clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bruce Arians: Fitzgerald improving option routes, Floyd a 'victim' of QB situation, Brown needs to get stronger

New, comments

Arians talks about his top receivers.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into last season, the Arizona Cardinals believed they had one of the best receiving combos in the league. Fans were expecting huge numbers.

It didn't happen. No one reached 1000 yards. Larry Fitzgerald battled injuries and had a down year. Michael Floyd could not find consistency. John Brown was fantastic early on and tailed off down the stretch.

Bruce Arians talked about his receivers a bit at breakfast with the media.

Arians said Floyd "was a victim of the quarterback situation" and "some frustration showed in his play sometimes."

Consistency has been Floyd's biggest issue over the least two seasons. He had four games with at least 85 yards receiving and five with less than 20 yards, including two games he was completely shut out.

2013 was the same story. He had six games with at least 80 yards and six with less than 40.

"He should have had 1,000 easily (last year)," Arians said. "But there were some balls we expect him to come down with and he didn't come down with and that's what is holding him down from being elite. He proven what he can do."

Fitzgerald's play was connected to Palmer's injury and his own comfort running option routes. As Darren Urban wrote on the team's official site, "Larry struggled early when we gave him two- or three-way options," explained Arians. "He plays faster when he had one option."

Fitz preferred playing outside and having only one route to run. Arians challenged him to learn more and there was a learning curve. Plus there were leg injuries and Palmer got hurt twice.

The team is counting on a big 2015 with a healthy Palmer and Fitz improving on his new role and responsibilities.

John Brown caught the league by storm but also saw his production slip late -- party due to the quarterbacks and partly due to wearing down and having some drops.

"He needs more strength," Arians said when asked about what Brown can do to upgrade his game. "He can't escape running around out here all the time. He's got to get down the field faster."

Arians did say it is a hard thing to do because the team can't practice bump and run until training camp.

"Once guys were pushing and shoving him, often illegally, he struggled," Arians explained. "And he hit the wall about Christmas."

Even still, Brown "learned the nuances of the game."

"His natural position is the slot and he did a great job."

Looking ahead to 2015, could this be the year when all three explode for big numbers? Arizona had three 100-yard receivers with Kurt Warner throwing to Fitz, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston.  Could there be a repeat of that if Palmer stays healthy?