Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been a primary target ever since he was drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. As consistently productive as he’s been, 32-year-old wideout legs don’t move as well. Coach Bruce Arians is aware of Fitzgerald’s wear-and-tear and has been introducing him to a new role.
But if former Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Hines Ward hadn’t convinced Fitzgerald moving into the inside could be a good thing, there’s a likely chance the Arizona receiver wouldn’t had exploded for 112 yards and three touchdowns against the Bears Sunday.
He was hesitant, Ward said. But you get to the point when you reach your 30s. He’s had all the accolades. He’s been to Pro Bowls. He’s made great money, but the one thing he and I are always talking about is him saying, ‘Man, I don’t care about that stuff anymore. I want a Super Bowl ring.’ The thing about Bruce Arians, he wants his speed guys on the outside, but he wants his playmaker right there in the slot. And he does a lot of creative things to find ways to get the slot guy open. I look and see the same things he did with me, he’s doing with Larry Fitzgerald.
No play best summed up Arians new strategy for his star receiver than this flea-flicker that went for a touchdown.
Flea Flicker alert! @carsonpalmer hits @LarryFitzgerald for a 28-yard score: http://t.co/z7c5MjzGNY#GIFMeCards— #GIFMeCards (13-3) (@AZCardinalsGIFs) September 22, 2015
If Fitzgerald hadn’t attacked the middle of the field, vertically, he wouldn’t have been able to exploit coverage that saw a Bears linebacker covering him.
Sometimes you don’t have to sacrifice glory for success.