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Numbers Matter To Larry Fitzgerald

Posted Dec 1, 2016

Notes: Receiver could move to No. 3 on receptions list; Mathieu sits out practice

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald makes a diving catch in Atlanta last weekend.

Reminiscing on his career will be for after it is over, and that’s how Larry Fitzgerald has always looked at it.

But as the wide receiver approaches more milestones Sunday – he needs six catches to surpass No. 4 Cris Carter on the all-time NFL receptions list and seven to pass No. 3 Marvin Harrison – his for-later approach doesn’t mean he is unaware now.

“I know where I’m at,” Fitzgerald said. “Yeah, I always know where I’m at.

“I’m not saying it’s super-high on my priority list on the field, but obviously I care about my performance, care about going out there and doing what I am capable of doing what I can every single week,” Fitzgerald added. “If that amounts to climbing up the list, that amounts to it. I have a great deal of pride going out there and competing at the highest level and being a leader on my team and competing week in and week out.”

Fitzgerald was only targeted four times last week in Atlanta, catching all four passes for 53 yards. His last home game three weeks ago, Fitzgerald was targeted 18 times.

“I just think it was the flow of the game, what they were trying to dictate defensively,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said of Fitzgerald’s lack of Atlanta targets. “I don’t think it was anything intentional.”

Reports from Washington say that top cornerback Josh Norman may follow around Fitzgerald a good chunk of Sunday. That could end up impacting Fitzgerald’s performance.

[READ: PETERSON TALKS ABOUT WEDNESDAY'S PLAYERS-ONLY MEETING]

In the meantime, Fitzgerald isn’t the only one keeping track of the numbers. He heard from old friend Carter recently.

“He told me ‘You might catch me in yards and catches, but you’re not going to catch me in touchdowns,’ “Fitzgerald said. “He’s raised the bar for me. So I have to go out and catch about five or six touchdowns this weekend and try and put some heat on him.”

Fitzgerald, with 103 career touchdowns, needs 28 to pass Carter.

MATHIEU DOWNGRADED AT PRACTICE

Safety Tyrann Mathieu, who was limited Wednesday with his bad shoulder, was downgraded to a did-not-practice Thursday. It’s unclear whether it was a day to rest Mathieu or if he had a setback.

On a good note, as Arians promised, every player who didn’t practice Wednesday was  back Thursday: Quarterback Carson Palmer and Fitzgerald (rest days), cornerback Patrick Peterson (knee), cornerback Justin Bethel (foot), wide receiver John Brown (sickle-cell illness) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (illness). Bethel, Brown and Peterson were working on a limited basis, joining wide receiver Michael Floyd (hamstring), linebacker Markus Golden (ankle) and defensive tackle Corey Peters (foot).

Defensive tackle Xavier Williams did not practice, sidelined with the same illness that has plagued the locker room.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that star Washington tight end Jordan Reed – who missed practice again Thursday – was unlikely to play Sunday. That would be a blow to the high-flying Redskins offense.

Defensive end Anthony Lanier II (shin) didn’t practice either for Washington. Linebacker Terance Garvin (shoulder), defensive end Ricky Jean Francois (knee), tackle Ty Nsekhe (ankle), guard Brandon Scherff (ankle) and running back Chris Thompson (illness) were limited.

GETTING IT RIGHT ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE

The Cardinals are staying with their new-look offensive line. For Goodwin, that means the right side – guard John Wetzel and tackle Ulrick John – have to be able to hold up the entire game. It didn’t help that the Cards were constantly throwing at the end of the Falcons game, but both players suffered from fatigue.

“They were pretty good for the first two-and-a-half (quarters), a little bit of the third (quarter) but slowly but surely they died on the vine,” Goodwin said. “For Ulrick, you can understand a little bit, he hasn’t played a lot of football, other than the preseason. For John, there is no excuse for that. He’s got to do better than that.”

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