Fitz Tries Again




By Zack Cimini


At a point in your career as a superstar you’re able to voice your opinion to the front office with full range of clarity. If not, a superstar disgruntled on a losing team is a recipe for a bad mix. Chemistry clashes via pouting or underperforming. That can be said for many cornerstone athletes over the years. A few that pop up are the veterans in Terrell Owens and Randy Moss.


Franchises have suffered from this. Take the Cincinnati Bengals for example. Chad Ochocinco and Carson Palmer cried their ways out of Cincinnati. Before them it was Corey Dillon high displeasure with the Bengals that finally allowed him to exit to the Patriots.


Some superstar athletes just speak their mind. After Kurt Warner retired and the Cardinals lost free agent receiver Anquan Boldin, the Cardinals offense suffered immensely. Larry Fitzgerald who has likely been the top receiver in the NFL had to suffer through a year with a huge decline in talent around him. His quarterbacks bounced around from the likes of Derek Anderson to rookies in John Skelton and Max Hall. Receivers to thwart the attention off Fitzgerald were Early Doucet and Steve Breaston.


The same theme; surrounded talent that had underperformed or had the inexperience to play at the level Larry Fitzgerald needed them to.


Then came the off-season of 2010. Fitzgerald went through the same type of training he typically does. Partaking in extensive drills with other receivers throughout the league, including past great Cris Carter. Many knew the Cardinals would have to go another route at quarterback, and Fitzgerald was one that wanted it be well known who he favored.


Rumors of quarterbacks such as Marc Bulger and Kyle Orton as possible veteran fill ins circled the rumor mill. Fitzgerald wanted none of that, and began lobbying for Kevin Kolb almost simultaneously. The new rumor was that Fitzgerald was working out and doing pass catching drills with Kolb during the lockout.


When the lockout ended, the Cardinals threw a huge contract at Kolb and he was to be the Cardinals mainstay at quarterback for years to come. If only things were that simple. Kolb struggled tremendously to learn a new system, and looked like a rookie almost all of his starts on the field. Injuries began to plague his season, and John Skelton surprisingly became a much more reliable starter.


Arizona knows that Kolb may have been the wrong answer, as they were hoping to land Peyton Manning and cut Kolb. Manning could not make his decision quick enough, and rather than be like Miami was without a backup plan for Matt Flynn, the Cardinals accepted year two with Kevin Kolb.


Microphones and voice recorders are going to be in the faces of superstar athletes all off-season. Discussions of the NFL Draft is one of many topics reporters are going to ask. When it was asked on who the Cardinals should go after in the first round, Fitzgerald did not shy away. He wants the Cardinals to go after talented Notre Dame prospect, Michael Floyd.


Floyd has shown on the field that he can be a special receiver in the NFL. His label of question has nothing to do with his route running or size. It’s his off the field issues, which have been a constant while at Notre Dame. Run ins with alcohol related issues happened on three occasions. Fitzgerald believes he can be the veteran to lend the proper support structure for a rookie in Floyd. Properly train him with his great work habits and lead him off the field as well.


The main question this time around. As a front office do you listen to Larry Fitzgerald this time? You’ve done the evaluating as a front office and likely have a solid three to four prospects that you’re eyeing on draft day. Receiver is a need but do they feel they need to use a high value pick for another position, and add a receiver in latter rounds?


Draft day is just about a day away, and Fitzgerald just recently voiced his opinion. This time around I believe the Cardinals will go with who they have rated the highest on their draft board. Whether that be Floyd or not.


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