TEMPE, Ariz. — Like the offense as a whole, Larry Fitzgerald appeared more comfortable as the 2013 season progressed.
It was a bit of a bounce-back season for the Pro Bowler, whose 82 receptions were the most he’d had since 2010 and his 10 touchdowns his highest total since 2009.
About to enter his 11th NFL season, all with the Cardinals, the 30-year-old admits he’s more comfortable now than he was a year ago when he was being asked to learn new positions and a different offense by a first-year coaching staff.
“It’s light years ahead, so much more comfortable,” he said after an OTA Tuesday. “With the play calling and what my assignments are. And not only what my assignments are, but what conceptually what everybody’s doing and what everybody has and hots and sights and stuff like that.
“It’s night and day.”
It’s the difference between year one and year two in a new system, and it was apparent as last season went on that Fitzgerald, who caught 46 passes for 484 yards and five touchdowns over the final eight games, six of which were Arizona victories.
That success has translated into momentum that has carried over to this offseason.
“We watched the tape from last year at this time, there’s a stark contrast, so it’s great to see guys flying around knowing exactly what they need to do,” he said.
So perhaps it should not come as a surprise that there is no shortage of confidence at this point, which is a time of year where some players, especially veterans, may find it tough to stay completely motivated.
That’s not the case in Arizona, Fitzgerald said, noting that everyone in the locker room believes in each other and has no complaints about what they’re being asked to do, even if it means working out in the desert sun, which nobody else in the NFL has to deal with.
“There’s nobody holding their head down, everybody is eager to be out here getting better.”