In order to effectively shut down a great receiver like Larry Fitzgerald, the Packers will need to be able to handle the other notable receiver on the team, Andre Roberts, in one on one coverage The good news is that Casey Hayward looks up for the job.
This probably is not the WR vs CB that many are expecting to kick us off with key match ups. Many are probably expecting a nice piece on a good to great corner in Tramon Williams take on a great to legendary wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald. Well Fitzgerald is a guy who can make the Packers pay and shutting him down is important, but more important to the game and the offense will be how the guy on the other side of the formation can take care of business. The Packers know how to take care of business when an offense has one elite receiver. If you doubt that statement go back and watch the tape on Week 2 against the Bears.
To beat this Packer defense the Cardinals are going to need a big day from Andre Roberts. Roberts is putting together a solid year so far, and making defenses pay for all the attention they give Fitzgerald. Currently, Roberts has 454 yards receiving on the year which lands him at 30th in the league. The only Packers who have more yards than him are Jordy Nelson (532) and Randall Cobb (463). Now in his third year, Roberts looks to be putting things together and providing an option for whoever the Cardinals quarterback is that is not the legendary one.
The man primarily responsible to make sure that does not happen is Casey Hayward. Hayward has been the breakout start of the Packers’ rookie class this year. Currently he leads the team with four interceptions and has firmly joined the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The strongest part of his game are his ball skills, as evidenced by his interception total, but what has Packer fans so excited are his instincts and ability to tackle. Hayward has appeared to be the real deal so far this year and is a major reason why the Packers should have a deep and talented secondary for years to come.
It stands to reason that if the Packers go into man to man coverage, there stands a good possibility that Hayward will draw Roberts. If Hayward can win this battle and make plays happen then it can only mean trouble for a struggling Cardinal offense…one looking for anyone to take some of the burden off of Fitzgerald.