With Mike McCoy Out Are DJ and Fitzgerald in?
What does the firing of Mike McCoy mean for the seasons of David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald? Can David Johnson finally break out and can Larry Fitzgerald finally return to hall of fame form in Arizona? The short answer is yes. But let’s take a look at why this should be so.
When it comes to David Johnson, he is one of the few dual-threat running backs left in the NFL. While being seen as disappointing this season this was directly due to his usage by McCoy in the Cardinals offense. In seven games he has only run the ball 106 times for 335 yards. While his 3.2 yards per attempt is dismal he is still being productive with five rushing touchdowns keeping him as a top 10 fantasy running back despite the paltry rushing numbers. With McCoy gone we will have to wait and see if newly minted offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will use him better. The thought and the hope are he will, and I feel he was told as much when he was promoted from quarterbacks’ coach on Friday morning.
With nine games left in the season, there is still time for Johnson to rebound to his former self and regain his position as one of, if not the best all-around running back in the league. With his recently signed contract showing the commitment the team has to him going forward it was always going to be McCoy who went and not Johnson. Now that this has happened DJ owners everywhere can rejoice in his new found freedom.
As for Larry Fitzgerald’s future. This really depends not only on the dismissal of McCoy and how Leftwich will use him in the offense, but it also depends on the ability of Fitzgerald to stay healthy the rest of the season. In Thursday night’s drubbing by the Broncos Fitzgerald caught four of eight targets for 40 yards and a touchdown. His first touchdown of the season, which in the grand scheme did not mean a lot for this game but it did for the confidence of both Fitzgerald and Rosen. After two pick-six interceptions in the first quarter due to receivers short arming catch attempts rather than getting hit, Rosen now knows why he needs to trust Larry over the likes of J.J. Nelson and Christian Kirk. No one with the exception of Jerry Rice has ever been as sure-handed in the NFL as Larry Fitzgerald and if Arizona wants Rosen to grow into their quarterback of the future, he needs to learn with the best receiver of the last 20 seasons.
It is clear the Cardinals are not a playoff caliber team and in fact not even a team likely to finish with anything close to a winning record. But with Fitzgerald in the fold for another half season before his likely retirement and walk into the Hall of Fame, the smart thing is to get him involved as much as possible in this offense. Currently having fewer targets than a player like Antonio Calloway and only having 26 receptions through seven games the Cardinals need to pelt him with targets the rest of the season. They need to throw him the ball more than Kobe Bryant or Carmelo Anthony shot the ball. This means a lot.
With the lack of weapons on Arizona, both offensively and defensively the store should be open for great second halves from Both Johnson and Fitzgerald and if this is the case. Well, their draft price is finally going to pay off for you.