FOXBORO (CBS) – When the Patriots face the Arizona Cardinals this weekend, it seems that one of Bill Belichick’s favorite players will be on the field and playing for the other team. Larry Fitzgerald is a spectacular wide receiver. He’s one of those guys that even when you have him covered, he’s not really covered. The 29-year-old has been to the Pro Bowl six times and this Sunday he will give the Pats everything they can handle. Bill Belichick went on the other day about items in Larry’s game that makes him special.
“He does everything well. Great, great receiver. He’ll go down as one of the all-time greats, and might end up being the best one ever, I don’t know,” Belichick said. “Size, quickness, ability to separate and get open, exceptional hands. He’s good short, deep, with the ball in his hands, after the catch, strong, very smart, sets up his routes well. They move him around, they put him in a lot of different spots, it’s hard to even find him, you have no idea where he’s going to line up from play-to-play, and he has a very big route tree. He runs all the routes, double moves off of them, complimentary moves, so one route sets up another. It’s very hard to defend him, it’s very hard to find him, and then it’s very hard to defend him. Again, he’s just as dangerous going down the field as he is taking a shorter pass and running with it. That’s not really the answer either, just to let him catch it in front of you and not give up any big plays, because he can make plays there too. Try to keep the ball out of his hands, but that’s not easy.”
Bill Belichick has so much to say about the Cardinals, you get the feeling they are the best team the Pats have played in a long time. Here’s the deal with Arizona, individually they have some of the best players in the NFL at positions. It’s just recently that they have been able to put everything together as a team. They have won 8 of the last 10 and this Sunday they come into Foxboro to improve. Here’s some items coach had to say about the upcoming game.
Thoughts about the Cardinals
“They’re very, very good in the kicking game. They block a lot of kicks, they’re dangerous returning them. They’re a very good special teams unit that we’ve got to worry about every time they come on the field. … Defensively, they’re a very good red area team, which showed up against Seattle. They made a stop at the end of the game there to win it. Getting ready for both quarterbacks. Those guys are different, but both very capable. The tight end Todd Heaps, we’ve had plenty of problems with him through the years. Very good running backs.”
On Cardinals’ cornerback Patrick Peterson
“Very dangerous on punt returns, that goes without saying. Big guy, has good length, good speed. Hard guy to throw over in the secondary, excellent ball skills. If he gets his hands on the ball, you’re looking at a lot of trouble. Not just interceptions, but he’ll probably run it back for touchdowns too if you let him punt return. He and [safety Adrian] Wilson are two outstanding players back there, of course Kerry Rhodes, William Gay, and Jamell Fleming, those guys, it’s a good group. But Peterson, he’s got exceptional ability, exceptional size for the position, real good ball skills.”