Arizona Cardinals: Reflecting On Larry Fitzgerald’s Career


Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be going into his 12th NFL season in 2015

What a career it has been so far and it isn’t over.  Not even close.  Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald will be turning 32 two weeks before the start of the 2015 season.  As a receiver that should mean he has at least two or three decent years left.  The Arizona Cardinals realize that.

Fitz was given a new contract this offseason that will pay him at least $11 million guaranteed over the next two seasons.  Some felt that this was overpayment.  Maybe so but it was a reflection of both what the Cardinals valued in him for the past and what they think he can still offer them in the future.

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Yes, we all know he had the fewest receptions in his career in 2014 with 57.  He had just two touchdowns, although one of them was a long 80-yard catch and run.  He had 722 yards receiving, also a career-low.  He only played in 14 games though as well.  It was only the second time in his career he failed to play in all 16 regular season games.

His move to being a slot receiver when head coach Bruce Arians arrived didn’t come without some trepidation.  Fitz was used to being on the outside all of the time.  However Fitz was still Fitz.  Put the ball in his area and he’ll be sure to come down with it more times than not.  He can still leap with the best of them.  He may have lost a step or so on his speed but his hands and ability are the same.

Of course it also helps to have a quarterback.  When he started in 2004, his starting quarterback was Josh McCown.  Then came along Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart.  Warner retired after the 2009 season and Leinart was cut in the 2010 preseason.  There was the debacle of Max Hall, Derek Anderson, and John Skelton and then a year later Kevin Kolb.  Fitz finally got a decent quarterback again in 2013 with Carson Palmer.

There was talk throughout the 2014 preseason and regular season that Fitz might be cut or traded because of his contract situation and if there was a time to get value in return, 2014 was the time to make the move.  I never felt that way but even some of the more die-hard Cardinals fans did.  Stay the course I told them and stay the course the Cardinals did.

Fitz had 82 receptions for 854 yards in Arians first season in Arizona in 2013.  What was the most impressive though was his 10 touchdowns.  It was the first double-digit touchdown season for Fitz since the 2009 season, Warner’s last.  So Fitz can succeed in the system.  What he needs is to be healthy.  He needs a healthy quarterback in Carson Palmer and he needs to fully embrace his role with the team.  He’ll get his outside shots but being a slot receiver is who is he now and there is no reason he can’t get back to his 80 receptions and his 800-1000 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Fitz isn’t giving up so we shouldn’t give up on him.

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