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Not wanting to repeat, Fitz is on the move

Posted by Darren Urban on June 13, 2013 – 4:10 pm

Last year, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts had a breakout season not coincidentally, he believed, after attending Larry Fitzgerald’s Minnesota workouts (where Shorts also decided to swim for the first time in the lake behind Fitz’s house, FYI). He noted recently that Fitz “works like he is broke.” So, after an offseason of change in which Fitzgerald for the first time is trying to learn three receiver positions so coach Bruce Arians can move him around more, Fitzgerald was asked Thursday exactly why he’d work like that.

“This last year would be enough to drive anybody over the edge,” Fitzgerald said. “I just don’t ever want a repeat of what happened last year. You put that kind of stuff on tape, it’s hard to keep a job.”

There were some laughs in Fitz’s impromptu, I’m-about-to-leave-until-camp-so-ask-what-you-need press conference. But talking about last year, and talking about why Fitz hasn’t talked a ton this offseason, Fitzgerald was definitely serious.

“It’s ‘Prove it’ for me,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not about the talking and the soundbites. It’s about getting back to the level of play I am accustomed to, and the level of play everybody is accustomed to.”

That apparently is starting, via Arians and assistant head coach Tom Moore, with moving Fitzgerald all over the place. That has made this offseason uncomfortable for Fitz. He’s played one spot since high school. Coaches have moved him in motion, but he’s never really lined up in the slot or in other facets of the passing game. Arians made it clear that was going to change, and Arians had huge success doing it with Reggie Wayne a year ago. The goal is obviously to make sure Fitzgerald doesn’t have another 71-catch, 798-yard season like 2012.

“Do you want 100 balls? If you want 100 balls, move around,” Arians said. “If they know where you are at it’s easier to take you out of your game. Reggie bought in right away last year and Larry is buying in now. It’s hard because when you are a veteran of their stature, you don’t like making mistakes. You get embarrassed. You have to put that behind you and learn multiple positions.”

There have been moments, especially earlier in the offseason, when Arians got on Fitzgerald during practice. Fitz, save for the Todd Haley years, rarely heard such things on the practice field. Now, that was mostly because he was so very good at what he did. He’s learning all over again.

“I’m a bit of a creature of habit,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve played the same position since I was a junior in high school, I’ve never had to move around, and I’ve gotten good at it. I think we all resist change to a certain degree, especially if you have had a little success. But as I have gone through these offseason workouts I have definitely become more receptive of it.

“Coach Arians has a wealth of knowledge with the defense that will be thrown at us and he tells me there will be a lot more opportunities to make plays inside and it will give my teammates like Andre Roberts and Michael (Floyd) and Rob Housler and guys like that better matchups as well. It’s not all about me, it’s about making this team go.”

As much as Fitzgerald will help Carson Palmer, he too can learn something from Palmer, who threw to a couple of pretty good receivers in Chad Johnson/Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Moore has backgrounds with Peyton Manning, Wayne and Marvin Harrison, along with Steelers Hall-of-Famers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann. Fitzgerald is hoping that knowledge comes in handy and was frequently talking with Moore prior to workouts this entire offseason.

Make no mistake, one of the reasons Fitzgerald was so salty about last year was the drop in his production. The losses were the biggest reason, but Fitzgerald wants to be considered one of the best and that’s tough when you aren’t even reaching 800 yards. If there are ways to avoid that again, Fitzgerald will buy in. He’ll work as if he’s broke — which is most certainly is far, far from — and figure out new positions. He’ll probably mention to Palmer too that single coverage means get Fitz the ball — just not right now.

“I’m too busy trying to learn where I’ve got to be and figure out my assignments,” Fitzgerald said. “Once I have that down, then I’ll try to get in his ear a little bit.”

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Posted in Blog | 18 Comments »


18 Responses to “Not wanting to repeat, Fitz is on the move”

  1. By Chuck 1 on Jun 13, 2013 | Reply

    I’m lovin’ it.

    BA: Master innovator.
    Moore: Dispensing a wealth of knowledge.
    Palmer: Eager to resurrect his career.
    Fitz: Determined to erase the nightmares of last season.
    What a combo.

  2. By dstock21CardinalsWINRLOSE on Jun 13, 2013 | Reply

    “Work like you’re broke” Sounds like a slogan for the year!

  3. By Mike61 on Jun 13, 2013 | Reply

    Freakin love it!! Go Cardz!!!

  4. By Eazy E on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    T.O. also helped Carson a bunch reviving his career after he retired. Fitz we know it ain’t your damn fault. #Sorry Ass QBs

  5. By Corgon on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    I know everybody knows, but still if you had the worst season of your life and you still in the thop 22 players in the world, then you are magnificent. Mr. Fitz, you are the best!!!!

  6. By Kevin on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    From a work ethic, professionalism, humbleness and a “team first” mentality, he reminds me more and more of Jerry Rice every year.

    His numbers are staggering (even in bad years) yet he remains unselfish and still mentors young receivers. Most players with his stats just talk about themselves (in the third person even!) and stamp their own ticket to Canton. Larry doesn’t need to, he leaves it on the field…just like the greats always do.

  7. By Sean44 on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    The brain has several different regions. The Visual Processing center and things like phonological loops. The loops are timed for speech, so thinking a word like “Bling” it processes in the brain as if speaking it. However, that slows down reaction time if you have to think “Go” to go.. it adds a slight delay to snap release.

    I think Arizona WR can get a lot faster with their snap release. Somewhere, they have to keep their mind silent and not go on a phonological loop process in the mind, but nearly instant visual process.. The Eyes connected to the legs, verses Eyes connected to inner monologue connect to the legs.

  8. By wnycardfan on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    That’s the kind of talk I like to hear, esp from someone like Fitz, he can prove it on the field. We just have to back him up (coaches) and its off to the races for the Cards.

  9. By CardsRepInChile on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    Great to hear, I don’t like that Larry’s always in the Z. Imagine Housler, Fitz in the slot, and Floyd outside, talk about hard to cover that stacked route tree!!

    Darren,

    Very excited about Housler’s maturation this year, but I know BA will run many double TE sets. King’s been out, who has been the other TE lining up with Housler? Has Dray gotten any 1st team reps?

    Thanks!

  10. By Darren Urban on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    CardsRep —

    RE: Dray

    Dray has gotten some reps, but don’t forget, King has been injured. We’ll see in camp.

  11. By Kevin S on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    Obviously in AZ we all know about Fitz’s work ethic and all-around admirable approach to the game, but it’s great to see stories like the one Darren linked to in the article where he’s getting props in Jacksonville as well.

  12. By ored on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    great that BA delegates responsibility to players,that way players feel more commitment to the players and team,not only to the coaches,can only imagine docket coming over saying,son,this is what you need to be doing,as only he can.how you gonna diss fitz or dd,not happening,soon there will be others,pp,washington,campbell,every year somebody else will be breaking out.i can feel this team growing already.

  13. By johnnybluenose on Jun 14, 2013 | Reply

    i’m a fan of larry fitzgerald but, like it or not, i don’t think he deserved to be rated as high as #22. i don’t give much credence to any of these ratings. fitz had a bad year last year. i know he had no help, no support and, for most of the year, no quarterback. but it seemed to me that he still had a hard time getting open and, when he did catch the ball, his yards after the catch were minimal. and subtract the meaningless catches he was given late in games that were long since decided and his stats are even worse. i think fitz has a lot to prove this year and i think he is going to be given every opportunity to show that he is still an elite player. but it gives me pause to read that arians has had to express some displeasure towards fitz. i don’t question for one second fitz’s desire or work ethic but it makes me wonder if fitz has maybe lost a step. it will be interesting to see how this plays out. like all of you i am hoping for the best, especially for fitzgerald.

  14. By Jason Cabrera on Jun 17, 2013 | Reply

    If you’re a defensive coordinator on an NFC West team, this is going to be a nightmare that will haunt you for years. Larry Fitzgerald…..EVERYWHERE!!! This is a brilliant move, and getting this kind of flexibility means causing fits for opponents’ secondarys.

    It adds to our overall potency, because while you’re trying to figure out how to corral 2 elite recievers (I see Floyd as emerging this year), a great receiver and 2 tough Tight Ends, that’s when you might just see Mendenhall or Williams break the Defense’s back with a big run!

    I’m so excited for this season!! GO CARDS!

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