Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald learning to play all over the field

Jun 14, 2013, 10:36 PM | Updated: 11:47 pm

In nine NFL seasons, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has made seven Pro Bowl appearances, recorded 1,000 yards or more six times and owns the all-time record for receiving yards in a single postseason.

And, he’s done it all at one position.

That’s all changed for the All-Pro wideout this offseason, as new head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin have implemented a system that has Fitzgerald roaming from the X, Y and Z positions.

“I wouldn’t say it’s been difficult,” said Fitzgerald, who is learning a new offense for the first time since 2007. “I think as a human being you’re a bit of a creature of habit. I’ve played the same position since I was in junior high school. I’ve never had to really move around and you know I’ve gotten good at it. So I think we all resist change to a certain degree, especially if you’ve had a little bit of success. But as I’ve gone through the offseason workouts, I’ve definitely become more receptive of it.

“Coach Arians has a wealth of knowledge and an understanding of schemes defensively that we’re going to be thrown at. He tells me there are going to be a lot more opportunities to make plays inside, it’s going to give my teammates Andre Roberts, Michael [Floyd], Rob Housler and guys like that better matchups, as well. It’s not all about me, it’s about making this team go. We know that if this team is going, it’s because the offense is putting points on the board.”

While the motive behind moving Fitzgerald around is partially to free up his teammates, Arians noted that the goal ultimately is to get the former No. 3 overall pick back to the production level he’s accustomed to being at.

During the Cardinals’ 5-11 campaign in 2012, Fitzgerald caught a career-low four touchdowns and fell below the 1,000-yard mark for the first time since 2006.

“It’s a matter of do you want 100 balls,” Arians said. “If you want 100 balls, move around. If they know where you’re at, it’s easy to take you out of the game.”

Adding an element of versatility to a Pro Bowl wide receiver’s game is nothing new for Arians. As the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator in 2012, Arians
forced 13-year veteran Reggie Wayne to move around the field and the results were instantaneous. Wayne caught 106 passes for 1,355 yards to go along with five touchdowns.

Although the Cardinals have only gone through OTAs and minicamp, Arians said he’s pleased with the progress Fitzgerald has already made despite the transition.

“Reggie [Wayne] bought in right away last year,” said Arians. “Fitz is buying in now. It’s hard for a veteran of their stature, because you don’t want to make mistakes and you get embarrassed.

“We’ve got to put all of that behind us and learn another position, or multiple positions so people can’t just say, ‘Hey, he’s lining up at the weak-side position, and we’re going to double him.’ We can’t allow that to happen.”

Life Changer Loans


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

General manager Steve Keim (R) of the Arizona Cardinals talks with president Michael Bidwill before...
Dan Bickley

Cardinals’ stars need to justify lack of offseason spending on defense

The Cardinals are carrying some luggage, baggage and a lot of question marks into the 2022 season, but they have room in the overhead bins.
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals RB Eno Benjamin runs through drills during training camp on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022...
Tyler Drake

Eno Benjamin headlines Arizona Cardinals players to watch vs. Bengals

The Cardinals' first taste of 2022 preseason action comes Friday against the Bengals. A look at who to keep tabs on in Cincinnati:
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley throws a pass during the NFL football team's training ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Chip on shoulder, Cardinals QB Trace McSorley can use Friday to impress

Trace McSorley will start with both Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy sidelined on Friday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
23 hours ago
Follow @KellanOlson...
Kellan Olson

Kyler Murray signs extension with Bidwill in latest ‘Cardinals Flight Plan’

The latest episode of "Cardinals Flight Plan" released on Wednesday and profiled a few of the biggest stories in the last few weeks.
2 days ago
Tight end Stephen Anderson #89 of the Arizona Cardinals participants in a team training camp at Sta...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals notebook: TE Stephen Anderson leaning on his versatility

The Arizona Cardinals' tight ends room is about as stacked as it's ever been. So where does that leave a guy like Stephen Anderson?
23 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals DL Manny Jones runs through drills during OTAs on Monday, May 23, 2022, in Tempe....
Tyler Drake

Is that K1? Manny Jones stole Cardinals’ rookie show with Kyler Murray skit

Cardinals DL Manny Jones' impression of Kyler Murray for the rookie talent show on Tuesday had the team doubled over in laughter.
2 days ago
Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald learning to play all over the field