GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd admitted there was some rust that needed to be knocked off.
“Yesterday I dropped one ball, so there was a little rust,” he said after practice Thursday. “Today was a better day, for the whole offense.”
In 2014, the offense may go as Floyd goes.
Last season, the former Notre Dame star led the Cardinals with 1,041 receiving yards, and his five touchdowns ranked second behind Larry Fitzgerald. His average of 16 yards per reception was the highest on the team as well good enough to place him 10th in the NFL.
If he’s not the team’s number one receiver, he’s definitely 1A, so having him sidelined for much of training camp with a hamstring issue was not a good thing.
When asked about the NFL’s changes to practice squad eligibility Wednesday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians decided to have some fun at Floyd’s expense.
“I told Mike Floyd, ‘You’re lucky you’re practice squad eligible right now. You might want to get out of the training room,'” he said. “Jokingly, obviously.”
Floyd emerged as a big-time weapon for the team last season, but was sidelined for the last couple weeks with a hamstring issue. Now he’s back on the field and back in the fold, which is big for an offense that is expected to take a big step forward.
Given the amount of time he was out, it may be a bit before Floyd is back to being himself on the field. Quarterback Carson Palmer said it will take time to get back into it, but noted he’s “very excited” to have him back.
Needless to say, Floyd is glad to be back on the field with his team.
“It’s tough sitting out there and you can’t contribute,” he said. “I’m happy to be out there, my teammates are happy for me to be back out there. I’m good.”
The third-year pro noted preseason action will be important for him to help get his timing back with Palmer along with comfort with all the movements he’ll need to go through during a game.
“Practice is one thing, but playing in a game and getting a little exposure out there is what you really need,” he said.
It seems likely Floyd will get into Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, at least for a handful of snaps. And if all goes according to plan, he should have no trouble getting back to 100 percent in time for the season opener against the San Diego Chargers on Monday, Sept. 8.
While Floyd was out, the team’s other young wideouts saw an increase in reps, with John and Jaron Brown, in particular, standing out. Putting Floyd back into the mix makes the group that much better, but now there is certainly more confidence in the players who are behind him on the depth chart.
“Great, great things. Each and every day each individual is getting better,” Floyd said of what he saw while watching the last couple weeks. “John Brown and Jaron, they can go in there and play. There’s not a 1-2. If anyone gets hurt, God forbid, but we can trust those guys and fill us in.”
That right there may be the silver lining to his injury. While ‘next man up’ is a theme the Cardinals and other teams turn to when players get hurt, there’s always doubt in who is going to line up in a new spot. But in Arizona, at the receiver position, that is not really the case.
“It’s exciting,” Floyd said of the receiver depth. “We’ve got a lot of playmakers.”