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June 14, 2013

Fitzgerald learning to play three spots in revamped offense

TEMPE, Ariz. — In his record-breaking decade in the NFL, Larry Fitzgerald has grown comfortable in one position.

Now new Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has Fitzgerald on the move, learning to play all three wide receiver spots.

Fitzgerald says after having some success it’s hard to shake his familiar role, but he’s working to do just what Arians wants.

“I think as a human being you’re a bit of a creature of habit,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve played the same position since I was in junior high school. I’ve never had to really move around and you know I’ve gotten good at it. So I think we all resist change to a certain degree, especially if you’ve had a little bit of success. But as I’ve gone through the offseason workouts, I’ve definitely become more receptive of it.”

Arians said it’s a simple concept. Moving his star receiver around will make it much harder for defenses to zero in on him with double coverage.

“If you want a hundred balls, move around,” Arians said. “If they know where you’re at, it’s easy to take you out of the game.”

Arians said Reggie Wayne made the same adjustment a year ago in Indianapolis, where Arians first was offensive coordinator, then interim head coach.

“I think Reggie bought in right away last year,” Arians said. “Fitz is buying in now, and it’s hard because when you’re a veteran of your stature, you don’t like making mistakes, you get embarrassed.”

Fitzgerald said he respects Arians’ pedigree.

“He tells me there’s going to be a lot more opportunities to make plays inside,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s going to give my teammates Andre Roberts and Michael (Floyd) and Rob Housler and guys like that better matchups as well. It’s not all about me, it’s about making the team go. We know that if this team is moving in the right direction, it’s because the offense has put points on the board.”

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