In the days following his hiring, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians met with a handful of players not only to introduce himself but to share his expectations for the coming season.
One of those players was second-year wide receiver Michael Floyd, who had an up-and-down rookie campaign in Arizona under the direction of Ken Whisenhunt, catching 45 balls for 562 yards and two touchdowns.
Whatever was spoken between player and coach during their initial meeting certainly sparked a fire underneath the former No. 13 overall pick, as he had a career year in 2013. Floyd caught 65 passes for a team-leading 1,041 yards to go along with five touchdowns.
“I think Michael is starting to reach his potential,” Arians told the assembled media at the NFL Combine this week. “He had what I considered a breakout year with over 1,000 yards. He still needs to be a little more consistent each week.”
During his breakout year, the former Notre Dame standout had a remarkable streak that spanned the entire month of January, catching 25 straight passes for first downs, culminating with a 31-yard, game-winning touchdown reception in a 16-10 win at Seattle.
But Arians admitted that what impressed him most from the still-maturing wideout was his ability to play through pain. Despite suffering from a handful of maladies, including a sprained shoulder and ailing ankle, Floyd played in all 16 of Arizona’s contests.
“He played through injuries for the first time, which is a huge step for a young player to play through injuries,” said Arians. “A lot of times they’ll just sit themselves down. He wanted to win. He wanted to help us win. I thought he made great strides.
“Now this year, can he do it again? That’ll be the question for him.”
If he can, the Cardinals might have found their star wide receiver of the future.