John McNulty was talking with Larry Fitzgerald after interviewing for the Cards’ open spot of quarterbacks coach. Fitz liked working with his receivers coach enough that he flew McNulty to the Pro Bowl this season as a guest, and he wondered (worried?) aloud to McNulty about who would end up coaching Fitzgerald if McNulty moved to work with QBs.
But McNulty had a simple thought: He thought he could help the quarterback spot, and that, in turn, could help the whole offense.
“I said, ‘Larry, we can sit here and complain about it and be frustrated, or I can try to do something about it,’ ” McNulty said. “I coached the position before, I think I can help those guys and I feel I can get them in a position where they can be more productive for our team. As opposed to, ‘I hope the next guy does this’ or ‘I wish we would do that.’ I figured I’d just throw the hat in the ring.”
One thing you definitely get the feeling of, and it’s McNulty’s passion and confidence in his new job. That’s what came across when he interviewed for the spot (and why both Ken Whisenhunt and president Michael Bidwill were so impressed).
“We’re beyond the replacing-of-Kurt-Warner at this stage,” McNulty said. “That’s not what we are talking about. When we are talking about production, you don’t have to win the game on your own, put the team on your shoulders.
“I’ve always taken a ground zero-type approach to teaching even the most base plays and teaching the fundamentals, where the mental and physical kind of mesh to the point to where, when it is all flying at you full speed, your body, your footwork, your training takes over, and you are able to operate with an efficiency to where the play is designed to operate. Anything after that, there’s enough going on in the game that anything can happen, good and bad. But you have to be on point with what you are supposed to do. That comes with repetitions.”
McNulty would love to get Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Rich Bartel working on those reps now, although the new collective bargaining agreement prohibits work with coaches for a while. Whenever it is, however, McNulty wants his players going over footwork, mentally picturing plays and blitzes and the like, and having the quarterbacks do it over and over. And over, and over again.
“The nature of the business, if you are not productive, you won’t play,” McNulty said. “We have talented guys that have shown they can play and win games. It’s a matter of doing it more consistently.”
There is a familiarity with the quarterbacks that will help with the process. McNulty has seen Kolb and Skelton each from the first days they arrived in Arizona and has been able to observe what their strengths are and what needs improvement. Those are specifics with which to start, although, McNulty said, “there is no preconceived notion of who is going to be ‘The Guy.’ Just more of a knowledge base.”
As for Fitzgerald’s new boss, Fitz kept it simple in a text message when asked about what he thought of Reich coming aboard: “Congrats, and welcome to the family.”
Tags: coaching staff, Frank Reich, John McNulty, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Rich Bartel
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