On Sunday, the Eagles will face one of their biggest nemeses at the wide receiver position. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has done a lot of damage to the Eagles in a relatively short amount of time. In just four career regular season games against the Eagles, Fitzgerald has racked up 418 yards and 6 touchdowns, and those numbers don't include the 2008 NFC Championship Game in which the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver caught nine passes for 152 yards and had three touchdowns … by halftime.
This time around, the Eagles secondary is made up of new faces, including cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, who both have prior experience lining up against Fitzgerald.
"You just have to play the ball," said Fletcher, who faced off with the 6-foot-3, 225-pound receiver many times as a member of the Cardinals' division rival St. Louis Rams. "You can't wait for him to make plays. When the ball is in the air, you have to be aggressive."
"I think that Larry is a great player," Williams said. "I think he's proven that over the years. He's going to make some catches and make some plays, but I feel like I'm going to make some plays as well. So as far as I'm concerned, I'm not backing down from the guy. I think he's a tremendous player.
"We played before in years past and I boded pretty well, but at the end of the day this is a new year and a new season, and he's a new guy. … As far as I'm concerned, I'm just going to go out there and play my defense the way that I've been playing and play within the confines of the defense and do what coach asks me to do. I'm not going to get overly aggressive. I'm going to play within my game."
The Eagles typically keep their corners on the same side of the field for the whole game, so the task of containing Arizona's playmaking wideout will be a team effort.
"Fitzgerald lines up in a lot of different spots," said Fletcher. "He can be in the slot or he can be outside to the left or to the right. We just have to play our defensive scheme and then go play the ball when it's in the air. … We're all going to see him at some point during the game, so we just have to be at the top of our games."
Where Fitzgerald will lineup on the field remains a mystery, but one thing is for certain - the Eagles corners will be more than ready to play against one of the game's best.
"As a defensive back, you enjoy this challenge," said Fletcher. "That's what you want. You want to play the best and that's what we look forward to."
"That's the great part about this game," Williams agreed. "You get two competitors going at it and fighting and scrapping for every inch."