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For the last month we've been discussing the game changing moves of the offseason, beginning with Kurt Warner retiring and then the drafting of Dan Williams of last month. This week will be the loss of Anquan Boldin. The long time franchise receiver will truly be missed, along with his dominating presence on the field and his relentless style that brought many fans on board with the team. Anquan was a great leader on offense and one of the few bright spots during the "glory" years. His loss will surely have an effect on the Cardinals in 2010, but will it be enough to send the team spiraling down into a great ball of burning fire?
His leadership was one of a kind. The fiery Anquan Boldin-demeanor could be seen and admired from a mile away. His peers saw it and absorbed it, and it cannot be replaced. Anquan brought passion and ferocity to the Cardinals offense, often leaving a trail of helpless defenders buried in the destruction that trailed each and every one of his massive footsteps. Yes his style resulted in numerous injuries, but it was the intangibles that made up for it. He was a mentor to the younger receivers - the Steve Breastons, the Early Doucets, even to Bryant Johnson at one point. The Cardinals will miss what he brought to the field and the sideline and will need someone to step up to the plate next season.
Without Boldin, the offense will lose some of the game-changing plays we were accustomed to seeing. Boldin brought "it" when he was healthy. Nothing can replicate the production and fearlessness of a healthy Anquan Boldin. He changed many games with his style and prowess. Although Larry Fitzgerald is still in the mix, it will be a challenge for Steve Breaston and Early Doucet to maintain that production.
The loss equals an opportunity for another player to emerge from the shadows. Losing Boldin was bad, but it doesn't necessarily mean we've reached the end of the world as we know it. Steve Breaston will finally get the opportunity the leap into Anquan's role and excel. He gets his chance to shine and prove that his lone 1,000-yard season was no fluke. Cue up the "domino effect" term, because with Breaston moving into a starting role, Early Doucet finally gets his chance to build off of last year's playoff game against Green Bay. Doucet has already had a very productive offseason and will be entering the popular third year of Ken Whisenhunt's rookie system.
In the end, the Cardinals and their fans must accept the loss of Boldin and move on. He was a favorite in the community and was one-of-a-kind in the locker room. Trading "Q" was a game-changer, but it opened a door for the Cardinals to try something new. The offense is expected to rush the football more next year, and Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower could become the work-horses of the offense. Losing Boldin was a tough pill to swallow, but it may be all for the better in 2010.