We all know that Larry Fitzgerald is the most important player on the Arizona Cardinals offense. If he is getting the ball, good things are happening. But he's not getting the ball this year. So far, through 11 games, he has 55 catches and 627 yards. Project that over the rest of the season and he finishes with 80 receptions for 912 yards. The 80 catches would match last year's total as the lowest total he has had in a full season since his rookie season. The 912 yards would also be the lowest total since his rookie year.
His 55 catches rank him only 15th in the league. Clearly, the answer is the quarterbacks aren't throwing him the ball, right?
Nope. Not the case. He has been targeted 113 times, the sixth highest total in the league.
We know the biggest reason is the inability of his quarterbacks to get him the ball. They misfire or throw it into traffic, trying to force the ball to him.
But Larry himself is going through a bit of a funk. PFF credits him with two drops on Sunday. I recall only one -- the one that was bobbled and caught by the Rams for Ryan Lindley's fourth INT of the night. He didn't come down with a throw on fourth down against Atlanta. He also ran off the field when there was a fumble instead of trying to grab it.
He has even logged negative ratings from PFF against the Rams on Sunday.
Is there something wrong?
Clearly, the losing is getting to him. He cares so much about winning, and losing just eats at him. And to make things worse, he doesn't even have the comfort of stats.
Perhaps there is a lingering injury. He has been getting up more slowly this season, especially after to hitting the turf against the 49ers.
Clearly, the quarterback situation is hard to fathom for a guy like Fitz. He can't make a play unless a guys throws the ball to him. But at the same time, he is having mental lapses during games.
Is there anything to be done?
Ken Whisenhunt on Fitz on Monday, as noted by Vince Marotta:
"Two of those interceptions would've been big plays to Larry had we gone about it correctly, and that seems to be what's happening," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday. "We missed those two times and we missed him on a couple of other things. But we're going to continue to work to get opportunities to Larry."
"It's hard because you don't know how much goes into trying to work to get these situations," Whisenhunt said. "And when we do get them and they come up and you have it there, and we don't execute on it...you're frustrated you didn't get it done."
And sometimes the effort to get the ball to No. 11 is derailed even before a throw occurs.
"On one sack, we had Larry running wide open down the field and we made a mistake in the line and Ryan had to slide to his left and actually ended up taking a sack on first and ten," Whisenhunt explained. "You look at that play and it's something you work to set up and Larry's behind everybody and that's where Ryan's going to go with it, but we have a breakdown.
"That's been happening too much to us."
Naturally, better QB and offensive line play would help. But am I the only one that seems to think that Larry's play has dropped off a bit this year? Like he is trying to play hard but realizes the futility and the effort is just not the same.
Do you have any answers?
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