The Cardinals' game Sunday in Minneapolis is homecoming for a guy who could be the most important offensive player in the second half of the season. And, I'm not talking about Larry Fitzgerald.
Fellow wide receiver Michael Floyd is from St. Paul, where he was a high school All-American in football, and also starred in basketball and track. While Fitzgerald is the Cardinals most reliable wide receiver, Floyd is perhaps their most explosive. Over the last three seasons, Floyd has averaged almost 17 yards
per catch (Fitzgerald has averaged around 11 yards per reception in that same time frame). Fitz was supposed to pass the torch to Floyd as the next No. 1 receiver in the Cardinals offense. However, Larry has defied Father Time and continues to show why he's maybe the greatest Cardinal of all time.
Floyd has not grabbed the baton because of inconsistent play. However, Floyd showed signs of reemergence last week in the win over San Francisco. Floyd made a couple of spectacular catches, going over 100 yards receiving for the first time this season. Performances like that have been few and far between in 2016.
Expectations were off the charts for Floyd entering the season, after he finished 2015 on a major high. In his final 10 games last year, he had 745 receiving yards, plus two touchdown catches in the playoff victory against Green Bay. He had five games last year with over 100 yards receiving.
Prior to Sunday's game, Floyd's single game high for receiving yards in 2016 was 65. So what has changed from last season? Everyone has talked about the fact that Floyd is in a contract year, and one can only speculate how much that has impacted his play. Watching Floyd's body language, and also when and how Bruce Arians has called designed shots to Floyd, one could also assume confidence has been an issue. Perhaps it will help that Floyd is coming off his biggest game of the season by far. Floyd also has battled through a hamstring injury.
There are several reasons why the Cardinals passing attack has been average this season, and Floyd's lack of production is one of them. Teams are going to focus more and more on stopping David Johnson and the Arizona rushing attack. If the Cardinals are going to regain their high octane form, Floyd has to be consistent. That means he has to make the big catches, and not drop the easy ones. Playing in his hometown Sunday could bring out the best in Floyd. The Cardinals desperately need him.