Sports Opinion & Analysis

Drowning Together

In NFL on December 12, 2012 at 10:23 am

By Jonathan Danielson

Larry Fitzgerald is not a martyr. He is not a tragic hero. He does not (as many across the television networks, social media, and his own family have declared) “deserves” to be traded.

The Arizona Cardinals have been absolutely horrible these last nine games. Their quarterback play has been atrocious, their offensive line porous, their running game obsolete. Even their once heralded defense has failed in epic fashion, allowing the Seattle Seahawks to score 58 points on them this past weekend.

But Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t been perfect either. In some cases, he’s been just as bad.

This is Larry Fitzgerald making a catch. You have not seen this at all recently.

This is Larry Fitzgerald making a catch. You wouldn’t know this, because no one has seen this recently.

To be fair, Fitzgerald hasn’t been thrown to a lot this season, yet the few times he has, he hasn’t caught the ball. In one case, he didn’t hold on to it as he was going out of bounds on a game-saving fourth down, and in another, like last weekend, he bobbled it so bad it was intercepted. Another time, he walked by a weird fumble by rookie Ryan Lindley, which was then picked up by Atlanta and run in for a touchdown.

People can argue, but the throw was bad, but this fumble was so strange how could Fitz have known to try to recover it!?! And I would say, what are the those old football commandments again? If the ball touches your hands, you have to catch it? Play every down until the whistle? Always go after loose balls?

There is no doubt Larry Fitzgerald is the best player on the Cardinals. He is one of the best wide receivers in all of football, but even he has recently slacked on his basic fundamentals, and has been a cause (like many, many others) to the Cardinals current woes. Let’s face it; no matter what Fitzgerald, or John Skelton or anyone else from the team can say, the team has quit. They’ve quit on Coach Ken Whisenhunt, they’ve quit on the field, and they’ve quit for the year 2012. That’s just it, and it’s time for owner Michael Bidwell to start going through the roster and see what talent the team has, and to start making preparations for next season.

Dead men walking.

Dead men walking.

This is the reality of the team. Injuries have gutted them, ineptitude has killed them and apathy has made them irrelevant. And the same, except for the injury part, the same can be said of the most beloved Cardinal since Pat Tillman. Yes, it’s sad to see his talents wasted. As sad as it is, he too hasn’t lived up to his end of the bargain, and therefore his brother Marcus should stop tweeting #FreeLarry. His father should quit tweeting how the last time his son’s team lost so badly, he had him transferred to another school. Fans should stop suggesting the franchise fire the coach, the GM, and trade the face of the franchise. Only one or two of those suggestions make any sense, and trading Fitzgerald isn’t one of them.

The Cardinals are bad, yes, but trading Fitzgerald would only be cutting off the team’s nose to spite their face. Look at how well they played with a half-decent offensive line, and a somewhat capable quarterback (when he wasn’t injured).

"I hurt everywhere."

“I hurt everywhere.”

This season is a wash, there’s no arguing that, but the team has talent, they will have a very high draft pick, and perhaps even a new coach. In the end, the team will be much better (they have to right?) in 2013. To Fitzgerald’s credit, he has been silent on the whole ordeal, but everyone else, the media, the fans, his family and his friends, should do the same. Stop all the quick-fix suggestions. Football is a team sport and the team lives and die as a team. And Fitz is a part of that.

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