Receiver Showdown in the Desert

Andre Johnson (Getty Images)

Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson are regarded as the two best receivers in the NFL. They'll be on opposite sidelines at Arizona on Sunday.

"I don't cover him, and he won't cover me, but as a fan of the game, I love to watch other receivers play well but not against us," Johnson said. "He's a great player. What impresses me the most about him is that when the ball goes up, he comes down with it, and he still fights for a lot of yards. He's always thinking touchdown.

"When you look at, especially the playoff games from last year, you could just pretty much throw the ball up in the air to him, and he always finds a way to come down with it. He's the best in the league at doing that. He just attacks the ball."

Naturally, Fitzgerald is a Johnson fan.

"The thing I like about him best -- most people probably wouldn't get to say this, either, because they don't know him -- but he has a really quiet humility about him, quiet confidence, and it really makes you like him even more, the way he handles his business," Fitzgerald said. "I mean, he's had all the success somebody can ask for in the NFL, and he handles it with so much class. He's a beaming example of how to do it right in the NFL."

Cornerback Dunta Robinson will spend a lot of time covering Fitzgerald.

"I've never seen anything like what he did in the playoffs last season," Robinson said. "He was unbelievable. He just exploded. When (Kurt) Warner throws it, the ball comes out quick, and you have to look for it because you know he's (Fitzgerald) going for it, and he's determined to get it."

In nickel situations, the Texans will have four rookies on the field -- end Connor Barwin, linebacker Brian Cushing and cornerbacks Glover Quin and Brice McCain.

"I have to keep them focused," Robinson said. "I remind them that every day they go against the best (Johnson) in practice."

Johnson feels obligated to work as hard as he can in practice to help defensive backs like Quin and McCain.

"I try to do everything I can when I'm in practice to give them my best so that when they go out in games, they're going to get his (Fitzgerald's) best," Johnson said. "I just try to do what I can and help those guys also while trying to get myself better. You're not supposed to cut them any slack just because they're young. I treat them in practice just like I'm going against Dunta."

Johnson was asked who he thinks is the best receiver in the NFL. He hesitated a few seconds and smiled before answering.

"I feel like I'm better," he said. "I don't know what else you expect me to say."


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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