In 2012, we saw a huge drop-off in Larry Fitzgerald’s stats. The quarterback situation in Arizona last year was horrid. Ryan Lindley threw seven interceptions and his touchdown total was equal to the number of Tim Tebow’s starts with the Jets (in other words, zero). John Skelton had a measly two passing touchdowns in six starts and, well, you get the point. Larry Fitzgerald had no competent quarterbacks throwing to him last year. With Kurt Warner tossing him footballs, Larry Fitzgerald looked as great as Calvin Johnson does now. The point is Larry should be a lot better in terms of stats this season, as will his Cardinals.
This offseason, the Cardinals acquired Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer, two very big pieces for Larry’s path to success. As we’ve seen in years past, the offense of Bruce Arians loves to throw it deep. Historically, Bruce has had great chemistry with quarterbacks under his tutelage with people like Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and most recently Andrew Luck. Carson Palmer on the other hand, quietly threw for over 4,000 yards last season with a less than average receiving-corps.
Arians and Palmer are not the only keys to Larry Fitzgerald’s success this season. The Cardinals’ revamped offense has a stellar defense backing it up. With players like Patrick Peterson and Daryl Washington at the heart of the defense, the Cardinals should be in good shape. Returning to Arizona is Karlos Dansby after spending three years in Miami. Although he is getting up there in age at 31 years old, Karlos Dansby is still one of the most productive inside linebackers in the NFL today. In fact, he had his most productive year in terms of tackles last year with a total of 134.
Rashard Mendenhall is another smart addition for the Cardinals. He should be the starting running back and he already has a good rapport with Bruce Arians from the time they spent together in Pittsburgh. Mendenhall was once regarded as one of the most talented young running backs in the NFL until he tore his ACL. Since then, his play has been hindered, appearing in only in two games since tearing it in 2011. He has now fully recovered, giving hope to their fans that the Cardinals should have a decent running game this year.
To have an effective running game, you need powerful, agile lineman. Arizona got one by drafting guard Jonathan Cooper with the 7th overall pick this year. Jonathan was praised for his run-blocking and athletic ability coming out of North Carolina, which led him to become the highest selected guard since Jim Dombrowski in the 1986 draft. The Cardinals’ run game should be set for the 2013-2014 season, which will ultimately set up Fitzgerald for touchdowns on play action.
Combining Arians’ love of throwing it deep, a big physical receiver that can go up and snatch the ball like Larry Fitzgerald, and a strong-armed and often accurate Carson Palmer, you get the recipe for a great season for Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinal offense. I’m estimating 1,000+ yards from Fitzgerald and at least 8 touchdowns. Expect another season where Carson Palmer throws for 4,000 yards or better as receivers Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts get in the mix. Both are more talented than Carson’s old Oakland pass-catchers. The duo could make for an above-average supporting cast for #11. Michael Floyd in particular could potentially draw away defenses with his size, speed, and height, so everything is looking up for the Cardinals’ star receiver. If you’re considering drafting Larry Fitzgerald for your fantasy football team, you should definitely pick him up, as it appears he postured for a great season.
BY CONNOR BANKS ON JULY 22, 2013