clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Roundtable: Running backs, Larry Fitzgerald, and Football in Los Angeles

New, comments

In just two days, the Cardinals will be playing the St. Louis Rams in Glendale.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

But before Arizona takes on their division rivals, the ROTB Writing staff took on three questions regarding the team.

Don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below!

1) When Andre Ellington returns from injury, should he resume his role as starter, or should he take a backseat to Chris Johnson?

Jesse Reynolds: When Ellington returns I think he takes the "starting" position but will see reduced snaps due to Johnson and Johnson starting to emerge as a lethal tandem. I think the distribution between them is going to be even.

Randy Fields: The offense is more dynamic with additional pass options out of the backfield with Ellington on the field. But Chris Johnson has been dynamic and is loving being on the field. He's playing hard and you can see that on every snap. I think the answer is you give Ellington the start to continue to build his confidence and split time between them as CJ is not as worried about being labeled the starter, he just wants the opportunities to play and win.

Robert Norman: Ellington should be the starter with Chris Johnson getting 10-15 touches per game. Ellington was playing just as well as Johnson. Really this makes it more difficult for defenses because you can have two different running backs with the same playing styles on the field at all times. Now, Stepfan Taylor received some hand-offs last game and I expect he is now the odd man out.

Tyler Derby: This to me could go either way. The more carries Johnson is getting the better he has been  performing. I don't either one should take a backseat and both should be worked into the offensive game plan. I would rather have several guys you can rotate and keep fresh throughout the season. Both Ellington and Johnson aren't big guys so they are injury prone and using them both will help keep them off the injury list.

Jess Root: Ellington is so dynamic, you don't want him losing that many touches, but Johnson is so steady, you don't want him to be a 5-10 carry guy. If you can get Ellington to have the same role he had the second half of his rookie season, I think it is perfect.

BigRedBilly: I like having Chris Johnson as the workhorse and I would prefer to see Andre in the role I've been hoping for some time he would assume and one that would be best suited for his skills and health.  Primarily a third-down back (or passing down back) who can make things happen with receptions in open space in the style of Larry Centers.  With Johnson & Johnson, I see no great need for Ellington running between the tackles.

Steven Rodriguez: There's no doubt Ellington should resume his role as a starter. He was the starter throughout the off-season and beginning of this season for a reason. However, with the emergence of Chris Johnson, it allows Bruce Arians to slowly incorporate Ellington back into the offense, letting him find his confidence and not be rushed in to only re-injured himself.

2) What is fueling the resurgence of Larry Fitzgerald?

Jesse Reynolds: It appears that John Browns ability to stretch the defense and Fitzgeralds ability to read the defense on the same page as Palmer are both big factors. Fitz isn't as fast as he once was but his decision making, route running and hands are still elite. Combine that with Palmer in a clean pocket and you get a career best start for Fitz.

Randy Fields: You mean this rookie with lots of upside named Larry freakin' Fitzgerald? This is a man who is playing like he's 7 years younger! I think it comes from great o-line play which supports Carson Palmer being able to exploit the defense. It all starts with the line, and when you give Palmer time he is showing what he can do and why he was once a first overall pick in the 2003 draft! Add to that equation Floyd being out and Larry being asked to carry more of a burden and suddenly it's a perfect storm for Larry to jump back into elite WR conversations. Floyd will have to wait another year for his supposed passing of the torch. This is the year of Fitzgerald.

Robert Norman: It all has come together.Year 1 Larry Fitzgerald had to learn a new offensive system, new positions and had a  new quarterback. Year 2 Fitzgerald played with a bum hamstring most of the season and Carson Palmer was injured much of the season. In 2015, the team knows the system, Fitz knows his position and both he and Palmer are healthy.

Tyler Derby: For one he finally he has other weapons around him to take the attention off of him and having a motivated Carson Palmer throwing you the ball has been huge. Palmer has come out with something to prove and Fitzgerald has been the beneficiary of that. Another reason is that this is his 3rd year in Arians system and you can tell he has finally found his role and has excelled because of that.

Jess Root: It is a number of things. He is healthy. Carson Palmer is healthy. But the running game works now. Playing inside, he is getting real favorable matchups, especially off play action. It looks like this is exactly what BA envisioned when he first moved Fitz.

BigRedBilly: I think what's fueling Larry is that he's a man on a mission with one goal in mind — winning a championship.  I also can't help but think that he's driven by hearing one too many times that he's 'over the hill'.  Put them both together and that's high octane fuel.

Steven Rodriguez: There are numerous of reasons why Larry Fitzgerald has been phenomenal this year. One of the main reasons is a healthy Carson Palmer. Fitzgerald has been proven to be Palmer's favorite target through the past two seasons but due to injury, we never were fully able to experience what a dynamic duo these two can be. Also, Fitzgerald has taken advantage of lining up in the slot position using his size to his advantage against much smaller CBs. But with the threat of an actual run offense, the success of Fitzgerald doesn't seem to be coming to an end anytime soon.

3) The league seems very interested in moving a team to Los Angeles.  Which current NFL team would you send to Southern California?

Jesse Reynolds: Honestly I don't care much outside of hoping it's not the Raiders as their fans can be the worst outside of Boston.

Randy Fields: Jacksonville and the Rams. I think Jacksonville's fan base is lacking and the Rams were great in Los Angeles. I lived in L.A. recently and people still have their LA Rams gear hanging on their walls and speak fondly of the times they supported the home team at the Coliseum.

Robert Norman: St. Louis Rams. They have averaged the worst attendance over the past 7 years between 2008-2014 besides the Oakland Raiders, according to stats from ESPN. While the Raiders do have the worst attendance it includes 2009-2010. I don't believe you can penalize fans from paying exorbitant prices during a terrible recession. The Rams are on track to average ~79% capacity. Oakland about 85%. St. Louis has always and will always be a baseball town.

Tyler Derby: I never like to see any teams relocate because of all the hurt fans you leave behind, but if I had to pick the most likely to move I would say its the St. Louis Rams. Their attendance has been getting worse and their owner seems dead set on moving them out to LA.  If you have an owner who is that focused on leaving, more times than not they will leave eventually. Because of that, you can see the fan base is starting to give up as well.

Jess Root: It really doesn't matter. The Rams make sense because it changes things the least and gives the Rams back to LA. The same could be said about the Raiders.

BigRedBilly: This is a hard one, as Los Angeles is way overdue for a team and I'm extremely opposed to expansion past the current 32 teams (a mathematically perfect number for scheduling and alignment).  There have been several teams bandied about over the last few years as possible candidates for a move including three teams who at one time used the name 'Los Angeles' (Rams, Raiders and Chargers).

Honestly, I would hate to see any one of those teams move from their current locale but I'd have to go with the Rams and favor them as having a rich history in L.A. and a team that might most benefit from the move back go their old stomping grounds (but hopefully not the Colosseum, at least for long).

Steven Rodriguez: It comes down to down to two teams, the Rams or Jaguars. The Rams would make sense because of the history it has in L.A., along with having one of the leagues worse attendance. But you can also say the same about the Jaguars who haven't been able to sell out a home game for several seasons it seems like. They also are in a state where two other teams reign supreme over them. However, if Jaguars do move to L.A. they will be the third wheel again...