Michael Floyd: What His Expanded Role Will Look Like in Arizona's Offense
According to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, rookie first-round pick Michael Floyd is headed for more on field work come Week 11. Over the course of the Cardinals bye week, head coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters that Floyd is headed for more work thanks in large part to his rapid improvement:
I think Michael has worked his way into playing more, Whisenhunt said after being asked about outsiders expecting Floyd to play more sooner. We’ve got some receivers who are playing pretty good in front of him. Andre’s got what? How many touchdowns? (Five). He’s playing pretty good. So what do you do, play him over Andre?
By Coach Whisenhunt's statement it's obvious that he will not play over Andre Roberts. However former LSU Tiger Early Doucet's snaps could severely take a hit. In 2011, Doucet was a staple to Arizona's offense—whenever quarterback John Skelton needed a third-down conversion, it always seemed like he was there.
Unfortunately for Doucet, his 2012 season has been plagued by self-inflicted wounds. He hasn't shown the ability to get open with any type of consistency, and his hands appear to be made of stone. Right now he has the same number of drops (eight) as he had all of last season.
Through nine games this season, Doucet has only caught 19 of 38 targets for 159 yards. Not to mention his longest catch of the season only netted the Cardinals offense 18 yards. Compare that to last year's numbers, and you realize he caught two passes last season that went for 60-plus yards.
So, it's safe to say Doucet's poor play coupled with Floyd's improvement has helped slide the rookie wide receiver into the rotation. Heading into Week 11 Floyd has logged a modest 275 snaps, yet over the last two games, he has played on 60.3 percent of Arizona's offensive snaps—easily his highest percentage over any two-game stretch.
When the Cardinals visited the Green Bay Packers, it marked the first time all season when Floyd's snaps eclipsed those of Doucet. When offensive coordinator Mike Miller called a play for three or more wideouts, Fitzgerald slid into the slot and Floyd would man the right wide receiver position.
Going forward this is what fans should expect to see—Roberts and Floyd on the outside with Fitz inside. Obviously this won't always be the case, but there's no question who is the most versatile receiver on the roster.
Even though Floyd hasn't been on the field as much as some of the other receiving targets, he still has 18 receptions for 207 yards and one touchdown. His lone touchdown reception came in his first career NFL game, Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
By digging deeper into his numbers you realize he actually draws a higher numbers of targets for someone who only plays 43.2 percent of the club's offensive stats. He draws at least one target forevery 6.9 pass routes he runs. Compare that to Roberts' one target for every 6.2 pass routes run, and you can see that plenty of balls are indeed thrown Floyd's way when he is in the game.
Fitzgerald draws at least one target every 4.7 pass routes run, but he also averages 10 targets a game. Something very few receivers in the league manage to do.
With an increased role over the final seven games there's no reason why Floyd couldn't get to 50 catches and five touchdowns. At 4-5, why shouldn't the Cards play the young guys. To make the playoffs in the NFC, Arizona would realistically only be able to lose one more game. And based on its current five-game losing streak, it's safe to say they are playing for the future.
The sky is the limit, as they say. Let's just see if the increased reps during the bye help Floyd take that next step.
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