The Arizona Cardinals finally acquired a proven veteran quarterback this offseason when they traded for the rights of Carson Palmer. Over the course of the 2012 season the Cardinals had four different quarterbacks lead their offense: Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, and Brian Hoyer. You cannot expect to be a good team in the NFL when you’ve played four different quarterbacks in one season. The play from the position was inconsistent and notable players like All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and 2012 1st round pick Michael Floyd suffered. It was tough for them and the entire Cardinals offense to build chemistry as they didn’t know who would be leading them heading into each game. Fitzgerald’s production slipped significantly and Floyd struggled in his first season.
Fast forward to the 2013 season. The Cardinals have a new head coach in Bruce Arians, a new offensive system and a new starting quarterback; one who has proven himself for a decade in the NFL. Coach Arians was the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts and eventually assumed the interim head coach position. Arian’s offense in 2012 led by rookie quarterback Andrew Luck threw the ball over the field so expect to see the same thing with the Cardinals in 2013.
We all know the player Larry Fitzgerald is and what he has accomplished since entering the NFL in 2004 out of the University of Pittsburgh. Fitzgerald is a 7x Pro Bowler and a 4x All-Pro selection; when his career is done he should have his own bust in Canton, Ohio in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Arian’s new offense will feature Fitzgerald lining up at all three wide receiver positions, something we haven’t seen before. Fitzgerald’s stats for the 2013 should be right up there among the best receivers in the league.
The Cardinals haven’t had a true #2 receiver since Anquan Boldin departed to the Baltimore Ravens. When they selected Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame with the 13th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft their vision was to pair him with Fitzgerald and create one of the league’s best receiving duos. Floyd and Fitzgerald are similar in size and each possesses sub 4.5 speed and extremely high vertical jumps. The Cardinals vision never became a reality in 2012 because of the poor quarterback play. Floyd finished the 2012 season with 45 catches for 562 yards and 2 touchdowns; and Fitzgerald finished with 71 catches for 798 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Personally, these are two of my favorite receivers in the league. In my opinion, they have the potential to be better than the Fitzgerald/Boldin duo of the past. They finally have a quarterback who can deliver them the ball and an offensive minded head coach who will make it a necessity for them to have the ball in their hands. Coach Arians revived Reggie Wayne’s career in Indianapolis and he should do the same with Fitzgerald in Arizona. Floyd should continue to benefit on and off the field as a professional from playing alongside Fitzgerald. I may be going out on a limb but I believe the Fitzgerald/Floyd duo will be one of the best in the league.