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Dealing Cards: Fitzgerald continues climb, Amos Jones ignores the noise

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) tries to elude Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Ask Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to talk about himself and he quickly ducks, dodges or simply ignores the question.

Now ask Fitzgerald about any of his teammates, coaches or opponents — past or present — and he’ll speak in glowing terms.

The trick is to find a happy medium. And one was found Thursday.

With 26 receiving yards this week against Tennessee, Fitzgerald will move past 2018 Hall of Fame semifinalist Randy Moss (15,292) for third place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yardage list.

“Well, I love Randy. He taught me this game. I grew up immortalizing him, watching him, trying to emulate what he was doing every single day,” he said. “Any time that you can have your name mentioned in the same sentence as Randy Moss, you got to be happy.”

Moss was one of the many Minnesota Vikings players who took a then-young Fitzgerald under their wing. They showed up at his Friday night high school football games. They gave him their used cleats and gloves.

In return, Fitzgerald would wash their cars to earn some spending money. And how did Moss pay?

“Straight cash, homey,” Fitzgerald said, smiling, repeating an often quoted Moss line. “He only paid in cash. I don’t think he’s ever wrote a check.”

Moss had two cars, according to Fitzgerald. He had a Range Rover and 740 BMW, a blue one. Fitzgerald borrowed one — he didn’t say which one — for prom and “I brought it back without a scratch.”

Moss was always very, very generous.

“He’s always been over-the-top kind to me,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald has moved up five spots on the all-time receiving yardage list in the last nine games. Last week, he passed Isaac Bruce (15,208) for fourth place.

Moving ahead of Moss, though, would take on added significance.

“Well, I’m not there yet. I got work to do,” Fitzgerald said. “But, to look up to somebody like that for so long and respect him and love the person that he is, it really means a lot. It’s humbling. It makes you appreciative. Some of things that I’m able to do in my career are things that I learned from him.”

A new left tackle?

It’s looking more and more like rookie Will Holden will be the Cardinals’ starting left tackle on Sunday. Jared Veldheer missed a second straight day of practice with an elbow injury.

“I feel comfortable over there,” said Holden, who has played in five games including a start at left guard against San Francisco in Week 4. “Every week you dress, you always got to be ready. We’ve had a few injuries this year, so when your number is called, you just have to ready at all times, whether that’s on gameday, in practice, you name it. You always have to be ready.”

In addition to Veldheer, running back Adrian Peterson (neck) sat out practice again, while Josh Mauro (ankle) and Patrick Peterson (hamstring) went from limited to not practicing, according to Thursday’s injury report.

Wide receiver John Brown (toe) and defensive lineman Corey Peters (ankle) were upgraded to limited.

Dollar linebacker Deone Bucannon (ankle), long snapper Dustin Drescher (elbow), tight end Troy Niklas (hip/knee), center A.Q. Shipley (shoulder) and running back Kerwynn Williams (ribs) were each upgraded to full participation.

Amos Jones ignores the noise

Like most coaches, special teams coordinator Amos Jones does not listen to talk radio or bother to read what’s written about him, whether in the newspaper or online.

“I don’t read articles,” he told ArizonaSports.com on Thursday. “I don’t get many interviews, probably because I’m not a good interviewer or I’m not going to throw anybody underneath the bus. But, the thing is I don’t pay attention to outside stuff.”

And there’s been quite a bit of outside noise, going back to last season concerning the Cardinals’ special teams play.

This season, it’s been much of the same. Special teams will perform well one week (Week 12 against Jacksonville) and then just the opposite the next week (Week 13 against the Rams).

“I did get a ‘fire Amos Jones’ letter from an envelope that was from an American Express company this spring. I kept it, but then I realized I didn’t have an American Express card anyway, so they weren’t mad at me for not paying my bill but it was a ‘fire Amos Jones’ (letter).

“Winning and losing in this business is such a fine line,” Jones said. “The bottom line for us as coaches is, it’s about those guys in the room, about their respect, my peers’ respect in and around the league.”

A dozen players now on IR

The Cardinals’ list of players on injured reserve grew by one on Thursday, when the team added safety Rudy Ford. That makes 12 players.

Ford had played 10 games — all on special teams — before a knee issue sidelined him the past two weeks and now has ended his rookie season. Ford was a sixth-round draft pick, the 208th overall selection, out of Auburn.

Safety Harlan Miller has been elevated to the active roster from the practice squad.

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