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Arians: Cardinals won't force ball to Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald needed a diving fourth-quarter catch in the Arizona Cardinals18-17 Monday night victory to extend his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 150.

Much to the displeasure of Fitzgerald's father, coach Bruce Arians has no plans to ensure that the greatest wide receiver in franchise history will be emphasized in the aerial attack going forward.

"You have to ask the quarterback," Arians said Tuesday, via the team's official website. "(Larry) is going out for a pass every time. I don't look at that. We don't design plays for guys to get the ball. That's interceptions waiting to happen."

Although the Chargers often shaded a safety over the top, Arians did acknowledge that there were opportunities to get Fitzgerald the ball only to see Carson Palmer target a different receiver.

"But I'm not interested in anybody's numbers other than the 'Ws,' " Arians said. "Those days are long gone."

Palmer explained that he "learned some lessons" early last season about taking too many ill-advised risks by forcing the ball to his No. 1 receiver.

"You want to get him involved, but it can bite you in the butt," Palmer explained. "We weren't going to do that (Monday night)."

Whereas former Lions receiver Nate Burleson said on NFL Total Access Tuesday that Calvin Johnson can get open regardless of game-planning and double or triple coverage, Palmer's actions and Arians' attitude tell us Fitzgerald is no longer at that level, even after showing flashes of his old run-after-catch explosiveness in the preseason.

If the Cardinals continue to highlight talented young receivers such as Michael Floyd and John Brown at the expense of Fitzgerald's production, don't be surprised if the potential Hall of Famer explores his market in 2015.

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