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  1. #1
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    The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Why are so many people talking up the Cardinals receiving corps? The way some people describe them, you'd think that they rank up there with the Colts and the Rams.

    At closer inspection, the Cards have one receiver - Anquan Boldin - who has established himself as a top notch player (though he lost much of last season to injury).

    Larry Fitzgerald showed some signs of being a very good No. 2 last year, though he has hardly established himself as a consistent performer.

    After that, where is all the hype coming from?

    Bryant Johnson, a 2002 first round pick, certainly has done little to warrant the hype. Though he's been a part-time starter over his first two years (he's started 19 of 32 games), he's never caught 50 passes or had 600 yards in a season. He has all of 2 TD receptions in his two years. So, despite his draft status, he has been average at best.

    The Cards don't have any notable receivers behind their "big 3," so how are they being compared to the GSOT receiving corps?

    Just more hype from the dessert, if you ask me.


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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Larry Fitzgerald showed some signs of being a very good No. 2 last year, though he has hardly established himself as a consistent performer.
    Did you ever get a chance to watch Fitz in college? He established himself as a very solid #2 in his rookie year, and he'll only get better.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    So, despite his draft status, he has been average at best.
    But hasn't the entire Cardinals passing offense been "average at best," though? They've ranked 20th (2003) and 23rd (2004) in pass offense the last two seasons, 19th (2003) and 29th (2004) when ranked by touchdowns thrown.

    Let's face it - it's not like they have a 4,000 yard QB throwing the ball and Johnson just hasn't been taking advantage of it. This isn't a situation like Seattle, where they have a very talented QB and the receivers are just sucking. Their quarterbacks during this span have been Josh McCown, Shaun King, John Navarre, and Jeff Blake. They haven't had a strong running game to fall back on, either.

    I'm not making excuses for them, but just observations. Would you take any of the previously mentioned QBs over Kurt Warner? I wouldn't. This season will be the best chance the Cardinals have had in a couple of seasons to show there's some actual talent there.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    The Cards don't have any notable receivers behind their "big 3," so how are they being compared to the GSOT receiving corps?
    I disagree regarding notables behind Johnson. They signed Charles Lee from Tampa Bay, who stepped in fairly well in 2003 and in 2004.

    So while they don't rank up there with the Colts and the Rams, I do think they have some talent there that shouldn't be ignored. I would easily rank them as a top ten unit in the league.
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  3. #3
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    If you're going purely on potential, why not mention Detroit, which has three high first rounders at WR. Never mind that none of them have done much of anything in the NFL.


    Fitzgerald has potential, no doubt. And, yes, I did see him in college - getting shut down completely by his new teammate, Antrell Rolle.

    Maybe he will combine with Boldin to form a great 1-2 punch, but it hasn't happened quite yet, and Bryant Johnson has been mediocre as a first round pick.

  4. #4
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    AV, i saw that game and i dont think rolle shut down fitzgerald at all. In fact, fitz caught a 50 yard pass over rolle on the first play or so of that game. Rod Rutherford was getting killed in the second half of that game and had no time at all to throw to fitz downfield. Nothing helps a db more than a great pass rush, with that kind of pass rush, they all look like champ bailey. Personally, i think fitz is fantastic.

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  5. #5
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    If you're going purely on potential, why not mention Detroit, which has three high first rounders at WR. Never mind that none of them have done much of anything in the NFL.
    I would mention Detroit if I were talking about some of the league's best receiving units. You wouldn't?


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Maybe he will combine with Boldin to form a great 1-2 punch, but it hasn't happened quite yet, and Bryant Johnson has been mediocre as a first round pick.
    Of course it hasn't happened quite yet, because Fitz has only been in the NFL one year, and Bryant had injuries to deal with. Kevin Curtis hasn't put up good #2 numbers, but that hasn't stopped a lot of people from speculating about him replacing Bruce when the time comes.

    Johnson hasn't been the kind of first round pick that, say, Torry Holt or Javon Walker has been - though it should be noted that Walker didn't really become a big impact receiver until year three and has Favre throwing to him behind one of the best lines in football - but let's not forget that the Cardinals in round two of that same draft grabbed Anquan Boldin. So they messed up by taking Johnson so early, but got a steal in Boldin in the second. Sounds like it all evens out.

    I haven't seen many people comparing this unit to the Colts or Rams, but you're kidding yourself if you don't recognize what's there, especially in terms of the future, not just right now.
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  6. #6
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Your memory is a bit off, gc.

    Fitzgerald had 3 catches for 26 yards in that game.

  7. #7
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Detroit has 2 WRs who have not played a down in the NFL, and one who, though promising in his limited time last year, has not made it through a season in the NFL.

    As for Curtis, he put up starters numbers at the end of last season when Bruce was slowed by injury.

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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Your memory is a bit off, gc.

    Fitzgerald had 3 catches for 26 yards in that game.
    ...and was double teamed for most of the game, so he wasn't just shut down by Rolle alone.

    Regardless, what does Fitzgerald being shut down by Miami in college have to do with this discussion?
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  9. #9
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    To me, what sets the Rams and Colts apart from other teams is the mismatches created by their depth at WR.


    Bruce is a mismatch for most #2 CBs.

    Curtis is clearly a mismatch for most safeties and nickel backs.

    McDonald is a huge mismatch for LBs, SSs and most dime backs.

    Can you honestly say that the Cards WRs have established these types of mismatches. I don't see it.

  10. #10
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Detroit has 2 WRs who have not played a down in the NFL, and one who, though promising in his limited time last year, has not made it through a season in the NFL.
    Who are these two WRs who haven't played a down for Detroit? Only Mike Williams hasn't played - Roy Williams nearly won rookie of the year last season, and Rogers played in five games in 2003, where he was fairly impressive.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    As for Curtis, he put up starters numbers at the end of last season when Bruce was slowed by injury.
    Yes, and he's had a much better team around him, including a better quarterback throwing to him and more talent taking attention away from him.


    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    Can you honestly say that the Cards WRs have established these types of mismatches. I don't see it.
    Neither do I, which is why I said, "...they don't rank up there with the Colts and the Rams..."
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  11. #11
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    I would say that 58 receptions, 780 yards, 13.4 avg, and 8 TDs is good for a rookie. Granted a few other rookies did have better years than him, but that's nothing to be upset about if you're Arizona.

  12. #12
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    To be honest, I forgot that Rogers played his rookie year. Seems like he's been injured forever.


    We'll have to see how it plays out, but I think that people are overrating the Cardinals offense at this point based upon a lot of "potential" rather than performance.

  13. #13
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Anquan Boldin is a solid playmaker, and Fitzgerald has much to prove, as most players his age do. Bryant Johnson will never be anything more than a possession receiver. Don't be surprised to see him passed up on the depth chart by Charles Lee, who really caught my eye in Tampa. Not sure of his stats, just going on gut instinct. None of this will matter, of course, after Warner goes down in Week 2 and crybaby has to take over.

  14. #14
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam
    We'll have to see how it plays out, but I think that people are overrating the Cardinals offense at this point based upon a lot of "potential" rather than performance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Disco Man
    Fitzgerald has much to prove
    Again, 58 catches for 780 yards and 8 TDs means, to me, that Fitzgerald has already proved a lot in this league and that it's no longer a matter of potential over performance. Fitz's performance in 2004 speaks for itself, especially when you consider who was throwing those passes, as well as how young he was/is (just turned 21 at the start of last season).

    Bryant Johnson may never be great or worthy of his first round selection, but he's not horrible, either. He looks to be a servicable third option in this offense, as does possession receiver Charles Lee out of Tampa.

    If there's one glaring problem I can see from this unit, it's that they lack elite speed to get downfield for a legit verticle threat. Neither Boldin or Fitzgerald are burners, and Lee/Johnson are possession receivers better suited for the short/intermediate game. If the talk is true about the Cardinals running a similar offense to the GSOT, I'll be interested to see how it works with slower receivers.

    If the Cardinals offense has real problem spots, IMO, it's at the following positions rather than at WR:

    -Running Back: If we're going to start talking about unproven players or players who are being hyped on potential rather than performance, then JJ Arrington's name needs to be mentioned. The rookie is not only expected to beat out Marcel Shipp for the starting RB position, but also gain 1,000+ yards in his rookie season. While Arrington has good speed and is difficult to catch in the open field, he lacks size and is an inconsistent blocker, which could spell trouble for Kurt Warner on defensive blitz packages.

    -Tight End: The Cardinals decided to part ways with veteran target Freddie Jones, who is now with Carolina. Replacing Jones is... um... well, you get the idea - no one of note. Eric Edwards is probably the player with the best lock on the job, though I wouldn't count out rookie tight end Adam Bergen or Bobby Blizzard, who was productive in NFL Europe. My point, though, is that the position is a huge question mark going into 2005, which can't be good considering Jones was fourth on the team in receptions in '04 with 45 catches. Can the Cardinals expect the same productivity out of whoever replaces him? I doubt it.

    -Interior Line: The Cardinals are giving former offensive lineman Everett Lindsay a run at coaching their line, despite the fact that Lindsay retired as a player less than a year ago. He's going to have to do a hell of a job to coach up this unit, IMO. None of them are physically that great of players, though Wells has good size. Judging from the group though, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cardinals fall victim to interior pass rushers, which means Kurt Warner having to move out of the pocket, which spells trouble for Arizona.

    No, it's not the receiving corps that would concern me if I'm a Cardinals fan. In fact, that is probably the offense's strongest area right now. If Arizona is to have any success, it'll be because their offensive line overachieves and Arringonton catches on quickly to the NFL game, IMO.
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  15. #15
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    Re: The Myth of the Cardinal WRs

    AV, my apologies for my misplaced memory. must have gotten confused.

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