With the Desert Duo, It's Better to Receive

Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin provide Arizona with the best 1-2 punch at receiver that league has to offer. However, the loss of Bryant Johnson as a free agent leaves no proven third receiver. AZRedReport.com's James Jones discusses who can best fill the open slot and how the Cardinals compare to the rest of the West.

It is believed that an offense which boasts two top-flight wide receivers shouldn't have reason for concern. This is not the case though in Arizona, however, where Pro Bowlers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have little proven depth behind them.

Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers in the league, and his numbers since coming into the league reflect that belief. He has posted 330 catches for 4,544 yards and 34 touchdowns since breaking onto the scene in 2004.

Boldin hasn't been far behind, catching 413 passes for 5,458 yards and 29 scores in his five seasons. Both bring amazing talents to the table, with Boldin having the innate ability to get yards after the catch and Fitzgerald being able to go up and catch passes over smaller defenders.

Losing Bryant Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers via free agency could be more of a hindrance to the offensive cohesiveness than many pundits think. Johnson brought size and speed that the Cardinals will be hard-pressed to replace.

WR Steve Breaston
Otto Greule Jr.

Second-year man Steve Breaston only caught eight balls for 92 yards and no touchdowns in 2007, yet he is being hailed as the front-runner for the slot receiver job after a magnificent mini camp.

Early Doucet was drafted in the third round of this year's draft and with good size (6'0", 211 pounds) and strong hands, so he could make some noise as the offseason progresses. He posted 57 catches for 525 yards and five scores last season at LSU.

Doucet recently ranked No. 24 on Chris Steuber's Rookie Power Rankings, the only Cardinal to make the list.

Ahmad Merritt and Sean Morrey should fight for playing time in training camp and should see some action in four- and five-receiver sets this season.

The Rest of the West

Fitzgerald and Boldin tilt the NFC West receiver race heavily in Arizona's favor, as no other team in the division has two starters who can compare with the numbers they've posted.

The Seattle Seahawks come in second in the competitive division with Bobby Engram, Deion Branch and Nate Burleson catching passes from Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The trio combined for 193 catches, 2,502 yards and 19 touchdowns last year.

San Francisco has many questions at the receiver position as it tries and integrate two new starters and a new system under coordinator Mike Martz. Isaac Bruce knows the system inside and out and will be called upon to be a coach on the field. Bryant Johnson could prove to be a steal if he can assimilate quickly.

The St. Louis Rams still have Torry Holt. With his 1,189 yards receiving and seven scores in 2007, he should be stellar again this season. Drew Bennett and Reche Caldwell will round of the top three.

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