Above Fitzgerald’s pay grade

Posted by Darren Urban on December 28, 2012 – 10:01 am

Larry Fitzgerald has done en excellent job managing whatever frustrations he might have during this season with the Cardinals. Anyone who has been around him the last few years can’t be surprised.

“I keep everything in perspective,” Fitzgerald said. “At the end of the day, I’m living a dream. I have an NFL jersey on, an Arizona Cardinals jersey, only 1,500 men around the world that can say they are playing in this league. That’s an exclusive group. It doesn’t feel good to fall short of your goals but we still have one more game against a really good opponent. It’ll be a test of our resolve.”

As usual, Fitz was asked team-wide-type questions about change and, specifically, about whether he wanted to see quarterback Kevin Kolb return. Fitzgerald handled them with his usual grace.

“You’re asking me questions above my pay grade,” Fitzgerald said. “I saw (president) Michael Bidwill, I saw (VP of player personnel) Steve Keim, I saw (general manager) Rod Graves, those guys might have some answers for you. Those are the decision-makers. I’m just a number.”

Fitz mentioned that he has a personal relationship with all his teammates and he’d like to bring them all back. He clearly didn’t want to get into such a discussion.

“I don’t like to play the GM game,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s not my role.”

(I know there are thoughts out there that Fitzgerald has some kind of sway when it comes to some decisions, but that is overblown. The Cards aren’t making decisions based on Fitz’s desires. Nor should they.)

One thing Fitz does understand — as do most players — is that change comes every offseason, and when a team struggles as much as the Cardinals have, it usually leads to more change than usual.

“Unfortunately that’s the nature of our business,” Fitzgerald said. “(There is) 30 percent turnover every year across the league, from draft to trades to cuts to guys retiring. It’s part of our game. I look around the locker room and see Adrian (Wilson) and Darnell (Dockett) and that’s about it being around as long as I have been.”

There was a funny moment as someone tried to delve into Fitzgerald’s thoughts about a 5-10 record. After Fitz said his role wasn’t as GM, it was asked, “But you want to win?”

“I definitely want to win, no question,” Fitzgerald said, which drew the response of “But that hasn’t been happening.”

Fitzgerald looked up and couldn’t help but smile. It was like a grooved fastball for Fitzgerald to hammer out of the park. “That hasn’t been happening. You’re right. Did you have an epiphany today with that?”

Fitzgerald chuckled as he delivered the line, and so did everyone in the group.


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46 Responses to “Above Fitzgerald’s pay grade”

  1. By Christo on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Team is not going anywhere until Graves and Whis are deposed.

    See if Bidwill has the stones to make the right call.

  2. By D on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Larry has to say the right things, he isn’t leaving here. He should run for Senate for MN after football, would be a good politician.

    Did you all see that quote from Matt Leinart, that he “deserved to start”. He should go to stand up at the Improv. That is the problem with spoiled QB’s in this day and age. It probably won’t help M. Barkley come draft time that a high draft USC QB is knucklehead.

  3. By Patrick Eagan on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    I love larry. true professional. Personal, i don’t think ken whisenhunt should go. He’s the only coach to EVER bring the Cardinals to a super bowl. give him one last shot. let him play the contract out. I won’t stop believing in Ken Whisenhunt. I become a fan of the Cardinals because of Ken Whisenhunt, Kurt Warner, and Larry Fitzgerald. We still have 2 of the 3. I believe he can get it fixed. Kevin Kolb is a capable quarterback, and that was shown in the first 6 games of the season. The rams game, there was terrible protection. Other than that, Kevin did his job. In the end, i love the cardinals. Go Cardinals.

  4. By Hammy on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Fitz is the Heart and Soul of this team. Management paid him top dollar to be a Cardinals for life, I have no doubt that they will do whats best for the team and hold those accountable for the record we have this year. With that said I believe that Whisenhunt, Grimm, Graves, Miller and McNulty will all be gone come “BLACK MONDAY”.

    As a Cards fan im sure I can speak for all of us when I say “I cant wait for this Regime to be OVER”

  5. By Dynosoar on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Larry is great. I wish he could get the ball more often. Sometimes I think our QB’s have more faith in the double team to keep the ball from Fitzgerald than in Larry to beat the double team. Kurt Warner had more faith in Fitzgerald and it showed.

    Hey jocards and johnybluenose,

    My assessment of Charlie Batch is mostly from last season when Big Ben was not playing and they were winning. I don’t follow other teams like the Cards and I follow Dallas, Pittsburgh and the Giants the least of the other teams.

    I guess I just feel an assessment of Hoyer based on Pittsburgh releasing him is not a valid assessment.

    Do ya’ll feel that Pittsburgh is set at QB and even if Hoyer was good would they need him? If they’re winning with Ben, Batch and Leftwitch then why go with someone who’s not been in the system (Hoyer) that was just brought in as stopgap to injuries.

    I personally do not see the Steelers doing this and so I see Hoyer being released as a logical move, not one based on Hoyer’s talent or lack thereof. Then again, they’re out of the playoffs, so where does that leave my assessment and if Batch really is retiring. Interesting.

    Looking forward to my Cardinals playing, regardless of the general on the field.

    Although… I’d love to not only watch my Cardinals, but watch them winning. I want to experience the thrill of victory, not the agony of defeat.

  6. By D on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Cards blocked other teams in talking with McNulty, he is worth keeping as long as new blood is brought in at QB. Whiz is a good coach…just not a good talent guru..

    How about this for next year QB roster depth chart: Hoyer, Matt Moore and Landry Jones….

  7. By Dynosoar on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    johnthedraft guy,

    looks like D likes your pick of Landry Jones. If he’s as good as you believe from his body of work, I hope we get him.

    D, some think Flacco may become available, what do you think of having him on board? Also, what do you like about Hoyer, since you have him as your number one.

    I believe any QB that can get Fitzgerald the ball, consistently, will win. Although, Megatron gets the ball a lot and their not in the playoffs, so maybe it’s a little bit more than just one receiver.

    I do believe if we get Fitzgerald the ball more it’ll open up the running game which will open up other receivers which will allow our offense to really light up the board. let’s get an accurate QB behind center and take it from there. I’m good witht he four we have now or anyone else, as long as they’re accurcy is above 60%, which appears to be the magic number to make the playoffs (at least 90% of the time.)

    One of my coleagues appreciates my always looking at percentages, but says 80% of people make statistics up on the spot, but his statements are only 30% accurate so…

  8. By Mark in Chandler on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    I know you like Moore but he is- at best- a stop-gap QB. a healthy Kolb is better than Moore. Even if you take Moore you have Jones as your heir-apparent. He has a weak arm, and would only survive in a west-coast offense. Although his numbers are big at OK he is not impressive outside of the system. If Jones lasts more than a few years in the NFL he is at best a back up.

    If you want to draft the future in this draft (and the shelf is bare in this draft) there are many better options than Jones, either with more talent or a higher ceiling: G. Smith, M. Barkley, T. Wilson, R. Nassib, M. Glennon, EJ Manuel, T. Bray just to name a few. However, using Kolb as the standard, none of the draft options are much of an improvement based on what they have shown in college, and FA options at QB are unclear right now.

    Honestly, the best case scenario is that Smith is released by the 49ers, he comes to the Cards. They resign Kolb to be a well paid #2 (3-4.5 mil) and Hoyer is #3. They do not draft a QB at all and focus on other areas like OL, RB, TE, OLB, S and get some great young talent.

  9. By erik on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    I am more excited for Monday at this point then the game on Sunday. Bye bye Whiz and co!
    Even if my wish doesn’t come true, I’ll still read and follow with optimism, haha. Go Cards!

  10. By D on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Hoyer is not my #1, he would be a backup next year. This team won’t get a chance at Geno Smith. Even Glennon maybe gone prior to AZ draft pick. Buffalo will make some moves come draft day. Next spring will just be a stop gap QB in free agency until either a draft pick from this draft is ready or wait until the year after to shop. Remember, Kolb if released will cost AZ around 6 mil, which is a chunk considering this team needs to add at least 2 more players. (Kolb could restructure but doesn’t sound like he wants that to happen)

    Barkley, EJ Manual, T Bray, T. Wilson, Jones are all 2-3 round picks. This isn’t a draft like last year with 2 very good college QB coming out.

    Alex Smith wont’ be traded to AZ. If no team gives SF anything for him, he will be cut by April 1 (bonuse due). But, Cards won’t get into a bidding war for him. Many teams will be after him and I doubt AZ would be more agressive as a team like the Jets for his services.

    Flacco is the best QB that has been named, but the Ravens see the weak QB options, so they will franchise him so he can’t leave.

  11. By philly cards 1994- on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Alex smith is a product of a system. He failed in preivous systems now he’s on the bench. If you saw derreck anderson why would you want smith?

    When I became a cardinal fan I was told by dallas fans we did not have a “pedigree” we could win here or there but there was no long term success in our future.

    When I see people saying keep whiz because of success 4 yrs ago they want to give him credit for I think about that loser mentality.

    Winners never think that let’s move past whiz skelton hoyer andre roberts and toler and doucet and snyder gay and johnson and all those weak tight ends.

    I want to think like a winner all spring and then see one in the fall. There is no other option if you are a winner and think like one

  12. By Dee on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    I’m not so worried about the qb situation. I’ve been a cards fan with every up and down. I disliked kolb because he didn’t play to win he played to make every number but the win. This season he proved he deserved a spot. Keep hoyer in two games he completed more passes to the important players who can make the plays. We need a ray type coach on the o line! A qb could suck but it’s even harder when your gettin smacked around. The injuries to kolb in three games was unreal no qb can live through that many sacks in that little time.
    Do I think it’s whiz to blame partially he new the offense in the offseason and he couldn’t make it work. You can’t leave it to a d line, Larry(although he is outstanding) and a running back that keeps getting hurt and lost confidence. Lets be real here folks if your not slammed at the two and trip over your own two feet for a fumble and td recovery someone’s gotta wonder what the hell went on in his head!

  13. By carlo milano on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    aj jefferson

    do u know when we could know what kind of pick arizona will have in return from vikings..aj jefferson is starting now and vikes could go playoff

  14. By Darren Urban on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Carlo —

    RE: Jefferson

    I’d guess it could be a fifth-rounder maybe? Fifth or sixth.

  15. By D on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Mr. Batiste could be in the record books this Sunday….A. Smith needs 3 sacks for the record….at least the Oline won’t have to worry about Card killer Justin Smith

  16. By Dynosoar on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply


    sorry, misunderstood the previous post regarding QB depth chart. Oops.

    Have ya’ll seen what Lienart has been doing in Oakland, he hasn’t changed. He’s not producing as a QB and he’s reportedly still living the Frat-boy partying lifestyle.

    We may not have the best QB;s in the league, but their personal character is hugely and drastically different than Matt.

  17. By dynasty1717 on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply


    Since it may be difficult for you to comment on specifics of who may stay and who may go on Black Monday, let me get your opinion on a number of things as a whole. In your opinion, what percentage chance would you put on the following occurring (collectively)?:

    1) Whiz is retained as Head Coach
    2) Graves is let go with Keim replacing him
    3) Grimm to the second power both gone
    4) Miller gone
    5) McNulty gone

  18. By Darren Urban on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    dynasty —

    RE: Changes

    It makes no sense to put percentages on that stuff. Not that I’d know. No one does.

    There could be change but it might not even happen Monday, making “percentages” even less worthy to do.

  19. By dynasty1717 on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    John the draft guy and several others –

    I think you guys are right on Landry Jones. He probably has the biggest upside of any of the QBs in the upcoming draft. Right now, the “experts” have him going in the 2nd or 3rd round (which would be great for the Cards). However, is there any doubt in any of your minds that he will ultimately be drafted in the first round in April, once the talk show “experts” actually start talking to the real experts from NFL teams and realize he is going to move up drastically?

  20. By mal on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Our problem is not the coach; it’s the GM.
    Keep Whiz; let go of Graves.

  21. By Robert Howarth on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    We are 3-4 guys away from being a Super Bowl team. Draft a couple offensive lineman in the first two rounds, and we are a 9-7 team off the bat. Kevin Kolb is a good QB, but he needs to be defended, otherwise he is going to get killed like he did early in the season this year. As a QB, you need people protecting you, otherwise you play scared and get hurt.
    I would keep Coach Whiz for the remaining year of his contract. He clearly has a vision, and he just needs 3-4 guys to make it happen.

  22. By sarah on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Are people crazy here ? Hoyer has played a quarter and a half, scored no points and people want to anoint him as the starter next year, madness indeed. Basically i view him as a guy trying out.

  23. By hotValleySun on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    Keep Whiz.

    I miss the 4-0 start and September.

    Happy new year to you all. Signing out of here for a while.

  24. By Dee on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    No one thinks hoyer is a godsend but he was able to complete which both Skelton and Lindley were having trouble doing. I’d like to see hoyer be 2nd to kolb and lets see if he has it. For draft take on a rookie get him ready so next season god for bid we crap the bed again we have some talent to back us up. It’s no solid solution but its better then any lienart or mess we’ve been working with. And as I said before its all in the o line. Get the blocks make the plays.

  25. By johnnybluenose on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    sarah. you have taken the words out of my mouth. some people were annointing max hall as our saviour a few years ago and we all know how that turned out. i think kolb is our best bet now because i don’t see anyone else out there with the exception of alex smith. if he is released then we would have to be interested. joe flacco is not much better than skelton in my opinion and i hope we are not looking at ways to get him. things could remain murky in cardinalsland for a long time. maybe there is an andrew luck, rg3 or russell wilson coming out of high school who could come to us in the 2017 draft. we could have a long wait before our quarterback issues are solved.

  26. By Matt on Dec 28, 2012 | Reply

    We need to fire Graves and let the new GM decide what to do with the coaching staff.

  27. By Patrick Eagan on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    @ mal. I agree with you 100%. Whiz is the man. Graves should be gone. I really think the Cardinals should look at Matt Barkley. I like what i see from him in college.

  28. By robert on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    I have been quiet since that disaster a few weeks ago in Seattle Its taking me that long to recover. Wiz is staying put because Bidwell won’t eat the last year of his contract…yet by not extending his contract, he will become a lame duck…i think whiz went to the super bowel because of the magic of Warner…to have Grimm remain for this many years without developing a solid defensive line is enough to get him and maybe another coach fired. I’m afraid that we will be in for a rocky road in 2013…regarding fitz, he is great, but if we can get a solid o lineman and linebacker and first round pick..i think we need to go with that since we need too many pieces to win. what a waste of a great talent.

  29. By clssylssy on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    @Hammy…PLEASE, do not presume to think that you speak for all Cards fans! This Organization was fractured long before Coach Whisenhunt, and, our problems lie above his pay grade! He has been our single most successful coach EVER so, why would we use him as a scapegoat to hang ALL our problems on and give him the boot…then keep Kevin Kolb who hasn’t been well enough to even play 50% of the games he’s been here for? A Head Coach can only do so much with what he is given and while the “let’s just clean house” mentality seems to be thriving on this thread, I don’t think readers are aware of just how few HCs are available in the NFL (not to mention good ones) and so while this line of thought picks up momentum every time we lose a game, one has to realize that the HC isn’t any more singularly responsible for wins and losses than is the QB a one man team. A Head Coach can’t save an organization no matter how intelligent he is regardless of his work ethic and style if the organization is dysfunctional from the core. Unless the organization is fixed first, no coach regardless of talent will succeed. If you look at the teams who regularly make the playoffs you will see that the thing that they have in common is a strong organizational infrastructure beginning with an owner who is willing to financially infuse whatever money is necessary to build from the top down, and, a franchise able to PAY for the best talent. Part of the key is for the owner to have people who can best advise him as to the SMARTEST way to spend. This is where is really helps to have a “hands on” football person as an owner such as Jerry Jones or Tom Benson. I find it annoying that writers/” the press” constantly hammer Fitz to speak negatively about his coaches and teammates, when that is not a part of who he is, and his sarcastic reply was wonderful and long overdue! ! The fact that players who reach the level of the NFL are a very special and talented bunch of athletes to begin with, make them stand out whether they are Max Hall or Payton Manning and their success after signing in the NFL usually is largely a matter of development and franchise support (case in point, Dez Bryant was on track to self-destruct early on but has emerged as one of the successes of the year because of the Cowboys recognizing he was in need of some extra “work”), The Cards have not been good in this area. I continue to believe in these players and Coach Whisenhunt and would love to see them finish with a win against the 9ers which I believe they are capable of doing. GO CARDS! LUV YOU GUYS ALL! GROUND AND POUND THE 9ers!

  30. By Scott H on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    Cannot even imagine the frustration that Fitz must be feeling this year. He’s always been able to produce as an individual even when the team was bad. But the fact that he could not do that THIS year – with no injuries and in his absolute prime – truly speaks to just how bad the Cardinals were this year. And, hell, the fact that they were behind so often SHOULD HAVE led to plenty of opportunities for Fitz to get the ball. Hard to believe that NFL QB’s could be so bad that they couldn’t get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, but….well, we all saw it.

    Still…must be hard for Fitz to see Calvin Johnson achieving the milestones he is achieving this year on a BAD team, with BAD QB play, and no other viable WR’s that teams have to worry about around him.

  31. By louie on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    Some of you pepole have no clue. I have been a die hard cards fan since 1990, Ken has to go, his choices over the last 3 seasons are why we are here. He should have never brought D.A. in, kept Lienart for the season and made a bigger push the following seaon for a QB by trade, free agency or early in the draft. Heck Tim Tebow is better then these 4 guys we have here now. He has to go ASAP, should have been after Seatle game. His choices of QB is why we are in this position. We passed on Andy Dalton in 2011, even Colt McCoy in 2010 is better then we have had the last 3 seasons and it is Kens fault.

  32. By MIKE HADZINSKI C.M. PUNK on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    garbage article darren you are covering for fitz he doesnt wanna play gm b.c he messed up on floyd over decastro next blog is better fitz does have a big say on what goes here with the team he even makes qb picks like tradeing drc and 2nd pick for kolb lol at larry hope he never goes for a gm job.

    Darren bad article trying to throw a smoke screen in the people’s way

  33. By Darren Urban on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    Mike had —

    RE: knowledge

    Unless you are playing video games with Michael Bidwill or Rod Graves, forgive me if I go with my knowledge over yours.

  34. By MIKE HADZINSKI C.M. PUNK on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    i hope they trade fitz and get a #1 pick ftz is overrated meagtron way better

  35. By Ritt on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    I’m not going to pretend to be overly knowledgable about who should stay or go come “Black Monday”, but I would be very careful what you ask for. I have seen terrible offensive play calling and have myself called for Whisenhunts removal, but who would you have replace him??? There are obvious problems with the offense and with key personnel (coaching included), but we are not that far off from having a winning and contending team. Our defense has been awesome, and special teams keeps us close. Don’t cut off the nose to spite the face.

  36. By Paul In Phx on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply


    Can the Cardinals trade fans? I think id like to see if we can get someone not quite as ignorant and moronic as Mike Hadz! Is that guy for real?

  37. By louie on Dec 29, 2012 | Reply

    MIKE HADZINSKI, YOUR NUTZ, if your not a cardinals fan get off here. If Cards had Mathew Fitz numbers would be way better.

  38. By clssylssy on Dec 30, 2012 | Reply

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE Darren and thank you. Fitz is a class act and isn’t so insecure as to be threatened by other receivers doing well in the league. His body of work speaks for itself and even though he wasn’t racking up the yards this year he played an invaluable role in the locker room, as well as, assisting the offense by blocking and running interference. Every team needs a Larry Fitzgerald to keep morale high and be a motivater. The Ravens have Ray Lewis, the Packers have Rogers and the Saints have Drew Brees. The Cardinals are BLESSED to have Larry Fitzgerald…we need him a lot more than he needs us!

  39. By mike hadzinski C.M. PUNK on Dec 30, 2012 | Reply

    Darren you’r Knowledge Lol thats a joke Eyerytime some1 ask you about something you play the stupid role like i havent heard nothing about that topic but 5 min Mike J. is reporting the FACTS THEN YOU POST IT YOU NEED TO GO COVER ANOTHER TEAM YOUR BLOG ARE GARBAGE JUST LIKE YOUR KNOWLEDGE.. your mad B/c i play madden with cards players and they tell me more personal stories then you get in a YEAR.Your mad B/c im cool with Ron Housler and i get inside team info CARDS BRASS TIME FOR DARREN URBAN TO HIT THE UNEMPLOYMENT LINE AND STOP DRAINING THE PAROLL GTS ….Your Blogs ARE WEAK BRO

  40. By Darren Urban on Dec 30, 2012 | Reply

    Mike Hadzinski —

    RE: My posts

    “Garbage,” and yet, you keep reading them.

    Thanks for coming.

  41. By Iacardinal on Dec 30, 2012 | Reply

    MIke Had,

    Fitz is overrated?? Said NO one ever.Let’s see what Megatrons numbers are in AZ and what Fitz numbers are in Detroit this year…wow, just wow…Good Work Darren, keep it up.

  42. By john the draft guy on Dec 30, 2012 | Reply

    Mike Hadz,
    If your cool with Housler, shouldnt you know his first name?

  43. By clssylssy on Dec 30, 2012 | Reply

    It’s been a tough year but we’ve had worse. Funny how one trip to the SB and our new found “fans” demand perfection from that point on…lol, makesme wonder if they are as good at their jobs as they expect our players and coaches to be. Thank you Darren for your coverage of the team and putting up with all the childish BS that goes with having a column in which fans participate! May the New Year be better for our Cards and in turn better for you.

  44. By Nicolai on Dec 30, 2012 | Reply

    If you look at Washington team, it needed ONLY two rookies to change the entire team. The way how Arizona is playing with these 4 QB’s, this is not a team for Super ball. If you think just to qualify for playoff, you are not a team. Always think big and go for super ball or keep your cash in your wallet.

  45. By Scott H on Dec 31, 2012 | Reply

    Darren –

    You deserve credit for even responding at all to some of the idiocy I’ve seen here.

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