Year after year, Larry Fitzgerald somehow manages to piece it all together and defy the odds. Whether it is as a key cog in a Super Bowl run or as a legitimate receiving threat with just mediocre quarterbacks throwing him the ball, Fitz is truly an amazing football player.
His NFL peers recently recognized his outstanding play by ranking him the 7th best player in the league during the 2011 season.
Pro Football Focus, a premium stats site that is about as accurate as it gets in grading players and their level of performance, loved Fitzgerald almost as much as his fellow colleagues did. They rated him as the 9th most effective player in 2011.
PFF begins by noting that with better quarterback play, it is highly likely that Fitzgerald's numbers would have been much improved, thus warranting him an even better grade. Still, he was targeted the third most of any receivers in the NFL at 151 times. Oh, and during the whole season, he had just three drops. Three.
The statistic that is perhaps the most mind boggling is that he had over 1,400 yards receiving with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton under center. He consistently found ways to be productive, despite the circumstances he was placed in. Cardinals fans should not be surprised, though, as that is something he has been doing for his entire career.
Could he have been higher on the list? Perhaps. In front of him were some very good players, but players that could be considered as products of their system and teammates. Would Rob Gronkowski have been as effective without Tom Brady throwing him the ball? It's hard to say, as he is a very good tight end, but then again, Brady is a future Hall of Famer.
So once again, congrats to Fitz on his latest personal achievement. Hopefully the next one will be him finally being able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.