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Thinking About Receivers

Posted Aug 30, 2011

The names change, but wideouts confident they can hold up legacy

The Cards are confident Andre Roberts (12) can compliment Larry Fitzgerald (11) as the No. 2 wide receiver this season.

Fitz has always been a part of it, along with Anquan, and first Bryant Johnson and then Steve Breaston.

“When you think about Arizona,” veteran wideout Chansi Stuckey said, “you think about receivers and throwing the ball.”

Johnson and Boldin are long gone, of course. So too is Breaston. Larry Fitzgerald will be around for good, now that he’s signed his new contract, but it’s the rest of the wide receivers that people will have to get to know. Andre Roberts as a No. 2. Early Doucet as part of the supporting cast, an introduction to Stuckey, the growth of Stephen Williams and DeMarco Sampson or Isaiah Williams.
 
The men who must fill those roles think the days when the team was known for receivers isn’t over yet.

“We have plenty of talent here,” Roberts said, with a smile and small shake of the head. “When it’s all said and done, I think this team will still be known for that.”

While running back and now cornerback, thanks to the season-ending injuries sustained by Ryan Williams and Greg Toler, have shifted focus on where the Cards may want to find a new piece, it was wide receiver that dominated such talk during training camp.

The subject of free-agent Braylon Edwards came up early and often, even while coach Ken Whisenhunt continued to insist he liked what he saw in his young group of wideouts. Roberts, who struggled so much as a rookie in training camp, looked like a brand-new receiver, and Doucet was healthy.

Given the names who had left, however, Roberts admits the storylines did not surprise.

“We all expected it, other than Larry,” Roberts said. “It is what it is. We knew going into camp there was a chance for another receiver to be coming in, to be a number two. But I feel Early and I showed the coaches we have that potential, that we can make plays. They didn’t need another guy.”

The knee injury to Max Komar – he was waived-injured earlier this week – took one potential receiver out of the mix. The Cards figure to carry six receivers, and have seven to choose from. Stuckey was quiet early in camp, but as he has learned the offense he has shown flashes of what he can contribute.

Whisenhunt called Stuckey a “savvy veteran” and noted the Cards didn’t need to see as much from him because he has so much NFL work on tape already (he had a career-high 40 catches for Cleveland last season). Stuckey is happy under the radar, and his knowledge can only help the rest of the receivers in the room.

“When we first got here we were kind of in the same boat, swimming at the same time,” Stuckey said. “It’s tough. But I feel almost 100 percent comfortable now.”

Part of the receiving equation is also the addition of tight ends Todd Heap and Rob Housler as well, the Cards’ biggest receiving threats at the position in years.

“I could see reasons why there was speculation (about additions),” Doucet said. “But being part of the group … I didn’t see it as a big deal. Guys move on. Other guys get the chance to step in.”


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