Updated Aug 5, 2011 - 5:49 pm
No Edwards, no Floyd? It's all good for the Cardinals
Word came down Thursday afternoon that Braylon Edwards, a receiver the Cardinals were interested in signing, decided to take his talents to San Francisco.
Then, on Friday, it was reported that Malcolm Floyd, another player the Cardinals had been linked to, decided to stay in San Diego (I can't say I blame him, I was in San Diego a few weeks ago and, let's just say it was a little difficult to come back).
Seeing a pair of potential Cardinals taken off the free agent market may have caused some fans to groan, feeling like the team let an opportunity slip through their hands in the same way Edwards lets a football go through his.
Personally, the news made me yawn.
It's not that I don't think Edwards, Floyd or any other receiver out would have helped the Cardinals, as they most certainly have. Though not stars, they've proven over the course of their careers they can have an impact on the field, stretching defenses and making big plays.
But they're not going to be Cardinals -- at least, not this year -- and the team may have to make do with what they've already got.
And that's fine.
Larry Fitzgerald, Early Doucet, Andre Roberts, Chansi Stuckey, Stephen Williams. While Fitzgerald is the only one we can trust, there's a real good chance someone else from this group will emerge as a viable threat in the passing game.
We know what Doucet can do, provided he can stay on the field. His skill-set made the Cardinals comfortable enough to trade Anquan Boldin to Baltimore, and he has not gotten any worse. At 25-years-old the former LSU star is just entering his prime and if he can stay healthy Doucet will likely earn the nod as the No. 2 receiver.
If not, Roberts is the guy to really keep an eye on. One year ago he was dropping passes at an alarming rate, making people question the decision to draft him in the third round out of The Citadel. The 5-foot-11 player who is quick more than he is fast was struggling through his rookie season when, out of nowhere, something amazing happened: he got better.
Roberts made just four catches in the season's first eight games, and then hauled in 20 over the final half of the season, including a 74-yard touchdown reception against Dallas. And now, back in Flagstaff for camp, the now second-year pro's performance is earning rave reviews.
Besides them, Stuckey has proven to be a solid option and Williams, last year's training camp wunderkind, will likely take a step forward in his development. After all, receivers usually need a season or two before they really show what they've got.
Receivers also need a capable QB throwing to them, and the Cardinals may finally have that.
Remember a few years ago when Steve Breaston burst onto the scene? He wasn't supposed to be anything special as a receiver, but looked great when Kurt Warner was throwing him the ball. Now, nobody is (or should be) saying Kevin Kolb will be the next Kurt Warner, but it has been proven that good quarterbacks can make decent receivers look good, and there's no reason to think that won't happen in Arizona.
And, no matter who is throwing the ball, you better believe Fitzgerald and Todd Heap will earn the bulk of the defense's attention, meaning the Cardinals will be relying on everyone else to make plays. That includes the running backs, who will hopefully get around 20 carries themselves. If that happens the Cardinals won't be throwing the ball around 30+ times a game, which will take some of the burden off the guys who aren't Fitzgerald or Heap. You think the team doesn't realize that?
The Cardinals went into the abbreviated off-season with plenty of cap space, and, just more than a week into it, there is still quite a bit left. If they really wanted an Edwards or a Floyd they certainly had the means to get them, so why didn't they?
Because of names like Doucet, Roberts, Stuckey and Williams. You may not be familiar with them right now, but when the 2011 season concludes for the Cardinals the bet here is you will be.
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