Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is feeling relaxed after spending an offseason digesting the new playbook.
Larry Fitzgerald isn't going to forget about it – a third-and-2 red-zone play against Dallas in the preseason, a play in which had he made the right hot read "I would've caught that and walked into the end zone."
"Just stupid mistakes," the Pro Bowl wide receiver said.
Those are gone, Fitzgerald believes, from both his game and the offense's. Coach Bruce Arians said he was pleased with where all the wide receivers are in their preparation for Sunday's season-opener against the Rams, in part because the playbook is pared down so significantly.
Fitzgerald was one of the players significantly impacted by Arians' arrival, especially having to learn all three receiver positions. The ability of the Fitzgerald to narrow down what needs to be
studied can only help.
"Training camp, you have no idea what the plays will be day-to-day," Fitzgerald said. "He has the whole playbook at his disposal, and for B.A. that's like 5,000 plays.
"This week, you have 25 red-zone plays, 25 … it's really condensed. So you can really focus on what you need to, from your 'hots' to your sights to your adjustments. Mentally, you are so much more relaxed because you know what you need to do on every single play."
Fitzgerald said he has been able to get past the frustrations of last season, and is intent on looking forward. A rebound season seems inevitable after a miserable 2012, and Fitzgerald said he has no doubt he is prepared.
"Coach stays on me every day, harping on the details," Fitzgerald said. "Coach (Tom) Moore is always in my ear. I feel like I'm being coached by some of the best coaches in the league."
GETTING AGGRESSIVE ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE
Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett said he thinks the scheme by new coordinator Todd Bowles is more aggressive than last year's version under Ray Horton. But Dockett still sees the key to the defense starting with himself, fellow end Calais Campbell and whomever else is playing on the defensive line at any given time.
"I don't think any team in the NFL wants to dial up a blitz every down just to get pressure," Dockett said. "You want your defensive line to get pressure and let your guys cover."
Frostee Rucker, with half a sack, was the only defensive lineman to notch a sack in the preseason. Bowles didn't sound overly concerned with that. "Hopefully you can get to the quarterback in the regular season, whether you rush three, four or (blitz)," he said.
Bowles added that he was fine with the play of Dockett and Campbell in the preseason as well.
"Those guys are hard workers and they are very talented," Bowles said. "They didn't play a lot. We have to make sure they are ready to go."
ARIANS HELPS OUT FITZ
Fitzgerald, who had his jersey No. 1 retired by the University of Pittsburgh Monday, took part in most of Monday's practice before leaving a little early to catch a flight to the Pitt-Florida State game. He said Arians actually moved practiced earlier from its original time just to allow Fitzgerald to get to his ceremony.
"How many head coaches around the league would do that for somebody," Fitzgerald said. "I haven't even played in a regular-season game for him and he still extended that courtesy. I'm appreciative and I'm ready to run through a wall for him."
HOUSLER STILL SITS; ELLINGTON, ROBERTS NOW LIMITED
The Cardinals added wide receiver Andre Roberts (quadriceps) and running back Andre Ellington (hamstring) to the injury list Thursday. Both were listed as limited. Long snapper Mike Leach (hamstring) was also added, although he practiced fully.
Tight end Rob Housler (ankle) remained sidelined, and it's looking more unlikely he will be available Sunday. Running back Rashard Mendenhall (knee), tight end D.C. Jefferson (knee) and defensive tackle Dan Williams (ankle) remain limited themselves.