After watching the Thursday Night debacle, it is clear that the now 4-1 Arizona Cardinals have some issues to address in order to be a serious Super Bowl contender. Obviously the offensive line (specifically the tackles) and the lack of running game (which is not mutually exclusive) are serious issues. Analysts, former players and even Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt have done a good job describing those issues. But, there are some smaller issues that have been swept away that could have changed the Cardinals fortunes on Thursday.
The 4th wide receiver spot is currently occupied by this year’s 1st round draft pick, Michael Floyd. Floyd was drafted 13th overall out of Notre Dame. Floyd has six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown in the first five games this season. The catches are not the issue, the drops are. Floyd dropped a deep pass early in the Miami game and dropped a first down pass in the Rams game that hit him between the 1 and 5 that forced a punt. There is little doubt that Floyd is talented and will be a good player in the future, but he does not deserve to be on the field against the Bills next week.
The receiver who should take Floyd’s spot is LaRon Byrd. Byrd, the undrafted rookie out of Miami, led all Cardinals pass catchers in the preseason with 12 receptions and had the 2nd most receiving yards with 148. Byrd displayed good hands and toughness during the preseason. He did damage in the middle of the field while absorbing big hits. Byrd took some hard shots throughout the preseason but always got up and held on to the football. Byrd has been inactive every game so far this season.
Floyd is an extremely talented receiver who the Cardinals hope develops into a number two receiver opposite of Larry Fitzgerald for years to come. Despite those expectations, Byrd gives the Cardinals a better chance to win next week at University of Phoenix Stadium against the Buffalo Bills.