National Football League
Unselfish Cardinals have big receiving corps
National Football League

Unselfish Cardinals have big receiving corps

Published Oct. 23, 2014 8:32 p.m. ET

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Nine players caught passes for the Arizona Cardinals in their win over the Oakland Raiders. That is not that unusual.

Carson Palmer doesn't have to force it into any particular receiver, just look around and find another one that's open.

''I've been telling you guys from day one. We're loaded at the skill positions,'' offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. ''Some of the best skill guys I've been around in my 11 years in the league. We've got receivers, we've got tight ends, we've got very good backs. Spreading the ball around, that's a good thing.''

There are wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown, Jarron Brown and Ted Ginn Jr. There are tight ends John Carlson and Rob Housler. And there are running backs Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor.


Carslon said it's an exceedingly unselfish bunch, a tone set by Fitzgerald.

''We don't have anyone in the locker room that's demanding any more touches or anything like that,'' Carlson said. ''I think that mentality is a testament, I believe, to Larry, because he's the veteran on this crew. He's been here for a long, long time. He's the superstar and he works as hard or harder than anyone.

''He's one of the best teammates you could possibly have.''

Fitzgerald, in his 11th season, holds pretty much every Cardinals career receiving record. For years, he was the player the Cardinals had to get the ball to for any success. But when coach Bruce Arians arrived, he moved Fitzgerald from his wide receiver spot to the slot.

The big-time athletic plays were mostly going to the younger Floyd. Fitzgerald had a role he'd never experienced. And, at least publicly, he never complained.

Through six games, Fitzgerald has 23 catches - second to Ellington's 25 - for 283 yards - second to Floyd's 353.

And it's not that the receivers, all of them, don't want the ball more.

''We all care about our touches and our looks, don't get me wrong,'' Fitzgerald said. ''We just don't put our touches and our looks in front of what we're trying to accomplish as a team. I think there's a distinct difference. You're playing in the NFL, you've been the man your entire life, you wouldn't be here if you weren't, so you have to be able to put that aside and focus on what's best for your team, and I think everybody has a good grasp of that.''

Having so many potential targets makes it tougher for defenses to prepare for the Cardinals, Palmer said.

''The opposing defense has to worry about a lot of different guys and think about a lot of different guys and a lot of different motions, a lot of different formations,'' Palmer said. ''It's definitely easier when you have one guy you throw 60-70 percent of the balls to key on him and double him and not worry about anybody else.

''But in this system you've got running backs who can catch and go the distance, you have receivers that can do that, tight ends that can do that, so there are a lot of guys you have to cover.''


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