by Kent Somers - Jul. 18, 2012 01:24 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com
As a preview for training camp, which opens July 24, Kent Somers takes a look at each position. Next up: Wide receivers.
Just before I started to write this entry, I saw this tweet from @ESPNStatsinfo: "Larry Fitzgerald has only 13 drops on 625 targets since 2008 (2.1%)... that's the best % among all WR over last 4 seasons (min. 400 targets)."
I won't devote time to evaluating Fitzgerald. We've all witnessed what he can do. But there are plenty of questions about the other receivers, such as:
Is Andre Roberts likely to keep his starting job?
My guess is yes. Coaches think he's developed into a good player and that his statistics last year (51 rec., 586 yards, two touchdowns) were more a reflection of problems at quarterback.
Michael Floyd, the first-round pick, will not immediately step into the starting lineup. In fact, I'd be surprised if Floyd is ranked above Roberts or Early Doucet any time soon.
Some will say that's because coach Ken Whisenhunt doesn't like to play rookies right away. I think it's more a case that he and his coaches feel Roberts and Doucet are better right now. It looked that way to me, too, during off-season practices. It also looked like Floyd could lose a few pounds, although that's not unusual for rookies.
Off-season practices, however, probably aren't conducive to Floyd's skills. Players wear shorts and helmets and contact is limited. Floyd, 6-2 and 220 pounds, is big and strong. I don't know that he's going to amaze anyone with his quickness. I'm interested to see how he looks in pads. It's interesting to me, too, that Fitzgerald recently called out Floyd on twitter for missing summer workouts in Minnesota. Both Floyd and Fitzgerald are from the Minneapolis area.
Before Floyd is labeled as having a bad work ethic, however, it's important to remember that Fitzgerald wasn't the hardest working man in football as a rookie, either. But he matured and he will mentor Floyd, if Floyd is willing to listen.
Doucet had a couple of big drops in 2011, but he also made some big plays. As the third receiver, Doucet posted better numbers (54 rec., 689 yards and five touchdowns) than Roberts.
It's difficult to see any other receiver moving into the top four. The Cardinals likely will carry six wideouts, leaving two spots open. The competition for those jobs will be heated.
Stephen Williams has played well in his two training camps, only to disappear when the season starts. That's because his primary position is playing behind Fitzgerald and also because he has not proven to be a good special teams player.
The fifth and sixth receivers have to fill roles on special teams. That's why DeMarco Sampson played more than Williams last year despite being a rookie.
Many of us can be fooled by how young receivers play in the pre-season. They play more snaps than the starters, and they play against younger, less experienced cornerbacks. That can lead to posting deceptive numbers.
Williams and Sampson will face challenges from a handful of others: Stanley Arukwe, LaRon Byrd, Gino Crump, Tre Gray, Jaymar Johnson and Isaiah Williams.
Byrd is built like Fitzgerald but let's hold off on the Fitz, Jr., talk. Arukwe is very fast. Gray looked quick in off-season works. Johnson and Williams are veterans of NFL camps, still looking to prove themselves.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/sports/card...#ixzz210dglzJ6