#11 / Wide Receiver / Arizona Cardinals
Aug 31, 1983
|Receiving||Kickoff Returns||Punt Returns|
Calling their play inconsistent may be being kind when describing the offense of the 2010 Arizona Cardinals. For a team only two years removed from the Super Bowl a lot has changed for the Cardinals on both sides of the ball but the most glaring difference is an offense that used to score points with the best of them suddenly can’t get out of its own way.
Future hall of fame quarterback Kurt Warner retired in the offseason giving way to the former Heisman winner Matt Leinart whom had been waiting in the wings for years for his opportunity. During training camp however, Leinart was surprisingly cut from the team citing a lack of work effort and a new direction.
Derek Anderson, the former Brown, would start the season as the starter but has since given way to rookie Max Hall. Both Anderson and Hall have struggled to get what was once one of the leagues best passing offenses back on track. The departure of Anquan Boldin in a trade with Baltimore surely hasn’t helped, as well as injuries to Steve Breston and Early Doucett, but the blame must fall squarely on the shoulders of the struggling quarterbacks; A weakness the Buccaneer's will clearly hope to exploit come Sunday.
Despite the trouble finding the end zone for the Arizona offense they still have one player that can change the game singlehandedly. Although he’s in the midst of a down season statistically, Larry Fitzgerald still remains one of the leagues most dominant wide receivers; In one play he could change a game by himself and remind everyone why he was considered by many to be the premier wide out in the NFL the past few seasons.
Fitzgerald is 6-3, 218 pounds and a force to be reckoned with. He is strong, he has speed, and his hands are legendary. Everyone may remember Santonio Holmes' acrobatic catch to win Super Bowl XLIII, but Pittsburgh doesn’t need that score if Fitzgerald doesn’t go off in the second half. The man can flat out play; just ask Buccaneer’s head coach Raheem Morris.
"He's fearless," Morris said. "He'll go grab the ball and snatch it out of the air. He'll be big, he'll be small, he'll be fast, he'll be whatever it takes on that play to get a win. And that's the sign of a great wideout."
The Buccaneer’s will need to pay close attention to Fitzgerald this Sunday if they hope to contain him. The departure of Anquan Boldin has made that task easier than in years past as coverage can now be rolled towards Fitzgerald with less fear of an equally as talented player being left one on one. But for a secondary that has struggled at times stopping deep threats the man that led the league in receptions the past two seasons will prove a strong challenge for this young group.