In 15th NFL training camp, Larry Fitzgerald may have newness ahead
GLENDALE, Ariz. — After 14 full seasons in the NFL, there probably isn’t much that Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t seen.
But even though he’s probably earned the right to enjoy familiarity in his 15th training camp, there will be some adjustments to new things — and new people, in particular — in 2018.
“I never allowed myself to think I have anything figured out, you’re always learning and trying to improve,” Fitzgerald said Sunday, the Cardinals’ second full day of camp. “2018, it’s going to be a year of unexpected things, some things I’ll have to deal with, some things I’m going to have to learn.”
For one, Fitzgerald will be receiving passes from a new quarterback. Sam Bradford, Josh Rosen and Mike Glennon are all new to the roster in 2018 after Carson Palmer retired and former Cardinals Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert left in free agency this offseason.
Then there’s the new coach, Steve Wilks, who replaced the retired Bruce Arians and brought in a new offensive coordinator in Mike McCoy to take over for Harold Goodwin.
Then, maybe, there could be a position change (again).
Originally playing on the perimeter, Fitzgerald moved to slot receiver after Arians took over in 2013. He’s put up three 1,000+ yard seasons in the five he’s played since then and led the league in receptions in 2016, but it’s unclear at this point where he’ll play in the all-new offense.
“Two days ago, when [Wilks] first addressed the team, he said roles will be defined as camp and the season goes on and they’re going to change based on how guys are playing and obviously injuries are going to occur. So I’m not allowing myself to think that this is going to be this way or I’m going to be doing that.
“Anywhere I can be productive, I’m all for it. … It has its perks either way. As long as my number’s being called on Sundays, I’m happy wherever I’m at.”
Similar to Fitzgerald, Wilks wouldn’t say exactly where the future Hall of Fame receiver would play.
“Well one of the great things when trying to assemble a staff, looking at Mike McCoy, I love the offenses he’s been in, most importantly the quarterbacks he’s worked with. … Mike’s going to do a good job of moving Larry around. He’s been in the slot, he can play outside, he’s definitely one of our playmakers and we’ve got to find ways to get him the football.”
Fitzgerald’s fate may lie in the hands of the coaching staff when it comes to where he lines up, the receiver gave a nod to McCoy’s flexibility on having an open dialogue.
And Xs and Os aside, Fitz is happy to be back in the office.
“It’s good to be back. You always have those pre-camp jitters, it’s no different from year one. A lot of new faces, a lot excitement, a new system, the coaching staff. So it’s definitely a lot of changes. It gets you more excited.”