The impressive depth at wideout

Posted by Darren Urban on May 31, 2016 – 11:01 am

Sure, there are questions about the future for the Cardinals at wide receiver. Could Larry Fitzgerald retire after this season? Will Michael Floyd, also in the last year of his contract, be back? But those questions aren’t about the 2016 season. After the 2015 season — in which the Cardinals’ wide receivers were the highest graded among all the corps in the NFL last season according to — this season should be impressive for the Cards from that standpoint.

Even Fitzgerald noted last week that this is the first time he can remember being on a team where all the skill guys came back intact. That goes beyond just the receivers of course. But the upset of getting back both veteran running back Chris Johnson and veteran tight end Jermaine Gresham despite potentially more lucrative offers out there helped that along. At wideout, there was only one question, and Jaron Brown was tendered an offer. Once he signed that, the Cardinals had their top seven wide receivers returning from a year ago — when again, some considered them the best in the league as a group.

Health helped. Yes, Floyd was banged up in training camp and yes, Smokey Brown fought through an irritating hamstring injury in the middle part of the season (oh, you do remember that, fantasy football players), but for the most part, they were available. Fitzgerald in particular was healthy all the way through the season for the first time since Bruce Arians arrived. The depth also helped tremendously when guys did miss time. Floyd was huge in Cleveland when Smokey was held out. Fitz was huge early in the season when Floyd started slow. J.J. Nelson was a deep threat that could help when Brown couldn’t go full bore.

And the Cardinals will have them all again in 2016.


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16 Responses to “The impressive depth at wideout”

  1. By steve on May 31, 2016 | Reply

    Darren: Do you expect the Cards to expand J.J. Nelson’s role in the offense this season? He looked pretty good in limited play last season.

  2. By Darren Urban on May 31, 2016 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Nelson

    Working on a J.J. story for today as a matter of fact. It’ll depend. I could see a little bit more, but if Fitz/Floyd/Smoke are healthy, only so many reps to get. I don’t see him playing above any of those three regularly.

  3. By joe holst on May 31, 2016 | Reply

    Good group, Who did Smokey have several drops against? Cincy or Baltimore. maybe

  4. By Dr. G. on May 31, 2016 | Reply

    From a personal perspective, would anyone want to be a WR or even a TE drafted by the Cardinals? Not good for your immediate career, esp if you are a descent pick and know you can ball…?? This ridiculous CBA does everything to stunt the newbies by setting limits on their field practice time, and nothing to enhance their development….later Cards Fans..

  5. By andystandsup on May 31, 2016 | Reply

    As far as the fantasy football statement, it’s easy to see why the Cards are not a favorite for players.
    This team relies on depth and teamwork. Other than possibly Palmer as a backup QB, don’t see many viable assets.

  6. By Scott H on Jun 1, 2016 | Reply

    andy –

    RE: Cards not a favorite for players

    If you are saying that Cardinals players are good assets for your fantasy team, I couldn’t disagree more! Palmer was one of THE most viable STARTING QB’s in the league last year. Fitz was a beast, especially early on. Floyd was pretty dependable. So were CJ ( until he went down ) and DJ ( after he took over ).

    Their D was also among the best in fantasy football as well.

    And if your league has IDP’s, the Honey Badger had to be one of the best. But ya always gotta worry about injuries with him.

  7. By Scott H on Jun 2, 2016 | Reply

    andy –

    OK, I just noticed the typo in my last post that makes the whole thing not make sense. Getting older, ya know?

    What I said – If you are saying that Cardinals players are good assets for your fantasy team….

    What I meant to say – If you are saying that Cardinals players are NOT good assets for your fantasy team…..

    I was actually hoping to draft Palmer as my “back-up” QB last year but auto-draft gave him to someone else. And I was pissed because I KNEW that person would never have taken Palmer on his own. Then, I spent the whole season going down the tubes with Andrew Luck while I watched this idiot who totally lucked into Palmer tear it up all year. I hate it when you have the perfect plan for draft day and it gets blown up by auto-draft!

  8. By Scott H on Jun 2, 2016 | Reply

    If anyone else saw it, there was a list of the Top Ten units in the league up on yesterday. This list covered any units at any position. The Jets and Broncos were on that list with their WR’s but the Cardinals were nowhere to be found. But it also seemed like they were only looking at the top 2 WR’s on those teams and basing their rankings on that. OK. If that was what they were looking at….so be it. But if they looked at WR trios or entire units, there is no way they could NOT put the Cards on the list. Most teams in the NFL aren’t even 3-deep with good WR’s. The Cardinals are FIVE deep with legit WR’s and that is not even counting the TE’s and their RB’s. DJ already looks like one of the best pass catching RB’s in the league and he is only going to get better.

  9. By t stone on Jun 2, 2016 | Reply

    I was so wrong about little John Brown. Thought he wouldn’t make it with his size. Glad though. We got no probs in WR department. Now is the time to Keep finding and improving our Strength. Don’t ignore the best part of your team, Improve it. Just like they did with our Defense. Go Cards. Hi Darren. Been A long time.

  10. By clssylssy on Jun 2, 2016 | Reply

    Scott…I saw that list as well as other “Best” and can’t help but notice the Cards missing from them all except for the one we ranked 8th behind KC, Vikings, and the usual Seahawks,Broncos,Packers, Jets, etc. There doesn’t seem to be the positive buzz this year in the media (outside of this site) with it being noted that our secondary may be our weak link; the talent is there but not healthy and “iffy” to start the season when it’s important to start strong. I keep hearing commentators talk about lie loss of our “no fly zone” & am hating the loss of R.Johnson & Powers in this critical year.
    Fitz is about our only real consistent weapon among our receivers & Floyd can come through,when it comes to physicality, our speed guys just haven’t proven to be durable so I think that’s where we don’t stack up against the receiving corps of some of the other teams …our strength is not so out there & as such overlooked. Wish we had taken Amarie Cooper last year!

  11. By Scott H on Jun 2, 2016 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    Where many others continue to find your comments negative, I continue to appreciate that you are never afraid to have AND express your concerns.

    I don’t have any great concerns about our secondary AS LONG AS both PP and the Honey Badger are back and physically all there. We’ll have to see on that with both players. But the other thing that factors in here ( for me ) is that our pass rush should be GREATLY improved over last year’s. And that should help the guys on the back end. Nothing wrong with that! Our DB’s have been under plenty of pressure the last few years due to a general lack of a pass rush. Improving the pass rush seemed like priority ONE this off-season ( rightfully so ) and I’m expecting the DB’s will benefit significantly because we did. BUT we saw what happened to the whole defense when we lost Mathieu, didn’t we? We weren’t the same without him. The injuries are a concern. Seems like he spends every off-season working his butt off to come back from something.

    Not really worried about a lack of positive buzz from the media. Yeah, I know, I frequently get too bent out of shape by power rankings and what not when I think the Cards are getting over-looked. But, really, since when has what the media thinks ever won or lost any games for us? The Cardinals are, at the same time, one of the most talented AND best coached teams in the NFL. That seldom fails.

    I’m expecting Floyd to be more consistent, more dominant, and to truly emerge this year.

    With all our talent at WR ( even before we drafted JJ Nelson ), I don’t think drafting Amarie Cooper last year was gonna happen. I DO wish the guy we DID take in the first round hadn’t been a total non-factor for his entire first season….but we did hit the jack-pot with David Johnson! We are well-poised to be one of THE most balanced offenses in the NFL this year. But Palmer has to be the guy who makes it all go. When he was at his best last year, we were lethal. A killing machine. A beautiful thing to watch. After he lost his mojo ( oddly enough, at the same time he suffered that finger injury ), it wasn’t pretty. Above all else, I need to see that Palmer has shaken it off and got his mojo back. Need to see it ( FEEL it ) to believe it.

  12. By clssylssy on Jun 3, 2016 | Reply

    Scott…LOL, I always appreciate your comments, and know some think me a pessimist, whereas,I have always believed the best way to prepare for and achieve a positive outcome, is to identify weaknesses and do something proactive before crunch time. Much if our success last season was due to having such a strong veteran core on both sides of the ball which we have traded to get faster. I may seem overly critical but if I didn’t care & believe in this team, I would follow another.
    I DO believe this team is loaded with talent, and that all will be revealed when the season opens. We play a somewhat unconventional “Wild West” style,fast and lethal, which is what makes Cards football so wildly entertaining and popular with just about everybody but, has it’s downside when our best talent is on the sideline repeatedly causing us to come up just short.
    Yes, TM,PP,JB would give us some great weapons IF they could stay healthy for an entire season and BA said Floyd had “matured” a lot last season nuts I guess I am still missing having the best receiving tandem in the league, can’t help believe that played a major role in getting to the SB. Coach Boyles had his Fitz/Boldin in Marshall/Decker!
    I don’t put much stock in media lists, as I know their job is rod raw interest from new viewers however, I believe, as always, the Cards don’t get the credit they are due. On the other hand, we have always played better as the underdog and I like to see us playing hungry.
    I do like the improved pass rush but I worry that w/o a situational veteran like Freeney,the unbridled enthusiasm will end up on IR and we will be no better off.

  13. By Scott H on Jun 4, 2016 | Reply

    clssylssy –

    Do you find that too many people tend to only recognize optimists and pessimists but ignore the concept of a REALIST? I do.

    Fans, by their very nature are emotional and I certainly do qualify for that. I think we all do. But I gotta say, I think I am more of a realist than either of the other two extremes. I’m definitely not an optimist. I do lean toward pessimism some times, I admit it freely. But I honestly think I see it as it is more often than not. That means when we win a REAL sloppy game against a REAL bad team like the 49ers ( as we did last year in San Fran ), I will use one sentence to acknowledge the win and 3 paragraphs to express my concerns about all that was NOT done very well during the game. Is that a pessimist? No, I don’t think it is. I think that is seeing the game for what it was ( just plain ugly ) and not being afraid to see the faults. And, really, behind closed doors, don’t you think BA and the other coaches are doing the same? DAMN RIGHT they are. So, if that makes me a pessimist, so be it. But I’ll consider myself in pretty good company!

    Keep on keeping it real, sister!

  14. By Smoothcard on Jun 6, 2016 | Reply

    No love for Jaron Brown? That guy makes some amazing plays consistently and I think had he been a on another team he’d be at least a WR3 maybe even a solid WR2. He’s got speed, size, and solid hands. He does have focus from time to time but makes routine circus catches and will fight for a ball when its in the air. It seems like every year in training camp he made a catch or 2 that were absolutely ridiculous.

    How do you feel about Jaron’s future with the team Darren?

  15. By Darren Urban on Jun 6, 2016 | Reply

    Smooth —

    RE: Jaron Brown

    I think his future depends a lot on what happens with the guys ahead of him on the depth chart.

  16. By Scott H on Jun 6, 2016 | Reply

    Smooth –

    I loved how Brown ( the OTHER one ) came in to the game in Seattle after Floyd left the game and helped the offense carry on without losing anything. That catch he made where he fought for that ball that was up for grabs, could easily been picked off, was HUGE. His keeping the ball in our possession on that drive was HUGE.

    As talented as I think he is, I’m hoping we really don’t see a whole lot of Jaron this year – because if we do, it probably means that either Fitz, Floyd, or Smoky are injured. But with futures for Fitz and Floyd un-certain beyond this year….Jaron may yet get his chance here in a Cards uniform. I’m glad he is here.

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