Larry Fitzgerald Listed As Questionable, Mathieu And Ellington Ruled Out vs. Kansas City Chiefs


By all indications, when the Kansas City Chiefs clash helmets with the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday, the hosts will be limping into University of Phoenix Stadium.

Per team reporter Darren Urban, the hosts will be without halfback Andre Ellington, free safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive end Ed Stinson and right guard Paul Fanaika.

Furthermore, Bruce Arians added that Larry Fitzgerald’s status is a game-time decision, as the Pro Bowler recovers from a sprained MCL.

Fitzgerald told ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss that he feels good, saying:

"Been able to do everything the last two days. Great to be back in the huddle with the guys and getting the plays and running the routes. It’s been nice."

The club’s injury report also lists left tackle Jared Veldheer and inside linebacker Larry Foote as questionable.

So, what does it all mean?

Obviously, in regard to Arizona’s offense, Fitzgerald is still the straw that stirs the drink. While he has only netted two touchdowns this year, his 14.3 yards per catch currently rank as the third-highest average of his decorated career.

According to Weinfuss, Fitzgerald claims he’s “highly likely” to play on Sunday. However, he stated the same last week before being sidelined.

Considering that Arizona finds itself clinging to a potential first-round bye, though, Fitzgerald’s words will (highly) likely ring true this Sunday.

Veldheer is one the league’s most well-rounded tackles. He’s a 6’8”, 321-pound bulldozer in the ground game and has allowed just one sack throughout 2014. You can count on him suiting up.

Foote is a 13-year veteran playing like a 13-year veteran. Entering Week 14, Pro Football Focus ranks him No. 117 of 120 inside linebackers. Fans probably won’t be keeping tabs on his health.

Tony Jefferson will fill in for Mathieu, who, in his second year, has already become one of the league’s more dynamic defensive playmakers. Throughout 2014, Jefferson and starter Rashad Johnson have both struggled in coverage. The latter has, up to this point, allowed 18.2 yards per reception, and opposing quarterbacks have tallied a 125 cumulative passer rating versus the former.

But make no mistake, Jefferson isn’t a stranger to the field, logging over 100 more snaps (493 total) than Mathieu this season.

Ellington, whose 5.5 yards per carry led the league last season, has fallen victim to a sophomore slump, averaging a meager 3.3 yards per handoff in 2014. Coincidentally, the man who will replace him, rookie Stepfan Taylor, currently totes the same average.

Fanaika’s absence means that 2013’s No. 7 overall pick, Jonathan Cooper—the highest-selected guard since 2001, when three-time Pro Bowler Leonard Davis was also plucked by the Cardinals—will make his first professional start. Cooper, who has played just 50 snaps this season, will take over at left guard—a spot normally anchored by Ted Larsen, who will now swing to the right side, per Weinfuss.

Despite Arizona’s 9-3 record, there’s no reason why Kansas City shouldn’t snap its two-game losing streak come Sunday.

Statistics provided by Pro Football Focus (subscription required).