudil looked like he didn’t hit some punts as solidly as usual and more importantly – much more importantly – there were injuries. Justin Bethel went out of the game early after an illegal blindside block left him with a possible concussion, while fellow gunner Teddy Williams was lost for the season after tearing his Achilles. It hurts to lose Williams. Bethel’s status is up in the air, but it was clear how much the special teams need him after he left the game. That’s what happens when a Pro Bowl-caliber player goes down.
– Among the special teams problems, Patrick Peterson muffed a fair catch. He got it back somehow, but punt returning has turned into such tough sledding for him.
– One of the reasons the Cards had a tough time putting the game away? Field position was rarely in their favor, at least until late. The Cards started possessions on their own 3, 16, 9, 10, 2 and 10.
– There wasn’t a big crowd. It was kind of sad. “It’s like a morgue,” Cardinals tackle Eric Winston said. “It makes a three-point lead seem like 20.”
That’s good for now. Lot of flight left, but I have some other stuff I need to get to. Tomorrow, it’s Colts week, Arians against his ex-team week. It will be fun.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Carson Palmer, Dave Zastudil, Eric Winston, Jaguars, Justin Bethel, Matt Leinart, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Sunday Night Football, Teddy Williams
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This is an infrequent occurrence: The inactive list is exactly the same as last week. That means questionable players like wide receiver Michael Floyd and linebacker John Abraham are playing. And as a quick aside, it is incredibly quiet here both in the stadium and in the press box considering we are 90 minutes from kickoff.
The inactive list is:
– WR Brittan Golden (hamstring)
– QB Ryan Lindley
– RB Ryan Williams
– LB Dontay Moch
–G Earl Watford
– TE Kory Sperry
– DE Ronald Talley
Tags: inactives, John Abraham, Michael Floyd
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Patrick Peterson was shaking his head, unable to fathom even after Sunday’s game how Andre Johnson had made his two touchdown catches. Both were against Peterson but neither were Peterson’s fault as much as Johnson – the Texans’ star receiver – making unreal plays to get a second foot down on the edge of the end zone.
“I thought I played pretty well today,” Peterson said. “I held him to 37 yards, I believe. Just those two touchdowns. He’s an all-pro. He gets paid the big bucks.”
Ultimately, that was the story of Sunday in a nutshell. The Texans got some good plays from their stars. J.J. Watt had a couple of impressive forced fumbles too. But in the end, the Cardinals got more from more people. Bruce Arians called it a “team” win – and most coaches do, and there were parts from everyone. It looked a lot like the other wins the Cards have had, with a defensive bent, no question, but the offense did enough.
And, of course, the Cardinals are 5-4 and going to play Jacksonville on the road.
– There was no way to start the game better than the John Abraham strip-sack that Matt Shaughnessy returned for a touchdown. It didn’t lead to a blowout or anything, but it did underscore what a good signing Abraham is turning out to be. He now has five sacks (and he was pretty close to a few before he got his first three games ago) and is exactly as advertised as a pass rusher.
– There will be much talk – again – about Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington. But guess what? Arians wasn’t down on Mendenhall at all afterward, so there are going to be no changes. He said he thought Mendenhall was down before he fumbled, so the fumble isn’t going to be a black mark. He said he thought Ellington’s work was just fine, and that was after 13 touches (although two more passes were thrown incomplete to Ellington.) Mendenhall had 14 touches for the game.
– It was interesting for a coach like Arians, who said in training camp he didn’t like the wildcat, to use Ellington in the wildcat. Arians said after the game he doesn’t like the wildcat with the QB on the field, and Carson Palmer wasn’t. Ellington was QB for three straight plays. Ran it for five. Ran it for seven. Handed off to Patrick Peterson for a four-yard loss.
– Karlos, Karlos, Karlos. You might be headed to your first Pro Bowl if you could hang on to those near interceptions. There were two more today. Feels like Dansby should have six interceptions already instead of just one.
– Arians said he expected Michael Floyd back next week after he sprained his shoulder, but I want to see that first. With Andre Roberts available, the Cards may not want to push it. It’s too bad, because Floyd was off to a good start Sunday.
– Fitz had three catches for 23 yards on six targets, and it really didn’t mean anything. Don’t know if that’s a good sign or bad.
– Palmer, on the two big plays by Watt: “There are a handful of players you’re not going to stop,” Palmer said. “They’re going to make their plays. It’s inevitable.”
– The Cards got three false starts in the first half. That’s what happens when Watt and company are ready to come. “Guys like (Antonio) Smith and Watt can come off the ball and you are primed up and ready to go,” guard Daryn Colledge said. “Carson is trying to hold (the snap) to help us as safeties are rolling down but we’re primed to go and he’s late in his cadence. There was a perfect storm. We probably could have had more than that. I think pretty much every offensive linemen at some point is pretty much just holding on to the grass.”
– Justin Bethel should be in the Pro Bowl. And that field-goal block was a life saver.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Andre Johnson, Andre Roberts, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Daryn Colledge, JJ Watt, John Abraham, Justin Bethel, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Rashard Mendenhall, Texans
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Tags: Arizona Cardinals, AZ Cardinals, AZ Cards, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, NFL
Posted in Since1898 | 6 Comments »
This isn’t going to be lengthy, not with the bye weekend here and time off embraced. But here at the halfway point, I was trying to consider team MVP candidates from either side of the ball. Defensively, there are choices. Linebacker Daryl Washington may have only played four games, but he’s quickly shown why he is so important and he’s in the mix. Defensive end Calais Campbell has been outstanding, and I think given the matchups he is faced with each week, cornerback Patrick Peterson has been pretty good too. Veterans Karlos Dansby and Darnell Dockett have been solid as well.
Offensively, though, um, I’m not sure there is one. I guess you’d go with Andre Ellington at this point, even though he hasn’t gotten the ball a ton. Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t made enough of an impact in that regard, it doesn’t seem. Neither has Michael Floyd. I will say, I am very, very interested to see if this offense can make some steps forward in the second half of the season (especially with the schedule upcoming) or if they just are who they are.
– Congrats to Ellington, by the way, for winning the NFL’s Fed Ex Ground player of the week award, voted on by the fans.
– Tyrann Mathieu has been outstanding, and we don’t need national awards to prove it. Yes, I think the safety has a chance to win defensive rookie of the year. He already is making the move to displace Rashad Johnson as a starter. I’ll be curious to know if that stays the same against Houston. Another thing the first half has shown me: Mathieu is a great tackler. Not good, great. He’s the best tackler on the team (and no, Tyrann, I’m not just talking pound-for-pound). That’s been the most impressive part of his game for me.
– Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin can quip with the best of them, and the de facto offensive line coach was talking about that unit when he mentioned left tackle Bradley Sowell. “He didn’t give up a sack, thank God.” There was a little sarcasm there for all the Sowell questions he gets, and some truth too. But Profootballfocus.com not only graded Sowell with having his best game against Atlanta last week in not giving up a sack, PFF said Sowell didn’t even allow a QB pressure.
– Both Fitzgerald and Floyd rank high on PFF’s drop-rate list, so that’s good. They just have to see more catchable passes.
– Amazing. A future opponent loses another good player, with the news today Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon is suspended indefinitely for violating the substance-abuse policy. Blackmon had already been suspended the first four games of the season. What a waste.
– OK, that’s enough. Back to the regular season next week. And in the meantime, here’s a very cool slow-motion capture of that rumblin’, stumblin’ run of Stepfan Taylor against the Falcons. The play gained 15 yards, and he earned every one of them.
Tags: Andre Ellington, Bradley Sowell, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Harold Goodwin, Karlos Dansby, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Patrick Peterson, Rashad Johnson, Stepfan Taylor, Tyrann Mathieu
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Michael Floyd isn’t going to say a ton when talking. I feel safe in saying interviews are not his most favorite thing and he’s soft-spoken when he does them. So it’s kind of humorous when the wide receiver is talking like that to describe the physical way he blocks — for instance, the way he drilled Falcons cornerback Robert Alford to spring Andre Ellington on his 80-yard run. Floyd not only blocked Alford, he shoved him from the far left side of the formation all the way over with a little bit of malice.
“Yeah, I don’t know why he cut in like that,” Floyd said modestly. “It was a crazy move by him. But we got the job done and Andre sprung it for the touchdown.”
Larry Fitzgerald got a good block on his guy on the play too, admitting later that he’d rather not block but can’t help but step up when watching Floyd. “I just try to keep up with him,” Fitzgerald said. Floyd’s blocking is something that’s been touched on before, and it’s one of the reasons he can be so valuable.
“I just always tried to be a complete wide receiver,” Floyd said. “When you have guys in the backfield that can do pretty good things, you always got to show that you can not only catch the ball and score touchdowns but also help your team score touchdowns.”
You can see it all in the video below. On the initial live look, Floyd (bottom of the screen, No. 15) comes in for the block and shoves Alford so far inside it serves as a pick to slow two other Falcons. Fitzgerald does enough to hold up cornerback Desmond Trufant. And Ellington was gone.
“(The play) was probably blocked for four yards (as a gain) up front,” coach Bruce Arians said. “Once he bounced outside, both receivers made great blocks. Michael Floyd took his guy all the way across the field. Larry pinned his guy and Mike just crushed his guy. The receivers did a really good job of blocking all day. There was also great effort by Andre Roberts, coming off the other side to try and catch … Alford, who was chasing him.”
Tags: Andre Ellington, Andre Roberts, Bruce Arians, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd
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