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Trying To Find Fitzgerald

Notebook: Okeafor, Breaston sit out first practice of the week


Larry Fitzgerald works his way upfield after one of his six catches Sunday.
The TV camera caught wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the field, animated as he said something to quarterback Kurt Warner late in the first half of Sunday's game.

At that point, Fitzgerald didn't have a catch, thanks to the 49ers' double coverage. Moments later, Fitzgerald did get his first catch, seemingly jump-starting (at that point) an offense that had been dormant.

So did Fitzgerald basically tell Warner, double coverage or no just give me a chance to catch a ball?

"I don't really do that," Fitzgerald said, before breaking into a smile and adding, "you know the camera always makes things bigger than what it really is.

"I'm not going to say I wasn't frustrated but you have to continue to play in the flow of the game. The second half, things started opening up more."

Fitzgerald (who had a big catch earlier in the game negated on his own questionable offensive pass interference penalty) must deal with such things. After his record-breaking postseason a year ago, he is all but guaranteed double coverage most games, and that doesn't take into account when fellow Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin is hurting and limited as Boldin was against the 49ers.

Fitzgerald also said the 49ers did a good job mixing their secondary coverages and San Francisco has given Fitzgerald problems the last couple of years. He had just the one first-half reception, and six catches overall (for 71 yards and a touchdown) in the game.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said it is a fact of life with which the Cards must deal. Teams tried to double-team Fitzgerald in the playoffs to no avail. Against the 49ers, Whisenhunt said, there were times Fitzgerald might have been sprung but the protection broke down or the complimentary routes by fellow receivers were run incorrectly.

But, Whisenhunt said, "it's going to be difficult and it always is when they try to take a player out."

Fitzgerald insisted if he runs as a high-profile decoy, that is OK with him, pointing to the 12-catch, 121-yard receiving day by running back Tim Hightower.

"Most of the time I will have two guys, four eyes on me, and that's going to open up opportunities for other teammates," Fitzgerald said. "You saw that with Tim. He was playing a role he doesn't usually play, but every time he had the ball in his hands, he made plays."


Wide receiver Steve Breaston was forced to miss practice Wednesday with his bad knee, and so did linebacker Chike Okeafor with a shoulder injury. Also sitting were safety Matt Ware (shoulder) and defensive end Kenny Iwebema (ankle).

Four players were limited: Boldin, wide receiver Early Doucet (ribs) – who should be available this week – wide receiver Sean Morey (ribs) and third-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre (back).

The receiver situation "is better this week," Whisenhunt said. "We have a better feel for what the guys can do. Last week it was really up in the air."

Guard Reggie Wells is also on the injury report with a bad thumb, but he practiced fully and the injury is not expected to affect his playing time.


The Cardinals cut wide receiver Lance Long and promoted defensive lineman Keilen Dykes, but the move was more about Iwebema' injury than Long's production. Whisenhunt said with Iwebema probably out, the Cardinals couldn't afford to go to Jacksonville with just five defensive linemen – especially since the Jaguars are a run-first team.

Dykes has impressed coaches since playing on the practice squad last year as an undrafted rookie, and Whisenhunt bluntly said "yes" when asked if Dykes would have had good chance to make the original roster had he not missed much of training camp with a quadriceps injury.

"Keilen was very mad at me, because he felt he played well enough in (the final preseason game) to make the team," Whisenhunt said. "He worked as hard as anybody in the offseason. He was very disappointed he didn't make the roster. Those things have a way of working out."

The Cards wanted to bring Long back to the practice squad, but Long instead signed to go on the practice squad of the Kansas City Chiefs. That's not a surprise, since Long was a favorite of Chiefs coach Todd Haley last season when Haley was Arizona's offensive coordinator.


The team sack the Cardinals were originally credited with in Sunday's game has been awarded to safety Antrel Rolle. Fellow safety Adrian Wilson was also credited with a forced fumble.


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