Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin, shown last week against the 49ers, won't sit on his laurels.
Anyone that has watched Cardinals football for the past few years, knows that WR Anquan Boldin doesn't make excuses. He is one of the hardest working players in the NFL, a Pro Bowl receiver in a league filled with a glut of talent at the position.
They have seen his grinding, twisting, turning, churning, tackle-breaking abilities on display, and most appreciate the kind of player he is. And the kind of man he is.
Playing for a historically lousy team in the desert isn't exactly how you want to put yourself on the football map. But Q did just that from his rookie season, on.
As a rookie, Boldin caught 101 passes for over 1330 yards and eight touchdowns. Some guys burst onto the scene with fine rookie efforts. Boldin exploded, destroying the Detroit Lions defense for 10 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
He quickly became my favorite receiver in the game. Not so much because of the huge numbers he put up. But more because of how he accumulated those numbers.
Fast forward to last season. Two pro-bowls and one contract re-negotiation removed from that rookie season, Boldin is still right up there at the top. He may be one-two with fellow All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald, but none of the recent flap over his contract had deminished what the guy does on the field in my eyes.
Last season's speedy and gutsy return from having his face blown up in the Meadowlands just added to his legacy. His tackle-breaking/staying in bounds TD against the Falcons added even more, even though you could see him pulling up 10 yards from the goalline with (you guessed it) that hamstring injury.
Many fans, egged on by a media that loves making mountains out of molehills, kind of lost favor with Q after his (actually, since fired agent Drew Rosenhause's) threats and eventual trade demand. But knowledgele fans are well aware that without Anquan Boldin last season, there would have been no Super Bowl XLIII appearence.
Boldin hasn't practiced in weeks. He has that nagging hamstring injury, an injury that you can't know what it feels like unless you experience it yourself. Most of us would want crutches to walk from our car to the building. But not Q.
Most observers thought that Boldin likely wouldn't play against San Francisco. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt is notorious for keeping guys off the field on Sunday if they can't be on the prectice field Wednesday through Saturday. It didn't look good.
But when Anquan Boldin got word that fellow receiver Steve Breaston wouldn't be able to play, even though he HAD practiced all week, Q knew what he had to do. He went to coach Whiz and asked (I'm guessing rather emphaytically) to be inserted into the lineup. The ultimate 'take one for the team' request.
The Cardinals look at facing a similar team in Jacksonville this Sunday as they faced last week in Glendale, and are asking themselves what's missing from last seasons magic. Yet as the players, the media, and the fans are trying to put their collective fingers on the ills of the sputtering offense, Q refuses to buy a lot of what's being sold.
"Its not that we can't put our finger on it. We know what it was. It's not like it can't be fixed," Boldin said on Wednesday. "I don't think we're missing anything," he continues. "We just need to play deciplined football."
That the Cardinals had half a dozen penalties before the ball was snapped last week, four from the offense and from four different players, shows that Q knows what he's talking about. He added that there were too many times it was "...just guys not paying attention."
But when asked if injuries played a part, Boldin wouldn't take the bait. "I told you exactly what it is," he said. "We probably had six pre-snap penalties. That's something we can control. It's just guys not paying attention to detail."
Coach Whisenhunt agrees. "If we could get a play where all 11 guys were operating the right way, that would help to start with."
Q says he feels better this week than at the same point last week. That's good news for the Cardinals. And not exactly what the Jaguars want to hear.
Anquan Boldin doesn't mince words. He doesn't say a lot, letting his game do the talking for him. But when he does speak, players listen. The sooner they listen, and take to heart what's said, the sooner this offense will get back to it's 'Super Bowl' form.