Stats Missing For Larry Fitzgerald, But Coordinator Change Might Help

Larry Fitzgerald is congratulated by teammates on his first touchdown of the season last week against the Broncos.
Larry Fitzgerald is congratulated by teammates on his first touchdown of the season last week against the Broncos.

Larry Fitzgerald has only 255 yards receiving on 26 catches through seven games.

They are numbers well below the previous three seasons and leaving him – in a surprise given how few he needed coming into the year – still 135 yards shy of surpassing Terrell Owens for second all-time in NFL history.

“When we get there, we get there,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “Week 15 or 16 at this pace.”

He chuckled as he delivered the gallows humor. “You know how I am about the records,” Fitzgerald added, and he has made it clear the last couple of seasons victories is the statistic he craves.

Still, the change to Byron Leftwich at offensive coordinator could help his personal output. Coach Steve Wilks had mentioned Leftwich was around for David Johnson’s huge 2016 season and will know how to get Johnson involved more. Leftwich also watched Fitzgerald top 100 catches and 1,000 yards each of the two seasons Leftwich has been on staff before 2018.

“Larry Fitzgerald is a uniquely talented human being,” Leftwich said. “He’ll catch everything that comes his way. We have to do a better job getting him the ball and putting him in position to make plays for us.

“The plays are still there in him. I don’t think he’s dead yet.”

Not surprisingly, Fitzgerald downplayed the potential. He wants the offense to click, and if it doesn’t do that through him, he won’t mind. He also knows there are limitations to what can be done in October.

“You can’t just overhaul everything in the middle of the season,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s unfair to everybody.”

Fitzgerald was in a good mood all things considered. He said he doesn’t really think of the Cards as a 1-6 team. The smile came out again when he talked about the potential of developing any bad habits if the team is struggling.

“I play wide receiver and we’re judged on numbers,” Fitzgerald said. “Win-loss-tie, if you have a good day you have a good day. It’s not like I play offensive line where there are no stats. As a receiver, you’re never going to quit, you’re never going to lay down, because there is a catch or a touchdown that might be coming your way.

“We’re a little bit more selfish. I don’t know if that means we’re more competitive or we never quit, but you never don’t want the ball not to come your way and if it does, you damn sure want to catch it.”

A 1-6 RECORD, A TIGHT SHIRT AND FITZ’S ANALOGY

The Cardinals may be 1-6 on the season, and it has obviously frustrated some players. But Fitzgerald shook his head when he was asked about the weight of the Cardinals’ current record.

“I don’t view myself as a 1-6 guy and I don’t view my team as a 1-6 team, but everyone else knows you are 1-6,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s like when you put on a couple extra pounds and your lady says, ‘Hey, that shirt is a little tight on you.’ And you’re like, ‘The shirt actually looks good.’ And you are the last person to really realize that it’s tight on you.

“You don’t see yourself as that. You turn the tape on, and you’re not getting the results and the record is 1-6, but you don’t ever let that permeate into your thoughts.”

Leftwich said he has been impressed with the way the players have responded following the mini-bye.

“They’ve been working their tail off. It still matters to them,” he said. “I’ve seen teams in this situation. We don’t act like a 1-6 football team. On the practice field, you still see a lot of energy.”

DAWSON, PETERS ADDED TO INJURY LIST; BOSTON REMAINS SIDELINED

Kicker Phil Dawson (right hip) showed up as a DNP on Thursday's injury report, while defensive tackle Corey Peters (ankle) was added as limited. Safety Tre Boston (shoulder/ribs) remained sidelined Thursday, although Fitzgerald (hamstring) returned to practice.

Defensive coordinator Al Holcomb acknowledged a secondary miscommunication on the play in which Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders caught a wide-open 64-yard touchdown pass.

“Yeah, it does hurt not having Tre back there,” Holcomb said. “But that’s part of the business we’re in. Guys get banged up, they get hurt, the next man has to step up, and there can’t be a tremendous dropoff.”

Offensive lineman Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring) remained a DNP, with guard Mike Iupati (back) and guard Justin Pugh (hand) still limited.

For the 49ers, defensive end Solomon Thomas (thigh) was added as a DNP and two players -- center Weston Richburg (knee) and cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) were downgraded to DNP. Running back Matt Breida (ankle) and wide receiver Pierre Garcon (shoulder/knee) remained out. Wide receiver Dante Pettis (knee) was limited.

Images of the five turnovers the Cardinals forced in their Week 5 road win against the 49ers

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