Offensive Workhorse – Larry Fitzgerald, WR (Ari)
In my opinion, Larry Fitzgerald deserves the workhorse award every week. I feel like he’s easily among the top 10 wide receivers in the NFL and every week he puts everything he’s got into the game to try and get a win for his team. He has quite a daunting task too, as the Cardinals are a somewhat offensively challenged team. They have all of the pieces, they just need to put them together. Anyways, Fitzgerald had 7 catches for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of those receptions was a 37 yard, over the shoulder grab that placed Arizona on the one yard line. This set up the game winning play in which John Skelton found Early Doucet in the endzone to beat the Eagles 21-17. Now a lot of people look at the struggling Eagles and say, “Well their defense never shows up but their offense is poison.” They have the 11th ranked pass defense which probably isn’t up to par for the players they have, but that doesn’t mean that guys like Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha aren’t playing lockdown coverage. When you talk about Fitzgerald defenders’ names rarely matter. He’s got the speed, size, and athleticism to beat double and sometimes even triple coverage. I think people overlook and sometimes forget about him, just because of the team he plays for, but I respect number 11 and the effort he shows every week.
Defensive Workhorse – Andre Carter DE (NE)
It was between Andre Carter and Roman Harper for the defensive workhorse, but I’m certain that the better man won. Seeing as the Patriots have the worst all around defense, I felt like it was worthy that someone from New England stood out. The main reason for his outstanding performance was his franchise record setting 4.5 sacks against the Jets. His previous best sack total was 2.5 at Carolina in 2009 when he was still with the Redskins. The previous Pats record was held by Julius Adams, Tony McGee, and Mike Hawkins. It was Carter’s 3rd game this season with 2 or more sacks and he now leads the team with 9 on the season. Although the Patriots’ pass defense is ranked last, they fair very well against the run. Obviously their struggle against the pass is huge and has cost them so far this season, but to say that they are hopeless is a false assumption. There are plenty of young guys on this defense who will blossom into stars. Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty are two corners who are going to develop into top notch defenders. Jerod Mayo, Gary Guyton, and Brandon Spikes are linebackers who hit hard and play smart, I don’t really like the Patriots but they do have one of my favorite linebacking cores in the NFL. When you take the guys mentioned, and mix them up with a few key veterans like Vince Wilfork, Shaun Ellis, and Andre Carter, they will develop into the defenders that Bill Belichick is looking for. While some people doubt their likeliness of success, I’m just waiting for this defense to start showing they can play with the best, because they can and will.