Murray is off to a terrific start as a rookie QB. It’s fair to wonder if he’d be in the same spot without Fitzgerald. The chemistry Fitzgerald and Murray share was apparent from the offseason and OTAs, and the relationship is already symbiotic.
Murray hung in long enough for Fitzgerald to eventually get deep on an inside wheel route in Baltimore, finally taking a hit on a play that resulted in a 40-yard sliding-catch-and-run. Fitzgerald, meanwhile, basically rescued Murray’s debut with a pair of spectacular diving catches against the Lions, each for more than 40 yards.
“I think every young quarterback needs a security blanket, him being that guy for me,” Murray said. “He knows what he’s seeing out there; he’s seen it a lot, and he can still run around. He can still run. Whether you think he can or not, he’s going to be there, so I can count on him.”
Linebacker Jordan Hicks, who with the Eagles had to prepare for Fitzgerald for a game in 2015, said a defense has to “pick and choose” with such a player. Now that he’s on the same team, Hicks can just enjoy the show.
“Sometimes you sit back and think, ‘He’s the GOAT,’ ” Hicks said. “What he’s doing right now, it’s spectacular. It’s cool to witness.”
There are other benefits for the Cardinals when Fitzgerald is producing often. Big plays generally are going to rev up an offense or a team or the State Farm Stadium crowd.
But when Fitzgerald does it, the equation changes.
“When a guy like Larry Fitzgerald makes the play and rises up the way he does, there’s almost something majestic about it that everybody goes, ‘Alright our guy is coming through, let’s go,’ ” said Panthers coach Ron Rivera, whose team faces the Cardinals Sunday. “That’s pretty special.”
It’s early in the season, but in only one season has Fitzgerald averaged more yards per catch than the 16.7 he is averaging through two games. With Kingsbury’s proclivity to four-receiver sets and the uptick in passing attempts from Murray, Fitzgerald is going to get opportunities – he’s been targeted 24 times in two games.
When it was suggested he might be getting open more often within the Kingsbury offense, Fitzgerald calmly but bluntly knocked it down.
“Not necessarily,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve been getting open all this time.”
The Cardinals are getting the message.
“ ‘Feed me, feed me,’ ” Raih repeats. “Hey, we’re trying, bud. We’re on board for that.”