One of, if not the, best receivers in the game, Fitzgerald had to catch passes from three different quarterbacks in 2010. The Derek Anderson–Max Hall–John Skelton–Richard Bartel stew produced very few fireworks in the passing game. They completed an eyelash more than half their passes and threw just 10 touchdowns against 19 interceptions. Fitzgerald still managed to catch 90 balls for 1137 yards, making you wonder what kind of numbers he would have gotten with better play at quarterback.
It also makes you assume that he’d have some pretty strong opinions about who should be the guy providing better play in the upcoming season. If he does, he’s keeping it to himself. Fitzgerald told Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic that any notion that he is advising the Cardinals about their next quarterback is false.
“There’s not truth to that at all,” Fitzgerald said in a text message. “I have no criteria. The two sides haven’t even sat down and talked. I have not talked to any coach on staff for six months. I’m like everybody else scrambling to make this season a success.”
The fact that the lockout, as Fitzgerald mentioned, shut down contact between the sides makes the idea that Fitzgerald is lobbying the team a hard one to swallow. He hasn’t sounded off publicly on the matter, although he’s worked out with Kolb and Kyle Orton this offseason so readers of tea leaves can make of it what they will.
The Cardinals do have reason to be concerned about Fitzgerald’s reaction to the next quarterback. His contract is up after the 2011 season and dissatisfaction with the direction of the team could lead Fitzgerald to seek a better partner in another town.
Somers wonders whether the team would be better off next year with a veteran like Matt Hasselbeck over an untested Kolb, but that plan has other risks. It doesn’t solve the problem going forward, sure to be a concern as Fitzgerald signs a long-term deal. Either way, Fitzgerald didn’t say anything to make the Cardinals worry that he’s already thinking about another stop.
“There are much more pressing needs for our team than me. I’m under contract. My situation will work itself out. I’m not worried about it; the team shouldn’t be, either. I want to be a Cardinal.”