Attention Juan Castillo: Whatever you do this week, make sure Larry Fitzgerald’s whereabouts are accounted for on every single snap he’s on the field. And make sure you relay this to Nnamdi, DRC, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman as well.
In case you didn’t realize, Larry Fitzgerald absolutely loves playing the Eagles. We all know he’s one of the NFL’s best receivers…if not the best (with a decent QB)…but he has a knack for just torching the Eagles defense in particular.
If you’ve been watching the Eagles for at least the past 7 years, you may remember some of the games against him…particularly the 2008 season’s NFC Championship game. In that game, Fitz had 9 catches for 152 and 3 TDs.
He’s had 4 career games against the Eagles in which he has tallied 26 catches for 456 yards and a whopping 8 TDs.
That’s an average of 6.5 catches for 114 yards and 2 TDs per game. And probably not coincidentally, the Eagles are 1-3 against Arizona in those 4 contests.
Fitzgerald is not off to a great start in the first 2 games this season with only 5 catches for 67 yards and no TDs. However, his dry spell won’t last forever and he’s due for a break-out game soon.
Hopefully, that won’t be this week.
The Cardinals’ offense has been struggling so far for the most part and have only amassed 498 yards of total offense, including just 148 yards rushing, in the first 2 games.
However, they are 2-0, playing good defense, and will be playing at home this week in an early-season showdown of unbeaten teams. They will be hyped up for this game and Fitzgerald could be a large part of it.
With the tandem of Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams averaging a mere 2.8 yards per carry, Fitzgerald is far and away their best offensive player and he can’t be allowed to dominate this game.
Last week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick stated that Fitz may ultimately become the “best ever” wide receiver in NFL history. After heaping such nice praise on Fitz, Belichick’s defense proceeded to shut him down in holding him to just 1 catch for 4 yards.
How did he accomplish such a thing? Well, it didn’t appear to be anything special other than playing his safeties deep and having them help with double-covering him.
Therefore, Castillo needs to study the game-tape to see exactly what the Patriots did. Maybe he particularly needs to do extra study time with a guy that saw Fitz every day in practice — former Cardinal Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
DRC, by the way, will likely get his share of matchups on Fitzgerald this week as the Cards tend to line him up all over the place. That will be a nice in-game battle to watch.
But, whatever Juan needs to do, he better do it. Double cover him, triple cover him — roll your whole secondary his way and let Andre Roberts and Early Doucet run free (just kidding). But, you get the point…
Shut Larry Fitzgerald down!
We stop him, we win the game…simple as that. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.