Larry Fitzgerald: Cardinals need WR help
Larry Fitzgerald got his lucrative contract extension this past offseason. And he got a new quarterback to lead Arizona’s offense.
Now, Fitzgerald wants some help at wide receiver. In an interview with the Arizona Republic earlier this week, Fitzgerald fondly reminisced about the days when he had some more help around him.
“Here’s the one small thing that everyone forgets about when Kurt (Warner) was here,” Fitzgerald said. “We had this other guy, what was his name? Oh, yeah. Anquan Boldin. I think he made a couple Pro Bowls or something. He was a decent player around these parts. I wasn’t here by myself. I had some talented guys around me. …
“Right now, teams are saying, ‘Fitzgerald is over here, we’re not going to let him beat us. We’re going to do whatever it takes to hold him down and not allow him to do that.’ “
Fitzgerald added that “even last year with Steve (Breaston)” things were better for him and the Cardinals’ offense as a whole.
Arizona’s superstar wide receiver may have a point — other than tight end Todd Heap, who’s yet to break out this season, the rest of Arizona’s receiving corps is far from intimidating. Early Doucet and Andre Roberts have seen the majority of looks when the ball’s not headed Fitzgerald’s way, and neither is a Boldin-level threat for opposing defenses at the moment.
In their six years together, Fitzgerald and Boldin averaged a total of 168 catches per year and developed into one of the NFL’s most feared receiving duos. Fitzgerald is still on pace for 87 catches and more than 1,000 yards this season, but Arizona’s offense has had issues putting points on the board during the team’s 1-4 start.
All that said …
It kind of feels like Fitzgerald threw his teammates under the bus a bit here. I’m positive he didn’t mean what he said to come across as bashing the rest of the team’s wide receivers, but that seems to be the end result.
While no one on the team carries Boldin’s credentials, the numbers produced by Doucet and Roberts have been at least adequate.
Fitzgerald is the face of this Arizona franchise, a fact reinforced by the eight-year, $128.5 million deal he was handed in August. At 28, Fitzgerald should still have several strong years left in the tank, meaning the Cardinals can continue to build around him.
But shouldn’t he take some responsibility for making the other players around him better at that price? If he’s going to make $16 million a year, there’s not a lot of money left in the bank for another star receiver.
And it’s hard to blame Doucet or Roberts for the offense’s lack of production thus far. Any frustration that is there should be aimed at Arizona’s failure to go out and pick up a wide receiver this summer — several viable options hit the market, either as free agents or trade bait. The Cardinals opted to ride with Fitzgerald and the rest of what was around.
They also brought in Kevin Kolb via trade to take over as the team’s quarterback, after 2010 fell apart amidst a plethora of issues as the QB spot.
Could the offense still use another player or two? No question, from the offensive line to the running backs to the receivers, there are spots Arizona could upgrade.
It just seems unfair for Fitzgerald to suggest his teammates are dragging him down, especially given the fact that he’s supposed to be the leader of this team, on and off the field.