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An All-Time Great, Redskins Preparing For Larry Fitzgerald's Best

Posted Dec 14, 2017

While he's been putting up Hall of Fame worthy numbers for years now, 34-year-old Larry Fitzgerald continues to be one of the league's best wide receivers for a variety of reasons.

While he's been putting up Hall of Fame worthy numbers for years now, 34-year-old Larry Fitzgerald continues to be one of the league's best wide receivers for a variety of reasons.

While Larry Fitzgerald is currently the oldest wide receiver the NFL, the 34-year-old doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Entering Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins at Landover, Md., the long-time Arizona Cardinals star is just 88 receiving yards away from his third consecutive 1,000-yard campaign. And once he hits the mark, it’ll be the ninth time he’s toppled it. Only three players have achieved that feat: Jerry Rice, Tim Brown and Jimmy Smith.

Additionally, he’s creeping up on Terrell Owens for the second most receiving yards in NFL history while ranking in the top 10 in both receptions and receiving yards as well.

Those number prove that Fitzgerald is a player that the Redskins can’t take lightly.

“You’ve got to match physicality with him,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. “He’s a big, strong guy and if he gets his hands on you, if you’re a little defensive back, you better be ready because he’s… and if you’re a linebacker, he blocks linebackers and defensive ends, so he’s just a guy you’ve got to match physicality with. He’s a very big guy.”

With Arizona having to overcome injuries to starting quarterback Carson Palmer, star running back David Johnson and a majority of the offensive line, the Cardinals have run the offense through Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald has 60 more receptions and nearly 500 more receiving yards than anyone else on Arizona’s roster.

“Having Larry, that’s the truth out there, definitely [closes] them up,” said cornerback Kendall Fuller, referring to the fact Fitzgerald’s skillset slightly varies from Arizona’s speedy receiving threats. “He’s still doing good at the same time, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge.”

And despite the fact that Fitzgerald is now working with Blaine Gabbert after he replaced Drew Stanton in the lineup for the injured Palmer, his timing in the passing game hasn’t missed a beat.  

“The quarterback trusts him and he knows where he’s going to be,” said defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. “He knows exactly where to run the routes and then from a leverage standpoint, he does a great job of setting players up. Larry does a great job. We’ve got to defend him along with the other receivers and tight ends that they have.”

Fitzgerald’s production goes beyond just his Hall of Fame receiving abilities, as the 2004 No. 3-overall pick ranks among the best blocking wide receivers Gruden has ever seen.

“He goes in there, he blocks defensive ends, he blocks linebackers – very physical,” Gruden said. “It’s just great when you see a Hall of Fame-type player like that put that kind of work in in the blocking when he doesn’t have the ball. I think that’s the most impressive thing, personally, about Larry. Aside from all the stats, he’s a very unselfish player and a very physical player in the running game.

“He obviously paved the way for a lot of yards for Chris Johnson when they had him and David Johnson when they had him and [Kerwynn] Williams they’ve got now, so he’s a big reason for their running game success.”

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