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Blogs

Fitzgerald: “My season hasn’t been that great”

Posted by Darren Urban on December 13, 2012 – 4:35 pm

It was Thursday, and those are the days Larry Fitzgerald talks to the media. Normally, a wide receiver with six catches over four games doesn’t draw a crowd, but given Fitz’s stature, it’s even more important these days to listen to what Fitzgerald has to say more than any other time because both the team’s season and his season have fallen way, way short of expectations.

And as usual, Fitzgerald handled the time well. He was asked what he thought about whether quarterback Kevin Kolb would return in 2013. “I would love to see everybody come back, but that’s not my decision,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s for management to take care of. Hopefully I can come back next year. Hopefully they bring me back. My season hasn’t been that great.”

It provided a chuckle, even if it was true. Fitz has dropped a few passes this season that in past years he seemed to come up with. But as has been chronicled many times, his numbers — 57 receptions, 652 yards, four touchdowns — aren’t reflective of his ability as much as the struggles at quarterback. Every week, Fitz compiles the plays of the top receivers in the league, guys like Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, Houston’s Andre Johnson, New England’s Wes Welker, Chicago’s Brandon Marshall, Tampa’s Vincent Jackson and Atlanta’s Roddy White among them, and studies their work. He tries to pick up tips, but he can’t steal the throws they are getting from their QBs, and his numbers will fall far short of those other elite receivers.

“When we didn’t have a starting quarterback, in a season when I caught TD passes with five quarterbacks – that’s crazy,” Calvin Johnson told detroitlions.com. “He’s in a situation where they don’t have a steady quarterback situation. You don’t have a chance to get the ball.”

Fitz isn’t going to complain. He knows it makes no difference. Besides, he can let others (like Calvin Johnson did) do it for him. It’s not rocket science to analyze his frustration. But he also wants to power through the end of the season and set a good example.

“Certain days I am up, certain days I am down. I’m human,” Fitzgerald said. “I try my best to be a professional every day, come to work and give it my best. It’d be easy to hang your head and be disappointed but as a teammate you can’t do that to your teammates. You have to keep practicing and working hard and trying to improve. That’s my mindset. I never feel sorry for myself.”

FitzSeasonBlogUSE


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Before 2012, a glance at 2013 opponents

Posted by Darren Urban on July 17, 2012 – 1:22 pm

Yes, yes, I know I am early. Way early. But as long as the info is out there — and while we still have a little bit before we get to training camp — here is a look at who the Cardinals’ opponents will be for the 2013 season.

HOME

– Indianapolis (Andrew Luck!)

– Carolina (Cam Newton!)

– Houston (Arian Foster.)

– Atlanta (Roddy White?)

– NFC North team that matches Cards’ spot in 2012 standings

– and of course, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco.

AWAY

– New Orleans

– Tampa Bay

– Jacksonville

– Tennessee

– NFC East team that matches Cards’ spot in 2012 standings

– and, of course, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco.

I was going to do a little analysis, but then I realized how foolish that was this far out.


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Fitz hangs on

Posted by Darren Urban on July 2, 2012 – 10:18 am

We’ve talked about this before, but Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t drop the ball very often.

Stunning, I know.

Anyway, obviousness aside, the guys at profootballfocus.com (the best site this time of year, when little is going on and stat breakdowns can be discussed) note that Fitz has the second-best rate of hanging on to the ball in the NFL the last three seasons. Fitzgerald has, according to PFF, nine drops among 275 catchable balls, a percentage of 3.27. That trails only Earl Bennett of the Bears, who is at 3.15 (four drops in 127 catchables.) Among the top five in the ranking, the next closest to Fitz in terms of catchable balls is Houston’s Kevin Walter, at only 148.

More interesting to me, however, is the list of players of total catchable balls in those three years. Only Atlanta’s Roddy White (491) has been targeted more than Fitzgerald (461) in the time frame, yet Fitz is only fifth on the list of catchable balls — defined by either a catch or a drop on the play. I think of the handful of passes that added to that total because Fitz caught them that never would have been deemed catchable had he not stabbed them with one hand.

You know, like the couple he had against the Seahawks in the finale.


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One drop too many

Posted by Darren Urban on January 4, 2012 – 4:58 pm

It started with a Tweet, as so many things do these days.

Over at ESPN, Mike Sando noted Larry Fitzgerald had just one drop this season, the lowest total (easily) among the four players (Roddy White, Wes Welker, Calvin Johnson) targeted at least 150 times. Fitz answered back that that was “One too many.” There was only one really obvious drop for Fitz this season, so obvious coach Ken Whisenhunt even called him out for it after the Minnesota game, during the Cards’ dark, dark days of this season.

My access is to Stats, Inc., not ESPN. Stats has Fitzgerald with two drops (which doesn’t shock me; while the Vikings’ one I remember, there were a couple others I remember thinking they could be Fitz drops at the time) among his 154 targets. By way of comparison, Stats has Andre Roberts with 98 targets and four drops, and Early Doucet with 97 targets and six drops.

(Drops, of course, are judgment calls.)

For further comparison, it’s Fitz with those high-volume counterparts, and whether it was one or two, Fitz comes out looking good. Stats lists Welker with five drops in 173 targets, Johnson with six and 158 targets, and White with a stunning 15 drops on 180 targets (and remember, targets are just looking in a guy’s direction; it doesn’t mean it was anywhere near catchable. Stats judged 37 passes that came Fitz’s way this season as a “poor throw.” Three targets were intentionally thrown away, and 25 were either defended or knocked down at the line. )

Drops have never really been a Fitz issue, however. He even had a “perfect” season according to Stats: 2007, and he still had 100 receptions. Fitz’s year-by-year drops:

  • 2011: 2 (80 catches)
  • 2010: 4 (90)
  • 2009: 2 (97)
  • 2008: 2 (96)
  • 2007: 0 (100)
  • 2006: 5 (69)
  • 2005: 1 (103)
  • 2004: 2 (58)

Funny that his two most prolific reception seasons are his lowest drop years too.

P.S. I will be hosting a live chat tomorrow (Thursday) at 12:30 p.m. Arizona time to talk about all things offseason. And in-season. Whatever you want. Click here to join.


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