It’s safe to say the Arizona Cardinals offense has been up and down through the first six games of the 2013 season.
Quite honestly, there’s been more lows than highs as the Cards (3-3) have relied on their usually stingy defense to keep them in games.
The NFL can be a league of give and take as Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald found out in Arizona’s 32-20 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco Sunday. Fitz was the recipient of a 75-yard catch and run touchdown from Carson Palmer in the first quarter but his third quarter fumble deep in 49er territory thwarted a potential Cardinal scoring drive.
His role is much different in Bruce Arians’ big-play offense this season than we’ve seen in the past. Fitzgerald’s also dealt with hamstring issues over the past few weeks.
Is it fair to say he’s frustrated right now?
“Yeah, a little bit,” Fitzgerald’s former quarterback now NFL Network Kurt Warner told Sports360AZ.com in a recent phone interview. “For me, just knowing Fitz, when I was here I would try to find ways to move him around and get him more targets with the ball always knowing though that he is an outside receiver. He is a guy who likes to be on the edges. A guy that likes to get those one-on-one match ups.”
Warner believes the Cardinals’ coaching staff is getting him touches, just not where he’s used to. Fitz likes to get the ball down the field on the edges where he can work against smaller corners, using his size and strength.
“One-on-one opportunities that change the complexion of game-type touches,” he said. “It’s six yards here, seven yards there…having to deal with guys in the middle. All things he was never comfortable with when I was here…from the inside looking in, it seems like there’s some frustration from some of those things.”
Arizona ranks 15th in the league in passing. Palmer has struggled, often trying to force the ball downfield when nobody is open. He’s already thrown 11 interceptions after throwing just 14 in 15 games last season.
The task gets no easier Thursday night when the Seattle Seahawks (6-1) and their tall, talented cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner will look to blanket Fitzgerald and force Palmer to target Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and others in the passing game.
Kickoff from University of Phoenix Stadium is set for 5:25.