Larry Fitzgerald: A 6-3, 218-pound All Pro receiver with over 7,200 yards, 530 receptions, and 60 touchdowns for his career is the Cardinals starting wide receiver. He's the best offensive weapon and an icon/idol to fans and the rest of the league.
This Sunday Fitzgerald will be Derek Anderson's primary weapon, but with Early Doucet and Steve Breaston nursing injuries, Anderson will have little to work with outside of his Pro Bowl receiver. The loss of Fitzgerald's counterparts will indeed impact this Sunday's game at the San Diego Chargers, but will it be enough to impact the outcome?
To add fuel to the fire, consider that Anderson and Fitzgerald have had trouble connecting with each other each of this season's first three games. Larry has caught just 12 receptions for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns. It's not as if Anderson is failing to throw the ball Larry's way. Fitzgerald has been targeted 35 times this season, good for third in the league. That also leaves his reception percentage at a mere 34%.
The Cardinals do have time on their hands however. Every week is another week that Anderson and the first team offense can continue to progress. Fitzgerald tweeted this note on Wednesday:
Today was a good day of work! Got some good things done. Progress Progress Progress. Everyone's getting on the same page!
Whether that truly is the case remains to be seen. In three games Anderson has struggled to move the ball down the field and his numbers don't lie either. This season his quarterback rating is 67.6, as he's only thrown for 580 yards with three touchdowns and interceptions. Throwing to three rookies, including two undrafted, won't help.
Filling in will be third round pick Andre Roberts, and undrafted rookies Stephen Williams and Max Komar. This season the three have just six catches for 73 yards between them. Of the three, Williams has been the biggest surprise. He stole the show in training camp and has been Anderson's third-most targeted receiver. He'll need to vastly step up this week on the road against a Chargers' secondary that is ranked fifth best in the league.
Where will this leave the Cardinals' offense? Steve Breaston has been the lead receiver and has caught 70% of the passes thrown his way. Early Doucet has missed the last two games already but he's a valuable receiver regardless. With three rookies filling in their place, we're bound to witness some dropped passes or gasp -- a fumble.
Be that as it may, this could be the breakout game for the Cardinals rushing attack. The Chargers defense is allowing nearly 4 yards per carry. Healthy and ready to run, Beanie Wells may be leaned on to carry the offense.
Either way, with the game possibly on the line, Anderson may find it difficult to connect with his young receivers. Now I'll leave the question up to you.