It was a big deal when Bruce Arians arrived with the Cardinals in 2013 and moved Larry Fitzgerald from the outside to slot receiver.
The results were mixed in the first two seasons, but Fitzgerald flourished in the role the past three. He finished with 325 catches for 3,394 yards and 21 touchdowns from 2015-17, remarkable numbers for a wideout in his 30s.
Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has taken over as the new Xs and Os visionary, and while planning is still in its infant stages, Fitzgerald said he has been asked to study the outside receiver responsibilities as well as the slot.
“He asked us to learn everything conceptually,” Fitzgerald said. “I know ‘X’, I know ‘Z’, I know ‘F’ (the different receiver positions). If they tell me to go play something, I can play it right now. When we roll the ball out the first of September, I have no idea what my role will be. I think roles will be defined as they see what we do on the field, what guys are good at. Can you do this? Can’t you do that? I think that will evolve as we go. I just do as I’m told right now, making sure I know what I need to do conceptually so I can play at a high level.”
Learning every position is not a surprise, as Fitzgerald moved outside on occasion under Arians. Between his age and recent production, it seems likely Fitzgerald still spends the majority of the time in the slot under the new regime, but his role should become more concrete as the season gets close.
Fitzgerald wasn’t enthused about moving inside when Arians requested him to five years ago. After all the success there, he was asked on Tuesday if that position is now his preference.
“It doesn’t matter where I go,” Fitzgerald said. “I feel like I can do a little bit of everything. I’m not like a master of any one thing now. I can kind of do a lot of different things. I think that makes me a better football player because I can play across the board.”