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Cardinals' Passing Game Pieces 'Anxious' To Reunite

Larry Fitzgerald wants to build on 2019 season with Kyler Murray

WR Larry Fitzgerald (right) hopes to get together with QB Kyler Murray once or twice before training camp.
WR Larry Fitzgerald (right) hopes to get together with QB Kyler Murray once or twice before training camp.

There are two Cardinals quarterbacks throwing to skill players in Arizona right now, but when the lead singer is missing, it's hard to say the band is back together.

While backups Brett Hundley and Chris Streveler are building chemistry with Christian Kirk, Trent Sherfield and others, Kyler Murray remains in Dallas.

Larry Fitzgerald said the passing game pieces are trying to work out the logistics to convene before training camp, and that Murray "is anxious get with his teammates."

"Talking to him, he loves being around us," Fitzgerald said. "He wants to take this to the next level and build on what he was able to accomplish last year, NFL Rookie of the Year. He's got a lot of guys who want to play well for him, and he wants to do the same for us. Hopefully we will be able to do it here pretty soon."

Fitzgerald often hosts teammates in his hometown of Minneapolis, but said the coronavirus has made it tougher to coordinate schedules and iron out logistics. He said the plan is for the players to unite for one or two sessions before training camp begins.

"We're working on it," Fitzgerald said.

Like many of his teammates, Fitzgerald likes the look of the Cardinals' roster -- which added All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins among others this offseason -- but the longtime veteran also knows on-paper optimism doesn't automatically translate to on-field success.

"We have some great, talented players individually, but you're only as good as your collective team," Fitzgerald said. "We have to get on the practice field. We have to work through some kinks. We have to get new guys acclimated to what we're doing. I think everybody is anxious to get back to work and get on the field, kind of see exactly what we have."

While the lack of on-field work may be a detriment, Fitzgerald believes it has been a positive in a more worldly scope. He recently returned to his hometown of Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd, and the ensuing position group conversations have been enlightening.

The Cardinals' receivers coach, David Raih, is white, as is assistant Jerry Sullivan, while most of the players are black.

"Our group has come together and bonded in a way that I don't think would have been possible if we were together, as far as on the field, because when you're on the field, the actual work becomes the most important," Fitzgerald said. "Once you get out of practice, you're not talking about social issues. When you're in more of a virtual forum, those things can be accessed and talked about in a much more readily available fashion. We've grown so much in the last few weeks, and hopefully we can continue to do that."

Hopkins is the lone major new addition among the wide receivers and is assimilating well. Fitzgerald said he has already made an impression by being punctual, taking notes and asking questions in the football portion of the meetings.

"I've known DeAndre since he was in college," Fitzgerald said. "We've had a great relationship for the last eight, nine years. Somebody that I highly respect and admire the way he goes about his business. I couldn't be more happy to have him on the team. He's a wonderful person for Christian, Trent, Hakeem (Butler), Andy (Isabella), Kee (Johnson) and the other young guys to be able to learn from."

The receivers are trying their best to navigate this unique offseason, one which will officially close soon without on-field work. The logistical issues of getting together with Murray is the latest hurdle the group faces.

Fitzgerald said it's important for the Cardinals to roll with the punches as the season inches closer.

"Whatever the landscape looks like, the fastest team that is able to adapt and make that their new norm will come out on top," Fitzgerald said.

Images from the Cardinals' 32-25 win over Philadelphia to advance to the Super Bowl. Listen to the re-air on Wednesday at 6 p.m. on 98.7 FM, Arizona's Sports Station.

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