Dealing Cards: Fitzgerald pleads the fifth, Arizona faces 81-less Lions
TEMPE, Ariz. – What happens between the white lines, stays between the white lines.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald would not confirm nor deny that he requests his opponents to hit him high rather than go low and risk injuring his legs.
The subject was brought up after Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin told reporters this week Fitzgerald has made such requests to him.
“I don’t really like to talk about what happens in-between the lines,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “I have a lot of respect for Glover. He’s a Pro Bowl player and he was rewarded this offseason with another extension, so, I mean, he’s a great player and somebody I have a great deal of respect for along with (defensive coordinator) Teryl Austin and (head) coach (Jim) Caldwell. They got some really good men on that team, the organization.”
Pressed on the issue, Fitzgerald acted as if he had been called to testify before Congress.
“I don’t recall, I don’t recall,” he said. “We haven’t played Detroit in two years, I think. That’s a lot of games in between then.”
Across the locker room, cornerback Patrick Peterson was asked whether an opponent had ever made a similar request to him. He had not, and when told Fitzgerald reportedly does, Peterson made the logical conclusion.
“Because he probably wants to play golf, that’s why he don’t want to mess up his legs. That’s probably why,” he said, laughing. “He don’t want to mess up that swing.”
So Fitzgerald, hypothetically, if you had to take a hit, where do you prefer to be hit?
“In the end zone,” he said.
No more Calvin Johnson
When the Cardinals last played the Lions, not only did they win, 42-17, they also held likely Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson to five catches for 67 yards and, more importantly, no touchdowns.
Johnson has since retired, but Peterson said the Cardinals can still look back at that game film and apply it to this week.
“They just don’t have 81,” he said, referring to Johnson’s uniform number. “They still pretty much have the same offense. They just don’t have the guys that they had in 2015.”
Without Johnson, seven-year veteran Golden Tate as assumed the role of No. 1 receiver.
“He’s very, very good after the catch. He’s very crafty. He’s a guy that you have to get hats around because he can make that big play at any moment,” Peterson said. “We know they’re going to try to get him the ball in any form or fashion so we have to be ready for it, but he’s a hell of a player and he still got a lot left in the tank.”
Supporting their alma mater
In the past two years, Peterson and safety Tyrann Mathieu each made $1 million donations to LSU. This week, the school’s board of supervisors are expected to approve proposals in which places inside the football operations building will be renamed in their honor.
“It means a lot because that’s where the foundation kind of started for me on how to be a professional and how to conduct myself, how to carry myself on and off the field,” Peterson said. “I thought it was an obligation for me to do something for my university that I think they would appreciate.”
Peterson, who played at LSU from 2008-10, will have his name attached to the weight room, while the players’ lounge will be renamed the Mathieu Players’ Lounge.
“It hasn’t really hit me yet. Obviously, my relationship with LSU is really well,” said Mathieu, whose time on campus ended in 2012 when he was dismissed from the football team due to a violation of team rules. “Hopefully my kids go there, because they will probably go to LSU and they will play defensive back — unless he’s over six feet then he has to play quarterback — but hopefully those guys can kick it in there and hang out. It’s cool.”
As hoped, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche practiced on Thursday. He was limited in his work, but “hopefully he’ll continue to trend in the right direction to be ready for Sunday,” according to defensive coordinator James Bettcher.
Nkemdiche has been bothered by a strained calf since late August.
Starting left guard Mike Iupati (triceps) was once again limited per the Cardinals’ official injury report, while dollar linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle) did not practice. He will not play in Week 1. And following a day off, Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer practiced in full.
For the Lions, defensive end Ziggy Ansah (knee), wide receiver Kenny Golladay (ankle) and tackle Corey Robinson (foot) were all once again limited, while running back Zach Zenner (back) was a full participant after being limited a day earlier.