Larry Fitzgerald is the all-time greatest Arizona Cardinal, a 10-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who, at age 34, won last week’s game against the 49ers with a touchdown catch in overtime, for a team that never led.
The Eagles don’t need an introduction. They’ve seen Fitzgerald eight times in the regular season, once in the NFC championship game. In those eight regular-season meetings, he has 50 receptions for 835 yards and 11 touchdowns, which seems remarkable but is pretty much what Fitzgerald does against everybody. His first catch this Sunday at the Linc will extend his streak to 200 games in a row without being shut out.
But to Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, a frequent adversary, the gaudy stats aren’t what stands out about a player who punched his Hall of Fame ticket years ago and just kept playing.
“He’s still doing the small things, the humble things, like blocking – not only DBs, but linebackers, D-ends, he does that and he does it well,” Jenkins said Thursday.
“He’s fun to watch. I’ve watched him since he was at Pitt. He’s a friend of mine, and he’s had a great career,” Jenkins said. “That’s one of the matchups I look forward to. … I’ve known him since I came into the league, we’ve trained together.”
Patrick Robinson has been very solid as the Eagles’ nickel corner, so it’s hard to say how much of Fitzgerald that Jenkins will see this week. But the Cards often use four receivers, which definitely could bring Jenkins into play.
For Fitzgerald to beat the Eagles, though, Carson Palmer has to be able to get him the ball. That’s the pivotal matchup of the day, the Eagles’ pass rush against an offensive line that has allowed Palmer to be sacked an NFL-high 17 times. The Giants were in a similar situation when they came to town two weeks ago and they solved it by having Eli Manning throw almost as he was taking the snap from center. That isn’t the way Arizona coach Bruce Arians generally likes his offense to operate.
“They haven’t shown [that they like] throwing three-step; they have a little bit of it, but they like taking shots down the field,” Jenkins said. “That’s just how they always have been. … I don’t see this being one of those games like the Giants, where the ball was just out quick.”
Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (heel) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday, but there was no sign of Fletcher Cox, who seems likely to miss another game with his strained calf … Both of Arizona’s victories this season have come in overtime.