Most people around football and football fans alike expect Arizona Cardinals receiver to bounce back in 2014 after a disappointing 2012 and an okay 2013. However, not everyone does.
NFL.com's Greg Rosenthal and Dan Hanzus collaborated to put together a list of players that are key candidates to regress (not regress to the mean, but rather decline) in 2014.
For Hanzus, Fitz is one of those players.
There was a time when Fitzgerald was the greatest wide receiver on the planet. Who could forget the 2008 postseason, when Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner nearly willed the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl title? Fitzgerald is no longer the same dominant playmaker, and the emergence of Michael Floyd threatens to relegate Fitzgerald to second banana status.
What is interesting is that, despite naming him as a player to decline, he also hedges a bit.
On the plus side, Fitzgerald has the potential to be football's tastiest second banana. The best-case scenario has Fitzgerald's post-age 30 career evoking comparisons to Reggie Wayne, who adapted to his game with age and found extended success playing under -- wait for it -- Bruce Arians. This is a time of transition for Fitzgerald, and his numbers may reflect that.
That best-case scenario is over 100 catches and over 1300 yards, which would hardly be regressing. That would be more catches than he has ever had in a season and more yards than all but four seasons.
Now the fact remains that Michael Floyd very well might emerge as the team's top receiver. But as we saw in 2008 and 2009, there are plenty of yards and catches to be had for two receivers, when he was sharing the field with Anquan Boldin.
Bruce Arians' offense gives ample opportunities for passing numbers. Fitz did play with two bad hamstrings, one that was more serious than any of us knew.
Perhaps he has lost something, but even so, he came just short of 1000 yards with a number of factors -- learning a new offense and new positions and injuries. Doing less than his 2013 numbers seems unlikely. Could he end up with similar numbers? Sure. But that isn't regressing.
At worst, he will be close to 1000 yards with 80+ catches. At best he will show that he is still elite.
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