The numbers weren’t great for the Pro Bowl receiver — 75 catches, less than 1,000 yards, four touchdowns — but then again, the quarterback situation wasn’t great either.
It was difficult for Reggie Wayne.
Wait, you thought I was talking about Larry Fitzgerald? Well, part of the story plays out as a parallel for sure. Wayne, the Colts’ veteran, had statistics (75-960-4) in 2011 that mirrored what Fitz dealt with in 2012 (71-798-4). But when Bruce Arians came in to Indianapolis as offensive coordinator before the 2012 season, one of his goals was to make Wayne the impact player he had always been. Now that Arians is head coach of the Cardinals, he has the same plans for Fitz.
“As a receiver, you can’t hand it to them, you have to throw it to them,” Arians said. “They can double-cover him, and you don’t throw it to him if he is double-covered and someone else is single-covered. You’ve got to take what is there as a quarterback, but you do have to get him the ball because he is such a tremendous talent.
“When I first met with Reggie, Reggie had been on the left side for 10 years. The first day of spring I put him over there on the right, and he looked like he had palsy. I said, ‘It’ll come. You have to retrain your body here. Wait until I put you in the slot.’ There was buy-in.”
Now, Fitzgerald is ahead of the curve there. The Cardinals have been moving him around for a while now, just to get him open. Wayne’s resurgence not coincidentally benefited from the arrival of Andrew Luck at quarterback, and as of today, it doesn’t look like a Luck-type will end up behind center for the Cardinals this season. But Arians understands the ball must end up with Fitz more often than it did last season.
Wayne, by the way, had 106 catches for 1,355 yards and five touchdowns in 2012.
Tags: Bruce Arians, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne
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