“You look at the NFC right now, you think of the Cowboys, you think of the Green Bay Packers, you think of the Minnesota Vikings.”
That’s what Larry Fitzgerald had to say when asked about the juggernauts in the NFC.
There’s a noticeable omission from that list.
Um, Larry, how could you forget the Superbowl champs? How could you forget the 45-14 tail-whipping that the Saints put on your Cardinals in the Divisional playoff game?
I tweeted Larry the day that he made this statement, saying “You realize the Saints are the best in the NFC right?”
He then went on to respond, “U do realize that it is a new year right smart guy?”
I would never let anyone talk down on my Saints, so I said, “Agreed, another chance for the Saints to smash the Cards.”
He never replied.
Oh…and take a look at the blanket coverage by Jabari Greer and Darren Sharper in the picture above.
Fitzgerald’s outlook on who will be the top contenders in the NFC during the 2010 season is a little skewed.
Oh and his team got totally dismantled over the offseason:
The retirement of Kurt Warner — After Bobby McCray blasted him into oblivion in the playoffs, Kurt Warner decided it was time to call it quits from the NFL.
The Cardinals, who are known as a pass heavy offense, will now have to rely on Matt Leinart to lead the offense.
While the Cards will likely utilize the running game and Beanie Wells more often this season, Leinart will not be able to make the plays that Warner did; and he certainly doesn’t have similar leadership abilities.
The loss of Karlos Dansby — Stud middle linebacker, Karlos Dansby, left Arizona to sign a massive 5 year $43 million contract with the Dolphins, which is second only to Patrick Willis’ recent deal as the highest contract for a middle linebacker in NFL history.
He recorded 109 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and an interception last season for the Cards.
If you don’t remember, he also won the playoff game against the Packers, scooping up Aaron Rodgers’ fumble and returning it to the endzone.
Now, a rookie will likely take the place of Dansby and be forced to make plays against opposing offenses. With the Cards playing the likes of the 49ers, Saints, and Falcons; they will need stellar play from their linebackers when they drop into zone coverage or pursue running plays.
Can a rookie handle that kind of responsibility?
The loss of Antrel Rolle — Rolle went on to sign a lucrative contract with the Giants, forcing the Cardinals to trade for Kerry Rhodes.
Widely regarded as a finesse safety, Kerry Rhodes struggles when trying to stop the run because he is only interested in getting interceptions, not tackles.
Rhodes is a selfish player and will ultimately be a downgrade from Rolle.
The only good cornerback that the Cardinals have is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, while Adrian Wilson only excels against the run.
Because of this, they will need great safety play to mask their deficiencies in the secondary.
The trade of Anquan Boldin — Boldin, who is one of the most physical receivers in the game, was traded to the Ravens after the Cardinals refused to offer him a contract that parallels Larry Fitzgerald’s.
Steve Breaston and Early Doucet will need to step up for Matt Leinart in order to take pressure off the running game.
If not, the absence of Anquan Boldin will lead to major deficiencies in this offense.
While the acquisitions of Dan Williams and Alan Faneca will help the defense and offense, respectively, Williams is just a rookie who is not even under contract yet.
He will have to learn the ropes, and that will take some time.
Faneca, whom the Jets released, excels at run-blocking but struggled pass-blocking for Mark Sanchez down the stretch.
Fitzgerald claims that “it’s a new season” but in all actuality, the Cardinals have downgraded their roster.
Doesn’t this mean that they will actually be worse than they were last season…when they got blown out by the Saints 45-14?
I wonder what the score will be this time around.