TEMPE, Ariz. -- The most important cog in the Cardinals’ offense not named Carson Palmer has his wheels greased and is starting to roll.
It may have taken Larry Fitzgerald nearly all offseason to intimately learn all three wide receiver positions in Cardinals coach Bruce Arians’ new offense, but with a few days to spare until the season opener in St. Louis, Fitzgerald is feeling confident with his new roles.
“I’m ready,” Fitzgerald said. “Coach stays on me every day harping on the details. (Assistant head) Coach (Tom) Moore is always in my ear. I feel like I’m being coached by some of the best coaches in the league. They’re dependent me and I’m dependent on them. We’re ready to go.”
Under former coaches, Fitzgerald and the other receivers may have needed to learn less than 10 plays at their off positions, just enough to play in a few schemes. But Arians wants his receivers to be interchangeable across the field, leading to more movement and confusion for defenses.
It may have helped Fitzgerald that the number of plays he had to learn was reduced significantly. As in from 5,000 -- Fitzgerald may have been exaggerating but with Arians, one never knows -- to about a 100, including 25 for the red zone.
The more condensed the playbook, the better Fitzgerald can study his reads and routes.
“Mentally you’re so much more relaxed because you know exactly what you need to do on every single play,” Fitzgerald said.
“So you can play a lot faster.”