It’s been a tough season for the Arizona Cardinals. They got off to a hot start at 4-0 but have stalled ever since, losing eight straight games.
If it’s been a challenge for the team, the fans and the organization, just imagine what it’s been like for perennial Pro-Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Since 2009, Fitzgerald has played with six different starting quarterbacks and he’s since seen his production and the amount of times he’s targeted drop each of the past couple seasons.
How does he keep his composure and not let his frustration boil over?
“I’m human. I know that my teammates look to me as a captain to be a leader,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s easy to be a leader when things are always going your way and you got a hundred yard games and a lot of wins and scoring touchdowns, it’s easy to lead. It’s much more difficult to lead when things aren’t going your way.”
In 2010, he had 90 receptions and was targeted 174 times. He saw that number drop in 2011 to 80 receptions and 153 targets. In 2012, the numbers will likely decline again. With just four games remaining, Fitzgerald has just 56 receptions and has only been targeted 120 times during the first 12 weeks of play.
“This has been a learning experience for me,” Fitzgerald stated. “Patience my dad use to always tell me that patience is a virtue and definitely my patience has been tested.”
On Thursday Fitzgerald was asked about his ability to keep his composure this season as balls continuously sail wide and high throughout each and every game. He showed his leadership once again by turning the focus from himself to his team.
“I’m not the only one,” Fitzgerald said. “A lot of guys on this team are having to deal with the adversity that we’re having to face so I’m not in it by myself.”
This weekend the Cardinals head to Seattle to face a Seahawks team that is 5-0 at home this season. It’s also a place that Fitzgerald said is the toughest place he’s ever played at any level.
Arizona is going back to John Skelton and his 64.4 passer rating and 54.7 completion percentage to try and find Fitzgerald on the field and get the “W” they so desperately need.