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elaine95 Offline

Beiträge: 112

02.09.2019 09:06
The Raiders made a midseason switch again Antworten

TEMPE Jordan Scarlett Jersey , Ariz. (AP)Larry Fitzgerald might well be the most popular athlete in the history of the state of Arizona. The wide receiver’s resume is packed with Hall of Fame-caliber statistics accumulated over 14 seasons with the Cardinals team that drafted him third overall in 2004. Add to that his easy-going personality combined with a remarkable durability – he’s missed six games of his 224 since joining the league – and off-the-field contributions. A year ago, Fitzgerald and the Giants’ Eli Manning shared the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. And impressively, at age 34, he’s still playing at a high level, all while staying mum on whether he will return for another season. Last week, he said he would take some time off when the season ends to figure it out. His uncertainty matches big questions with other Cardinals, including whether coach Bruce Arians will stick around for a sixth season, and whether quarterback Carson Palmer will be back with a mended broken arm at age 38. Fitzgerald found it pointless to speculate. ”What happens after Sunday moving forward, none of us can control that on Thursday,” he said. ”We just need to focus on the things that we can control.” He resisted talking about what might happen to the organization once the season ends. ”I personally have no control over 98 percent of the stuff,” Fitzgerald said. ”All I have control over is what I decide to do and that’s not really that big of a deal. There’s a lot of other decisions that are going to be made and choices, and none of that has anything to do with me, to be honest with you. ”So I just try to stay in the moment. I said it on Sunday, just trying to stay in the moment all the time and get yourself ready to play.” Fans would argue that Fitzgerald’s impending decision is a very big deal. No. 11 jerseys far outnumber any other when Arizona’s ”Red Sea” of fans gathers at University of Phoenix Stadium. When he caught a TD pass to cap a big day last Sunday against the Giants, the crowd chanted ”Lar-ry, Lar-ry, Lar-ry!” Fitzgerald has shattered nearly every franchise receiving record and has caught a pass in 210 consecutive games Greedy Williams Jersey , third longest in NFL history. He ranks third all-time (behind Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens) in yards receiving and third (behind Rice and Tony Gonzalez) in receptions. He has had 17 quarterbacks complete a pass to him for a franchise that has often lacked stability let alone excellence at the position, except for his time with new Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and Palmer. Fitzgerald enters Saturday’s season finale tied with Antonio Brown (now injured) with 101 receptions, two fewer than league leader Jarvis Landry. Fitzgerald has 1,101 yards receiving – the ninth, and third straight, time he has topped 1,000 yards in a season. He’s been selected to the Pro Bowl for the 11th time. He led the league last year with 107 receptions and had a career-best 109 in 2015 – all after he was switched from wideout to slot receiver when coach Arians arrived. ”Pretty much the norm,” Arians said. ”He comes in great shape, he catches a hundred passes and gains a thousand yards.” Fitzgerald credited a switch in emphasis to a short, intermediate passing game. ”I just think I’m reaping the benefit of that change,” he said. And it’s no coincidence the big numbers coincided with the decision to move Fitzgerald to the slot. That’s a rough job, including blocking, but it opened the way for more one-on-one coverage and other opportunities. Fitzgerald accepted it, worked hard at it and eventually excelled. ”Yeah, it was a decision for him to leave playing what he had played and was very comfortable doing,” Arians said, ”and just trusting that , `Hey, it’s going to work out, and you’re going to catch a whole lot more balls this way.”’ What’s not known is how seriously Fitzgerald is considering hanging it up after 15 seasons. He has a one-year contract, which means if he does play it will be for Arizona. But he has not said whether he will step away from the game instead. So there’s a chance this could be his last one. It’s on to Seattle for what Fitzgerald said is ”hands down” his favorite road game. ”I’ve been looking back through all the years. I’ve never played (in) Seattle before Thanksgiving before,” he said. ”It’s always late season, cold, dreary, rainy, loud, miserable game. So I wouldn’t expect it any other way.” — NAPA, Calif. (AP) — Marquel Lee wasn’t quite ready to end the revolving door at middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders when he was thrown into the starting lineup to start his rookie season last year.With a year of experience and a defensive scheme that better suits his game, Lee is doing his best to seize that role this season even after the Raiders brought in veteran Derrick Johnson to be the likely starter.Lee has spent most of training camp as Oakland’s middle linebacker in the base defense and was one of the team’s best defensive players in the exhibition opener last week against Detroit when he had three solo tackles and two assists in just 15 snaps.“There is a guy that really stepped up,” coach Jon Gruden said. “He had a great game. He’s physical. I think he’s more and more of a complete linebacker. He’s getting more comfortable in pass coverage. I think he’s a presence in the middle of our defense right now. It’s something that is not going unnoticed with his teammates and coaches.”Lee showed signs of being stout against the run when he started the first five games last year as a fifth-round draft pick. But he struggled in coverage and the Raiders brought in veteran NaVorro Bowman to take over as starter in Week 6 and Lee played only sparingly the rest of the way.But Lee looks like a different player in year two and Gruden said he sees the potential for him to become a three-down linebacker. Lee said he feels much more confident in coach Paul Guenther’s defense than he did last year when Ken Norton Jr. was coordinator.“I’m playing faster,” Lee said. “I’m seeing things faster and diagnosing things and playing with more instinct. I’m more comfortable in the defense. I know where I need to be, which allows me to fit the run well and just make plays.”The Raiders signed veteran Derrick Johnson in May with the thought of making him the starter but Lee has gotten more time so far in camp with Johnson playing a limited role in sub packages.Finding a middle linebacker has been difficult for Oakland in recent years.The Raiders drafted Rolando McClain in the first round in 2010 with hopes he would solidify that spot for years to come. But McClain lost his starting job midway through the 2012 season and the Raiders have been searching for a long-term answer ever since.Nick Roach filled that role in 2013 but then suffered a career-ending concussion the following preseason. Miles Burris took over in 2014 but wasn’t up to the task and the Raiders signed Curtis Lofton the following season.Lofton struggled in the passing game and wasn’t brought back the following season when Ben Heeney started the year as the starter before Perry Riley was brought in off the waiver wire midway through the year.The Raiders made a midseason switch again last year after Lee began the year as the starter. Bowman was signed after being released by San Francisco and finished the year as the starter.Oakland overhauled the position this offseason, signing Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur, who have been starting on the outside Ben Powers Jersey , as well as adding Johnson.Lamur played for Guenther in Cincinnati and has helped his teammates make the transition to a new system.“I feel like we’ve had a chance to grow as a core together, going through offseason workouts, and then summer workouts, and then into training camp,” Lee said. “Just being around each other all the time and stuff, grow as a core, we have each other’s backs out there. Also having Emmanuel, he’s been in the system for a long time, since he came out of college. He’s a great help. He knows the ins and outs, and if we have a question we go to him — or any of the guys — but Emmanuel for sure knows the ins and outs of this defense.”NOTES: CB Daryl Worley, WR Seth Roberts and WR Martavis Bryant all returned to practice. Bryant had missed two days with an illness. “We’re calling Martavis the ‘White Tiger,'” Gruden said. “Thirteen times I went to Busch Gardens. The white tiger was always in his cage. Well, the white tiger came out today. Bryant came out. I don’t know if you get that analogy, but sometimes he comes out to play and sometimes he doesn’t. It’s good to see because he’s really special like the white tiger.” … The Raiders claimed DT Gabe Wright off waivers from Miami and placed DT Ahtyba Rubin on injured reserve.

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