With Fitz, nothing to see here

Posted by Darren Urban on November 15, 2013 – 8:25 am

For a second straight year, Larry Fitzgerald’s biggest game of the season — around the midway point on the schedule — has preceded games in which he just hasn’t been able to make a big impact. But the Cardinals are winning. Is there concern about Fitz? Not with ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, who said on his weekly appearance during the “Burns and Gambo show” on Arizona Sports 620 that Fitz is just fine even without the gaudy stats.

“I’m not worried about Larry,” Jaworski said. “I look at his tape and I see Larry getting open, I still see him getting the shaded coverage. Teams still give him incredible respect for what he can do. It’s only going to be a matter of time until he will get that 10- or 12-catch game for a buck-fifty, 200 yards. It’s going to happen. Larry is still one of the elite players in the league.”

Last year, Fitz had a good game in Green Bay and then the stats fell off. This year, Fitz broke out with his six-catch-117-yard game in San Francisco, but since, he has been pretty quiet (although he did get a touchdown catch against the Falcons). Fitzgerald is on pace for 69 receptions for 876 yards — totals that would surpass last year, but obviously well short of what anyone expected. (I know I thought Fitz was going to have a big year.) It’s gotten to the point where, when Fitz holds his weekly media group, the questions about him personally getting the ball don’t even come up much anymore.

I’ve been asked a lot if Larry is frustrated. I haven’t had that conversation with him, but knowing him as I do, of course he is. Part of what drives him is his own legacy, and while that includes winning, it also includes stats that he’s had trouble collecting the last season-and-a-half. But I also know Fitz isn’t going to pop off about it, especially when the team is notching wins.

No one can really say (or no one is willing to say) why the Palmer-to-Fitz connection hasn’t clicked more. Fitz has been targeted 70 times, which isn’t a ton for a top receiver, but it shows how many misfires the two have had. At one point a few weeks ago, six of Palmer’s interceptions came on throws to Fitz, so maybe he was trying too hard to make it happen. I’m not sure Fitzgerald has down pat all those different positions he must play in Bruce Arians’ system. The pass protection hasn’t been great (although Jaworski emphasized the line played its best game against J.J. Watt and Houston.) And of course, Fitz’s bad hamstrings have played a role.

In the meantime, we’ll wait for Jaworski’s prediction of Fitzgerald and a breakout. We know Fitz can help blocking too. Right Richard Sherman?

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16 Responses to “With Fitz, nothing to see here”

  1. By jakeplummersghost on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Not worried about him. I’ve been thinking the same thing as Jaws: he’ll go off sooner or later, and then everyone will remember he exists again.

  2. By Dynosoar on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    To all my friends here and John the Draft Guy in particular,

    I think you missed what I was trying to get across. I’ve been reading posts all season saying we need Ryan Williams active and he should replace Mendenhall. You’ve read the same posts. Obviously not everyone feels this way and if you re-read my last two posts, I think you’ll see I don’t believe this.

    Yes I see Ryan’s skillset the same as Ellington’s and saw him break off some great runs. I also see Ellington as having been more productive (also, he hasn’t been injured two seasons in a row, a factor for sure.)

    I was comparing our backs and asking with what the different backs have done this year and just looking at the numbers would anyone make changes to what Coach Arians is doing. I really don’t think so.

  3. By Dynosoar on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    If anyone is wondering why I’ve written stats over the last few posts bringing up Williams and the other backs it’s simple…

    I believe Coach Arians is doing what is best. He has 2 RB’s that are good at getting into space (one who’s been injured over two seasons and mostly inactive and the other, Ellington.) He has 3 bruisers who also can run when in the open and he’s used them all.

    So in short (and I’ve written longer posts. Haha) In addressing those who believe Mendenhall shouldn’t be the starter and Williams should get to play, I support what BA has done and is doing. The stats bear out support for Mendenhall and Ellington being the feature backs with Taylor and Smith playing a supporting roll. Unfortunately, the bruising backs need more relief than Ellington so Ryan Williams gets to sit as we only have so many active on game day.

    As to fumbles, they’ve all had them and Rashard has only had 2, certainly he can do better, but there are some really good defensive players on other teams that create fumbles just like our boys do. It’s a good thing we have 60 minutes to play and it doesn’t hinge on one play for us or for them.

    I’m done. I support Arians and am only trying to show why. If others disagree, I’m good with that. That creates good dialogue amongst us and that keeps us comming back. My post is over, ya’ll can wake up now and read other shorter posts. Haha.

    Enjoy the game.

  4. By Mike G on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is cool! I think Fitz just has not had good chemistry with a QB since Warner. Warner is a timing guy that is very accurate and he was able to hit Fitz with those intermediate patterns. The QB’s since just don’t have the accuracy and chemistry to play to Fitz’s strength. Fitz is not a burner and cannot just run by you. He is getting older but he runs good patterns — it is just up to Palmer to try hit those intermediate patterns over the middle. Hopefully this will improve over the 2nd half of the season. That is why it is so important to run the ball. You can’t just force the ball through the air especially if it is not working. I don’t care if Larry get 3 to 4 balls a game as long as the team wins. Darren–Do you sense or feel any personal frustration from Fitz when he is doing an interview in the locker room???

  5. By Darren Urban on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Frustration

    As I mentioned in the post, yes, I think Fitz is frustrated to a point.

  6. By Dynosoar on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Great write up. Carson has already begun seeing the field better and is getting the support and protection he needs to excel. He’ll find Fitzgerald soon and our offense will take off, freeing up other receivers, TE’s and RB’s.

    Fitz has shown us he plays his best game on the big stages of the playoffs. Let’s get our Cardinals to the big dance and he’ll show us again why he’s elite.

    Look at Carson’s completion percentage, he and Larry will begin clicking and Fitzgerald will have that game. Then he’ll show us again in the playoffs he’s best on the big stage.

    Rams = 65.0%,
    Lions = 56.4%
    Saints = 51.4%
    Buccaneers = 55.3%
    Panthers = 67.9%
    49ers = 61.0%
    Seahawks = 66.7%
    Falcons = 72.2%
    Bye = 100%
    Texans = 61.4%

    Total = 61.4%

    6 of 8 games over 60% and all of the last 5 (with 1 over 70%). Most playoff QB’s have over 60% completion. We’re 5-4 and seriously in the hunt. We’re in a really good position and if we keep improving, we’ll be there. Carson and Fitzgerald will have a chance to connect on the biggest stages this year.

    Enjoy the game against the Jags.

  7. By Jeff L. on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply


    I know it probably seems like Palmer throws 6 interceptions per game, but I think you meant to write “incompletions”.

  8. By Darren Urban on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Jeff L —

    RE: Interceptions

    No, I meant interceptions. I didn’t say it was all in one game, but PFF charted out the targets for picks and at that point — not sure how many total INTs Palmer had thrown — six of them had been on passes targeted for Fitz.

  9. By Rugbymuffin on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Teams want to double and triple cover Fitzgerald ?

    Find with me.

    Just re-watch last week’s game where we had receivers WIDE OPEN. Like no one around them for 20 yards open.

    Eventually that will free up Fitzgerald.

    And as usual, the offensive line not giving the QB time to read the field is affecting this situation.

  10. By andystandsup on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    The elephant in the room of course, is Fitz’s contract. Though the front office has stated they have the 15 mil next year fully in their plans, it’s obviously going to limit options if unchanged.
    And the further Larry “struggles” the more frustration/resignation has to seep into his mind that this may be his last season as a Card.
    His hamstrings/position change have been noted as a reason for his average season, but I’m thinking it may be more than that. Fitz is cerebral. It may be more of a mental thing.

  11. By Matthew Thomas on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    I Just hope that Carson Palmer could finally break his interception Streak while playing against Jacksonville. I hope.

  12. By Dr. G. on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    No one has tried to support Palmer more than I, except maybe his mother. This Fitz anomaly is not such a surprise to me given the excellent staff of receivers/TE’s on this roster. Roberts doesn’t get the praise he deserves, and he can crank it up for some YAC’s. Floyd is a stud in waiting. Brown, Williams, Ellington, Dray, Housler, and now Ballard provide a smorgasbord for Palmer to pick from when in action. To Palmer, Fitz is only ONE of MANY given his lacking pinpoint reflex accuracy, and…..!!! How many times have I seen Palmer throw the ball SHORT? Many, Many times….Palmer takes the path of least resistance, and still throws a pick every game. The TD to Roberts last week was short; Roberts had to come back a little for it. It was sweet, but Roberts and the other receivers make Palmer look good with their sporting abilities. Palmer needs a little more time to get it done, but he is the best we have for NOW. Next season, we hopefully see a draft pick like McCarran or another better choice in free-agency, of which there are few. Be well my fellow Cards fans….

  13. By Dr. G. on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren…. Your quote “not sure how many total INTs Palmer had thrown — six of them had been on passes targeted for Fitz.”

    This is what I mean by pinpoint accuracy; Palmer should be able to hit Fitz more, but he does not possess the consistent accuracy and timing needed. And perhaps, Arians’ routes are too complicated for PALMER, NOT FITZ. I’ve seen his throws off just enough to create a debate of fault on INT’s and INC’s. The hammy may contribute to Palmer’s reticence to throw his way. He just doesn’t see the field as well as we would hope he would….. Some of his INT’s have kept other teams in the game, and perhaps a loss or two. I hear no commentary on the strength of his arm…Long passes are picked off much less that the shorter ones. But…..The best for now…. later….

  14. By John A. on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    The cardinals need to be like an illusionist and make people see and believe something. However, we know we have got them fooled!

  15. By Scott H on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    This game on Sunday has an eerie feeling to it. On paper and by just about any measure we can look at, the Cardinals are CLEARLY a better team. But this is the NFL and we know things don’t always go the way they’re supposed to go. The Jags have remained a feisty team, just not a very good one. But they showed last week – on the road – that they are coming to play and they want to win some games. Even without a lot of recognizable talent, these teams can be dangerous. And the Cardinals don’t always travel well to the east coast. I’d be shocked if the Jags pull the up-set, but…will NOT be surprised if it ends up being a game where the Cards escape with a close-call win.

    Would MUCH rather see the Cards roll up a ton of offense and put up a big number, but…it doesn’t seem like it will be that kind of game. The Jags don’t seem capable of engaging in a shoot-out.

    Then again…ask the Titans if they thought the Jags could put up 29 points and win the game!

  16. By Bay Area Bad Boy on Nov 15, 2013 | Reply

    The connect is coming. You all make good points. I’m just waiting for the break out week to come. I would rather the break out week be against Seattle or San Francisco, but If it comes this week, its been a long time coming. I can’t stand Palmer, but if the line gives him time, he can pick a defense apart after he throws an interception or two. Maybe this week he can break that streak. Would love for Fitz to get two TD’s. I would also like to see Ryan Williams. This would be a great game to see what he’s got. Smith or Mendenhall can sit out one week. It would not hurt.

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