The road to winning the NFC West hypothetically got a little bit easier with the news that San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree is possibly lost for the entire 2013 season with a torn Achilles. Crabtree, who caught 85 passes in 2012 for over 1100 yards and nine touchdowns, was a thorn in the Cardinals' side. Against Arizona in two contests, he hauled in 13 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. It was the one matchup that seemed to give Patrick Peterson fits.
Without Crabtree, who was Colin Kaepernick's favorites target, they are left with Anquan Boldin and some unproven or inconsistent players in their receiving corp. Obviously, someone will have to step up. On paper, it does not look good, although according to some, not all hope is lost.
The injury, though, got me thinking about the Cardinals.
When Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was hired, he thought highly of the receivers already on the team. "It's the best situation at receiver that I have ever walked into," Arians said in March. "It's not the position I've been worrying about."
You definitely can see why when you have a Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd. However, as noted recently, there is not much in the way of proven talent after those three, despite there being 13 receivers on the roster.
Yes, the Cardinals have three very talented receivers that will play a ton. But what would happen if one of them got hurt, especially Larry Fitzgerald?
Outside of the top three, there is a total of 11 NFL snaps among the remaining 10 guys, all belonging to LaRon Byrd.
Now, I don't think there will be much playing time on offense for any receiver beyond Roberts. Arians loves to use two tight end sets and in the case of a four wide set, Rob Housler would probably be the fourth receiver as he was a season ago.
Now, the situation might be so dire. If Fitz got hurt, Floyd looks capable of being that number one guy. Roberts can play the number two, as he has done it reasonably well. Rookie Ryan Swope could be plugged in as a slot receiver and, as many readers would probably agree with, play well.
Should the Cardinals look outside the roster for help if there were to lose one of their top guys? There isn't much out there. There is Brandon Lloyd and Randy Moss, but not much else in the way of solid contributors.
The same could be said about the 49ers. They have Anquan Boldin, A.J. Jenkins, Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams (both of whom are coming off of 2012 injuries). They also have Ricardo Lockette, who some believe could have a big impact.
Getting back to the Cardinals, if Fitz got hurt, it looks like the team could weather that, but it would mean the Floyd would have to take over and be the the of receiver many believe he can be.
The 49ers have lost a huge piece to their offense, but they potentially can weather it. Do you think the Cardinals could do the same?
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