Larry Fitzgerald has 27 catches this season, not enough to crack the NFL's top 20. His 427 receiving yards rank 12th in the league, 358 behind NFL leader Wes Welker. Fitzgerald has 67 career touchdown receptions but just two this year.
Those statistics are tempered by the fact his Arizona Cardinals have played five games while others have played six, but the point remains that Fitzgerald and new quarterback Kevin Kolb have yet to click the way they had envisioned.
Still, Fitzgerald said he's experiencing "no frustration at all" that he isn't getting the ball more often or that the Cardinals don't have a stronger No. 2 receiver, as he expressed to The Arizona Republic earlier this week.
"Things come in bunches, you know," Fitzgerald said after practice Thursday. "I'm always going to stay confident and try to be ready when my number's called. You can't allow that stuff to seep into your mind, the doubt or anything like that, you've got to just stay positive."
Fitzgerald said his recent comments weren't intended to criticize the current makeup of the team, which is 1-4 and has lost four in a row entering Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fitzgerald said he was only pointing out that the Cardinals' 2008 Super Bowl squad was loaded with talent.
"He asked me what's different about 2008, and I just explained to him you've got to remember Kurt Warner was here, he's a Hall of Famer. Anquan Boldin was here, he's a three- or four-time Pro Bowler," Fitzgerald said of an Arizona Republic reporter. "I mean, we had Antrel Rolle, we had Karlos Dansby. We're talking about Pro Bowl-caliber guys on both sides of the ball. I wasn't saying that we 'need' these type of players."
Fitzgerald also told the newspaper that "right now, teams are saying, 'Fitzgerald is over here, we're not going to let him beat us. We're going to do whatever it takes to hold him down and not allow him to do that.' "
Fitzgerald wishes he had expressed himself differently. He normally goes out of his way to avoid controversial comments, especially about his teammates.
"I'm never going to throw anybody under the bus, man," he said.
The first thing teams facing Arizona try to do is take Fitzgerald out of the equation. Where the Cardinals once had Boldin and Steve Breaston at the other wide receiver spots, there is Andre Roberts and Early Doucet. But Fitzgerald refuses to get upset about the smothering coverages after being targeted a team-high 43 times with his 27 catches.
"I don't really think of it like that," he said. "The defense is going to do what the defense is going to do. We have to adjust off of it. It doesn't matter if Jerry Rice is playing here or Shannon Sharpe or we had a team of all stars. The ball has to go where it's supposed to go. It's as simple as that."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.