There are a lot of things this season that has disappointed Arizona Cardinals fans. A 1-4 start to the season will do that. One thing that has been frustrating has been the production of the passing game recently. The combination of poor pass protection, Kevin Kolb's unsteadiness in the pocket, his lack of comfort in the offense and a lack of production from the wide receiver corp have all contributed.
The one thing that we don't typically hear is star receiver Larry Fitzgerald complaining about things. He was recently heard saying that no one should be blaming Ken Whisenhunt for the problems. However, some recent comments he made about the current WR group could almost be seen as complaining or lamenting moves made or not made.
When discussing the difference between now and the success of the times with Kurt Warner at quarterback, Fitz told Dan Bickley, "Here's the one small thing that everyone forgets about when Kurt (Warner) was here. We had this other guy, what was his name? Oh, yeah. Anquan Boldin. I think he made a couple Pro Bowls or something. He was a decent player around these parts. I wasn't here by myself. I had some talented guys around me."
Does this sound like a guy who is disappointed with his teammates? Pro Football Talk took it as such. What they failed to note was that when telling Bickley about his current WR teammates, is that he also said that there are no "bad fish" in the group and (they did note this) he was smiling when he said it. There was no lamenting in his non-verbal expression.
"Look at Green Bay, they have a plethora of talented guys. When you have so many things teams have to worry about defensively, you're going to get open, you're going to get the big shots for your offense.
"Right now, teams are saying, 'Fitzgerald is over here, we're not going to let him beat us. We're going to do whatever it takes to hold him down and not allow him to do that.' In years, past, when I had 'Q,' even last year with Steve (Breaston), defenses approached it a little differently. There were times when I could find some (space). Now those times are few and far between."
A complaint? Perhaps a little. To me it is more of a declaration that he has to work harder.
Remember, he and Anquan Boldin were very tight. Also, he is a receiver, so of course he is going to say that it wasn't only the quarterback.
I'm going to steal from ASU's basketball coach Herb Sendek to explain the success from before. It was not just Warner and it wasn't just Boldin and Breaston being around. It was the whole thing -- the synergy they created. The sum of them together was greater than just the individual parts. Three-fourths of that group is gone. Last year was a group QBs with no experience in the system. This year is another QB new to system and a corp of unproven WRs.
But in the development of a team, you have to turn to the guys you have drafted and say 'hey, we are counting on you to step up'. That is Andre Roberts and Early Doucet. It would help if Kolb stepped up in the pocket more often and if he were not getting pressured as often.
On another note, citing Green Bay as an example is a bit unfair. They have that magic "synergy" balance of an All-World QB and talent at WR. But the QB is key. Put Rodgers behind the AZ offensive line and throwing to the same guys Kolb has and I bet there are less problems. But then again, you can argue that Rodgers could be the best QB on the planet. Put Alex Smith in Green Bay and that receiving corp will not look near so talented. How does the Indianapolis group of WRs look this year with Curtis Painter throwing the ball instead of Peyton Manning?
With Kolb and the current receiving group, time will tell. We hear that a lot, but it is true. Now, do we start to see Kolb and Fitz, Kolb and Roberts, Kolb and Doucet or Kolb and a tight end develop chemistry in the passing game? That needs to happen. Honestly, we need to see it develop in all of those pairings.
It has been pretty clear that the Cardinals coaching staff believes in the group of receivers they have. The team only showed interest in Braylon Edwards, and that was only at the right price. The confidence has been shown. Now someone needs to step up.