Ever since Kurt Warner left the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, Larry Fitzgerald has seen his numbers decline steadily. Some people question if it is that he is getting older and has slowed down a bit, or if it is because he hasn’t had a solid quarterback since then.
From 2007-2009, Fitzgerald averaged nearly 98 catches and 12 touchdowns per season. Since then, he has averaged 80 catches and six touchdowns per season, and has had seven different QBs throw to him in that time.
With Warner retiring and their quarterback of the future Matt Leinart not working out, the Cardinals were forced to turn to the likes of Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall, Richard Bartel, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer to lead them. T
hey also have struggled to replace Anquan Boldin since they traded him to the Baltimore Ravens. Defenses have never had to worry about Steve Breaston, Early Doucet or Andre Roberts, so they have been able to key in on Fitzgerald.
Although many consider Carson Palmer past his prime, he threw for over 4,000 yards and had 22 touchdown passes for an Oakland Raiders team that didn’t have any receiver comparable to Fitzgerald. So when the Raiders traded for Matt Flynn and put Palmer on the block, the Cardinals were quick to pull the trigger on the veteran.
In his first start with Arizona, Palmer threw for 327 yards with two touchdowns against the St. Louis Rams, both to Fitzgerald. He was also able to get Roberts and Michael Floyd involved to open up the field for his no. 1 receiver.
Fitzgerald finished the game with eight catches for 80 yards and two TDs, and was targeted 14 times. If he can continue to develop chemistry with Palmer, you can look for Fitzgerald to have one of his vintage seasons and lead the Cardinals back to relevancy in the NFC West.