2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Receivers struggle as part of Arizona offense woes

    2012-11-29 17:39

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.)
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Larry Fitzgerald is the most formidable receiver struggling in Arizona's impotent offense, but the whole group is contending with problems often beyond its control.

Bad passes and missed blocks in the protection have thwarted big plays that seemed ripe for the taking. Sometimes when that goes right, the receiver drops the ball. It's been that kind of year in Arizona, where the Cardinals take a seven-game losing streak into Sunday's road game against the New York Jets.

Now injuries have added to the problem. Andre Roberts, the No. 2 receiver behind Fitzgerald, missed practice for a second straight day Thursday with an ankle injury, although he said he was ``very optimistic'' he would be able to play Sunday. Early Doucet, usually the No. 3 receiver, missed Sunday's home loss to St. Louis with injured ribs and has been limited in practice this week.

Asked to assess the receivers as a whole, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, ``It's hard to assess any position. We haven't had enough consistency or continuity offensively this year.''

``Our guys are trying, we've got to get better,'' he said. ``Last week we had a good half of football. If we don't turn the ball over, it could have been a very good day for us offensively. We've just got to build off of that.''

Doucet's injury opened the way for the NFL debut of undrafted rookie LaRon Byrd, who took a vicious hit against the Rams and left the game with dizziness. He said he has been cleared to play this week.

One player who has taken advantage of his opportunities is first-round draft pick Michael Floyd, who had seen his playing time grow even before Doucet was hurt.

Floyd had dropped some passes early and said he took it to heart. After eight catches in his first seven games, Floyd has 16 for 169 yards in his last four.

``I'm always my worst critic,'' he said. ``I mean, I'm yelling at me, I get down on myself more than anybody else could. But it's always motivation because I expect a lot out of myself to be productive and make plays when they come my way.''

A critical flaw for Arizona is the inability to get the ball to Fitzgerald, one of the best receivers in the game.

In the last two games he has four catches for 42 yards and had none in the second half against St. Louis, when the Rams outscored the Cardinals 17-0 en route to a 31-17 victory.

Rookie Ryan Lindley got his first NFL start on Sunday and completed 31 of 52 for 312 yards and no touchdowns with four interceptions, two of them returned for touchdowns.

On two of the interceptions - including one brought back for a TD - Fitzgerald was open for big gains but Lindley badly underthrew him. In the previous game at Atlanta, Whisenhunt benched quarterback John Skelton when he missed a wide open Fitzgerald in the end zone.

Fitzgerald has taken pains not to criticize anyone for his situation.

``You've got to maintain your professionalism,'' he said. ``It was like my son when we were home and eating dinner and I'm trying to get him to eat his vegetables and he's doing everything he can to not eat them. That's frustrating, but I know we're trying to do everything we can to make sure we have big plays. It's not a conscious effort that, `We're not going to get Fitz the ball' or `We're going to overthrow him on this one or not call his number.' We're just not executing.''

One thing for certain, Fitzgerald is sick of this losing streak.

``Seven weeks, the urgency is like if you would be drowning,'' he told reporters on Thursday. ``You ever been in the pool and you're struggling for air, how hard do you fight to get to the top? That's kind of how we all feel right now. We're struggling and fighting and doing anything we can to get to the top. If we're close enough I'll pull you down to get to the air.''

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Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

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Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

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Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

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Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

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Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

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Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

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Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

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Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

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New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

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