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Larry Fitzgerald Transitions Again To New Offense

Notes: Veteran ready for end of camp; Defense works on run defense

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald watches the quarterback prior to a snap last week in New Orleans.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald watches the quarterback prior to a snap last week in New Orleans.

The last time Larry Fitzgerald was learning a new offense, there were some bumpy moments under Bruce Arians as the wide receiver transitioned inside more often.

"I was comfortable at that point," Fitzgerald said Thursday. "I don't know how comfortable he was with me."

But as Fitzgerald's first training camp under this coaching staff and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy winds down, Fitzgerald acknowledged it is impossible not to have a hiccup or two during a transition.

"It always takes time for players to adjust to coaches, coaches to adjust to players," Fitzgerald said. "There are going to be growing pains. There always are when changes are made. We're all adults. We're all mature. We'll work through that for the betterment of the team."

Fitzgerald said he has gone into any new offense during his career "with an open mind," and this system is no different. It has forced him to study hard and get deep into the playbook, he added.

Fitzgerald is the one receiver who already knows his role, as the top pass catcher. McCoy, talking about the receivers room Thursday, didn't get specific about where the other wideouts rate but praised the ongoing competition.

"I think we'll have tough decisions to make," McCoy said.

At this point, Fitzgerald – who will turn 35 next week – is thinking more about the regular season than anything left in the preseason, including Sunday's "dress rehearsal" in Dallas.

"I know this is a big game – or as big as a preseason game can be – but 15 years (in), next Thursday (and the preseason finale) can't come fast enough," Fitzgerald said.

Part of that is about his health.

"I feel great. I want to keep it that way," Fitzgerald added. "That's why I want the preseason over. The real games start coming and the real checks start coming."

ALL ABOUT THE DISCIPLINE WHEN IT COMES TO RUN DEFENSE

The Cardinals struggled playing the run last week in New Orleans, giving up more than six yards an attempt. They will not be helped with the likely absence of their top three defensive tackles in Dallas, all of whom are banged up, but the problem goes beyond talent level.

"What we have do a better job of, as a defensive front and as a defense in general, is being disciplined in our gaps," defensive coordinator Al Holcomb said. "And trusting in the system. Guys are in position, then someone gets nosy, jumps out of their gap, and all of a sudden, the ball is on the second level and it is a 15-yard gain."

Cornerback Patrick Peterson said the defense has been working on its run fits this week, in a direct response to the rough game against the Saints. Peterson said the hope is that the Cards also clean up some sloppy tackling.

Holcomb said the defensive coaches have preached '1-11' – the idea that each of the 11 players has his part to play – every day.

"As simple as it sounds, that's all it is," Holcomb said.

GLENNON FEELS "GOOD," ROSEN STATUS STILL UNKNOWN

Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, who sat out practice Wednesday with a sore thumb, was back in a helmet Thursday during the open portion of practice. But in that open portion, he was the only quarterback not throwing passes.

Coach Steve Wilks does not meet with the media again until Friday, and McCoy deferred a Rosen health question to the head coach.

Quarterback Mike Glennon, however, is doing more after missing last week's game with a sore forearm. Glennon declined to get into specifics of the injury but said "I feel good" and looked forward to playing Sunday in Dallas.

"I haven't had to deal with sitting out in preseason before," Glennon said. "That's been unique. At the same time, you feel way more prepared (as a veteran.) You know what to expect when the season comes. It's definitely different than Josh's situation, where everything is brand new."

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