Doucet, the third string receiver on the Cardinals depth chart, was going to be counted on this season to fill the void left by long time receiver Anquan Boldin. After a stunning playoff performance against the Green Bay Packers last postseason, many fans were anticipating Doucet receiving more reps on offense this year. Last week's game against the Falcons, Doucet caught a mere 2 passes for 37-yards.
Doucet has in no way established himself on offense, but there's also no denying his potential. He outworked every team member in the workouts this offseason and was headed in the right direction. A preseason hamstring injury forced him out of most of the games -- mainly for precautionary reasons.
After the jump we'll take a look at the potential implications of Doucet missing this week's game...
Removing Doucet from the game will limit one of Derek Anderson's offensive targets. We saw a 75% healthy Larry Fitzgerald last week, and clearly he was not the same Pro Bowl receiver we've grown accustomed to seeing. That leaves the main target as Steve Breaston. Fortunately for the offense, Breaston played his best game last week, catching 7 passes for a career-high 132-receiving yards. But who fills the role outside of Breaston?
Stephen Williams is the likely man to assume the third role. Given that he is a rookie, there's a chance that we may see some mistakes however. That also means that two more rookies will get thrown into a more prominent role. Andre Roberts and Max Komar will play in the fourth and fifth positions. Roberts was inactive for last week's game and had a rather disappointing preseson. Komar lost a key fumble last week in the red zone.
With three receivers moving up the depth chart, that means three new routes will be learned. It's hard to say how much of a factor that will play into the game. After a week's worth of practice with Derek Anderson, let's hope that it was efficient enough for the offense to get into sync.
Against the Steelers last week, the Falcons secondary surrendered 236 yards to a young Dennis Dixon, and leading receiver Hines Ward caught 6 passes for 108-yards. Atlanta's receiving defense is ranked 18th after that performance, sparking some hope that Anderson and the offense will be able to get the job done without Doucet.
Luckily, two weeks of resting should be more then enough time for Doucet to recover from both injuries in time for the Cardinals home opener against the Oakland Raiders. Do you feel that Doucet's absence will impact Sunday's game? Which rookie will need to step up in his place?