Fitgerald didn't just stiff arm the defender there, he straight up turned into his own blocker. Imagine the kind of confidence you have to have in yourself to tuck the football under one arm and just go at a grown man like he's a blocking sled.
His ability to body up one-on-one against defensive backs is no fluke, though. Earlier this season, his teammates spoke about how he has quietly become one of - if not the best - blocking receivers in the NFL.
“I think he is the best in the game,” Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said of Fitzgerald's blocking skills. “I would take him over a lot of tight ends in the blocking game and it’s nothing but will and want-to. There are a lot of guys that don’t want to and a lot of guys that look like they can. He obviously looks like he can and does it. There are not a lot of guys that do that at his position.”
His head coach Bruce Arians expanded on that sentiment, explaining that Fitgerald's abilities go beyond his impressive 6'3", 218 lb frame.
“His heart. You block with your heart,” Arians said. “You see a lot of wide receivers go, ‘I could’ve got him.’ No, you could’ve got him and you just didn’t. He gets it.”
Fitzgerald himself admits that it's an aspect of his game that he has focused specifically on as he has gotten older, in order to broaden his skillset and the ways in which he can be an asset to his offense.
“It wasn’t something that was really high on my priority list when I was younger, but here for us to be able to have great team success it requires the wide receivers to do some blocking,” Fitzgerald said. “And so for us to be able to have the success I know that we’re capable of, guys have to do some things that maybe they weren’t good at before... I’m much more comfortable doing it and I just hope to continue to improve at it.”
I'd say that not only had he improved, he may have just set the new standard. If he keeps at it the way he has, Fitzgerald may just start giving Rob Gronkowski a run for his money.
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