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Early Doucet may lose his job to rookie Michael Floyd soon.
The Player: Early Doucet
Fifth-year receiver Early Doucet has been largely a disappointment throughout his career.
At first, he could not contribute because of health issues. Once he got over the injury bug, he started dropping passes.
This season he cannot get open. Of the 98 passing plays of which he has been a part, Doucet has been targeted only 15 times—a 15.3 target percentage. That is down from 19.3 percent last season (89 targets on 460 pass-plays).
Dropping passes also hurts. Doucet dropped a sure touchdown last week against the Eagles. Kolb went to rookie Michael Floyd on the very next play, a pass that was juggled off a deflection and eventually caught for the first touchdown—and first catch—of his career.
Floyd followed that up with four catches for 35 yards against Miami the next week. With Floyd's production trending upward, Doucet could be facing a demotion to No. 4 receiver soon.
The Unit: Offensive Line
As a whole, the offensive line has been below average. Right tackle Bobby Massie, forced into the lineup after the Levi Brown injury and subsequent switching of D’Anthony Batiste from right to left tackle, has had a mixed bag of a rookie season.
Where the line play really comes down, however, is the aforementioned Batiste.
No tackle in football has a worse rating than Batiste, according to ProFootballFocus (paid information). Before Week 4, Batiste had allowed the most sacks of any offensive lineman to date. That dishonor now belongs to Massie, who was taken to school by Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake to the tune of 4.5 sacks.
He allowed five on the day, bringing his total to seven for the season—two more than Batiste’s five.
The group has allowed the third most sacks overall (14), the second most total pressures (61) and the most QB hurries (41).
The patch-work left tackle may hold for now, but it may not hold long. If Batiste does not get it together, the coaching staff should consider replacing him. Perhaps give rookie Nate Potter a shot—he cannot possibly do any worse.
The Play: Kevin Kolb intercepted by Sean Smith, touchback
Opponent: Miami Dolphins
Situation: 2nd-and-goal, fourth quarter, 7:25 remaining (clock running)
Twenty-two real-time minutes prior to Kolb making the throw of the first quarter of games, he made the worst throwing decision of his career. Protecting a one-point lead on Miami’s goal line, coordinator Mike Miller called what essentially was an old play out of Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense.
The play is called “Sprint Right Option.”
On this play, the Cardinals featured a “heavy” formation, with three tight ends packed in tight on the line, Fitzgerald lined up with a hand in the dirt next to tight end/long snapper Mike Leach to Kolb’s left and running back Ryan Williams lined up behind Kolb, who was under center.
Kolb sent Fitzgerald in motion from left to right, and upon Fitz getting to the end of the line (TE Rob Housler) hiked the ball.
Fitzgerald ran along the goal line toward the near pylon as Kolb rolled right—as per the design of the play—in an attempt to find him open. Fitz was not open.
After CB Sean Smith shoved Fitzgerald out of the end zone (a play No. 11 would later explain as being legal, according Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com), Kolb threw the ball anyway. Smith caught the ball and did his best toe-tap along the sideline, just getting both feet inbounds.
The play nearly cost Arizona a win, as on the next play, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill hit receiver Brian Hartline streaking across the secondary on an 80-yard catch-and-run for a go-ahead touchdown.
Then Kolb completely redeemed himself by providing the play of the 2012 season’s first quarter.