FTP: Fitzgerald is having 'an average year'

Flush the Pocket will be your daily morning dose of the Arizona Cardinals. It’ll recap the top story line from the previous day and give you a look at what everyone is saying locally and nationally.

TEMPE, Ariz. – Larry Fitzgerald was handed a new playbook in April and told to learn a new set of positions he’d never played before.

It took him and his teammates a while to adjust to Arizona coach Bruce Arians’ scheme, but when they did, they flourished, going 7-1 in their last eight games to get to the brink of the playoffs. But that’s more important to Fitzgerald than how he’s performed through 16 games.

“It’s an average year,” Fitzgerald said. “I just think about where we are as a team as opposed to where we were last year or the year before, playing meaningful games in December, having a chance to win 11 games , matching our best in franchise history.”

With 76 receptions for 841 yards and 10 touchdowns with one game left, Fitzgerald is far off from his typical 1,000-yard seasons. But 2013 has been much better than 2012. Last year he had 798 yards and a career-low four touchdowns on 71 receptions. His 10 scores this season are Fitzgerald’s most since 2009.

But Arians wants more out of Fitzgerald, especially after he “gutted” out half the season hurt while learning his new positions.

“I would’ve liked to have seen him get that 1,000 yards, for sure, but his touchdowns are up to where we want them to be,” Arians said. “I’d like to see him get a few more. We would’ve liked to have about a 15-touchdown year out of him, and hopefully we’ll have at least 12.”

In other news…

Marc Sessler of NFL.com writes about Calais Campbell saying Arizona is the best NFC team. ... Bob McManaman of AZCentral.com writes about the Cardinals’ Monday preparation. ... Craig Morgan of FoxSportsArizona.com writes about the Cardinals’ playoff fortunes. ... Kyle Odegard of AZCardinals.com writes about the defenses in the NFC West. ... And Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com writes about Larry Fitzgerald’s season.