Doucet Primed as Boldin's Replacement?

It's hard to make a name for yourself when you are sitting behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, just ask Early Doucet. But the former third-round pick is starting to earn his stripes and live up to his hype.

Wide receiver Early Doucet is starting to show why the Cardinals were excited to draft him in the third round in 2008.

In the last three games, Doucet has 12 receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

Those statistics are even more impressive when you consider that Doucet was inactive for the first seven games of the year.

Doucet has been hindered by injuries in training camp in both of his NFL seasons. In 2008, it was a hamstring injury. In 2009, it was a shoulder injury and fractured ribs.

That delayed his progress, and Jerheme Urban held on to the No. 3 slot.

But at mid-season this year, coaches moved Doucet ahead of Urban, perhaps in an effort to find out just what they had in Doucet.

Early Doucet
(Getty)

Anquan Boldin could very well be traded in the off-season, and the Cardinals needed to find out if Doucet had the ability to move into the rotation as one of the top three receivers.

Doucet has produced when healthy. At 6-feet, 212 pounds, Doucet runs well after the catch and is a physical blocker.

Those attributes come into play in the Cardinals' system, which requires receivers to block. The club also likes to throw screens to Doucet, who is strong enough to run through tackles.

Doucet had his best game as a pro in the 51-45 overtime playoff victory against the Packers on Sunday. Doucet moved into the No. 3 role, replacing Steve Breaston, who started in place of the injured Anquan Boldin.

"Early stepped in for ‘Q' and to play the way he played, the guy has a lot of ability," said wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. "I think we have just seen the tip of the iceberg for Early. Great things are coming from him."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The 96 points scored in the Cardinals-Packers game set an NFL record for the post-season. The previous record was 95, set by the Eagles in a 58-37 victory over the Lions in 1995.

--Kurt Warner took a lap around the University of Phoenix Stadium field after Sunday's playoff victory. He wasn't saying goodbye, but thank you, he said. Warner admitted he will consider retirement after the season, but cautioned that he hadn't made the decision yet.

"I never want to make an emotional decision," he said, "and I think it's easy to do, whether it's after a game like this, to say, ‘I'm going to play forever,' or after a bad game to say, ‘Ah, I'm done.'

"There is no question I continue to think about it and have thought about it over the last few years and will again this year. I don't think you want to stay too long, but you don't want to go out before it's time."

Warner is signed through 2010, and is due to make $4 million in salary and collect half of his signing bonus, $7.5 million.

--The Bills reportedly are interested in assistant head coach/offensive line Russ Grimm and have asked for permission to interview him. The Cardinals declined to confirm the report.

--In five post-season games the past two years, the Cardinals are plus-10 in turnover margin. They have committed only six and collected 16, including 10 interceptions.

--Kurt Warner now has 31 touchdown passes in the post-season, fourth on the all-time list. He has played in only 12 post-season games. Warner had just four incompletions in Sunday's game and had two streaks of 11 consecutive completions.


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