Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said it was "devastating" to witness a major blow to the defense with Monday's season-ending injury to Darnell Dockett -- but he said this year's offense is deep and talented enough to create concerns for opposing defenses.
"For me, it was personally really tough to see him down, with the history that we've had together -- all the big games and ups and downs throughout our career we've had together -- and to see a guy that works that hard, who's only missed two games his entire career playing at the defensive (end) position, is really astonishing," Fitzgerald said Tuesday on the Bickley and Marotta show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM .
"All injuries are bad, but when you're talking about a guy who's been a fixture of your defense for many years, who's a constant high-level performer for many years, it's a devastating blow."
Fitzgerald said whoever takes Dockett's place on the defensive line will have big shoes to fill.
"We have to find a way to weather the storm. We've got to win for him. I know he's going to be here with us in spirit," he said.
With the losses of Dockett, linebacker Daryl Washington (suspension) and linebacker Karlos Dansby (free agency), there is perhaps more pressure on the Cardinals' offense to perform heading into the regular season. Fortunately, Fitzgerald said this year's offense is loaded with dangerous players at running back, tight end and, of course, wide receiver.
"We have a lot of weapons and a lot of guys to beat you, and that just gives defenses so much more to prepare for," he said. "We have a lot of guys that can beat you in different facets, with the way Michael (Floyd) has continued to come forward and the speed that we have in Ted Ginn and the versatility that Jaron Brown brings and the explosiveness that John Brown brings, and Brittan Golden -- we have a lot of guys that can play and play fast, and can do a lot of different things…
"Guys are versatile in terms of what they can do, and that just presents many more problems (for opposing defenses)."