clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arizona Cardinals and their highly inefficient passing attack hinder Larry Fitzgerald's play

This, of course, is a known fact, but there are numbers to support it

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.


The Arizona Cardinals passed the ball a lot in 2012. They were ninth in the league in passing attempts. They were, however, only 28th in passing yards. Clearly, they were not terribly effective at passing the ball. This happens to show up in the team's receiving stats. Pro Football Focus showed some receiver efficiency stats, yards per route run, and you can see that the troubles at quarterback really affected the play of the team's wideouts.

In PFF's post, The Cards had three receivers in the bottom 15 of the league. You can point to one player as having not played particularly well. That would be Early Doucet, who was at the very bottom with only 0.68 yards per route run. He only had 28 catches, but also dropped eight passes.

Both Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts also found themselves among the worst in the league. Fitz got only 1.18 yards per route and Roberts only 1.27 per route.

That was a huge drop for Fitz when compared to 2011. He averaged 2.23 yards per route in 2011. Roberts, on the other hand, saw improvement as in 2011 he was only at 0.95.

If we look back at 2011, the coaching staff raved about Roberts' play, saying he ran great routes and was open a lot, but that quarterbacks either didn't throw to him or threw the ball poorly. His overall numbers were pretty solid in 2012, grabbing 64 passes (only seven less than Fitz) and over 750 yards. He did, though, drop 10 balls.

In contrast, the other big name receivers in the league like Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Andre Johnson find themselves at the very top of efficiency. They are the top three of the list, all of them averaging over 2.5 yards per route, and Johnson averaging just over three.

We know that Fitz is every bit the player of those other three guys, so rather than point the finger at the players at the position, we have to realize that even the best receiver in the game requires at least average quarterback play to perform well.

As PFF wrote, "this goes to show that all receivers are still very much dependent on their quarterbacks."

A great quarterback can made a decent receiver look really good. A great receiver can make a decent quarterback look pretty good. A great quarterback and a great receiver make magic. But a great receiver can't help a terrible quarterback much.

That was the case in 2012. Kevin Kolb looked pretty decent, even promising, but beyond him the other guys performed historically bad.

Keep up with Cardinals news and opinions when you are not on the site. Follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at@revengeofbirds and "like" us on Facebook. You can follow me individually at @senorjessroot.