Fitzgerald before Boldin for Cardinals' Warner

November, 7, 2009
11/07/09
12:10
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kurt Warner has had much more success finding Larry Fitzgerald on early downs, with Anquan Boldin emerging on third down and Steve Breaston's effectiveness transcending all downs.

The charts, produced by Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Stats & Information, break down Warner's passer ratings by receiver and situation. The first chart isolates first and second downs.
Kurt Warner's passer rating differential by receiver on first and second downs
Receiver Times targeted Passer Rating Rating to other receivers
Differential
Jason Wright
3 128.5 85.6 +42.9
Larry Fitzgerald
53 109.5 82.2 +27.3
Ben Patrick
5 100.8 88.8 +12.0
Steve Breaston
31 99.1 87.4 +11.7
Tim Hightower
28 96.0 87.0 +9.0
Anthony Becht
6 85.4 89.3 -3.8
Stephen Spach
4 81.3 89.3 -8.0
Jerheme Urban
16 77.6 89.8 -12.2
Anquan Boldin
43 74.2 93.0 -18.9
LaRod Stephens-Howling
4 66.7 89.6 -22.9
Dan Kreider
3 42.4 89.9 -47.6
Chris Wells
5 41.3 91.3 -50.1

The second chart isolates third down. Warner's rating when throwing to Boldin jumps from 74.2 on early downs to 103.0 on third down. His rating when throwing to Fitzgerald drops from 109.5 on early downs to 32.7 on third down.
Kurt Warner's passer rating differential by receiver on third down
Receiver Times targeted Passer Rating Rating to other receivers
Differential
Steve Breaston
7 108.3 61.0 +47.3
Anquan Boldin
13 103.0 58.1 +44.9
Ben Patrick
2 95.8 62.1 +33.7
Anthony Becht
1 95.8 65.7 +30.2
LaRod Stephens-Howling
3 88.9 62.2 +26.7
Tim Hightower
18 84.0 60.3 +23.7
Sean Morey
1 39.6 67.3 -27.7
Lance Long
1 39.6 67.3 -27.7
Larry Fitzgerald
14 32.7 74.6 -41.9
Jerheme Urban
9 4.6 76.3 -71.6
Stephen Spach
2 0.0 74.2 -74.2

Breaston's role in the offense probably deserves more scrutiny. Warner probably throws to Breaston mostly when Fitzgerald and Boldin do not present superior options. I think that explains why Breaston catches a higher percentage of the passes thrown his way. Perhaps he needs to be a higher-percentage play for Warner to consider throwing to him.

The difficulties Warner has had finding Fitzgerald in obvious passing situations -- analyzed here, here and here -- would be most apparent on third down.

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