June 14, 2013 in Sports

Fitzgerald learning versatility in Arizona

Associated Press

(Full-size photo)

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

Now first-year 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.

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.”

The Cardinals had the worst offense in the NFL last year, with quarterback woes leading to the team losing 11 of its last 12 games, resulting in the firing of coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Arians has overseen a major personnel overhaul, including bringing in quarterback Carson Palmer.

Fitzgerald hasn’t spoken much to the media in the offseason, and he said it’s because he’s motivated to talk less and show better results after last year’s struggles.

“It’s ‘prove it’ for me,” he said. “It’s not about the talking and sound bites, it’s about going out there and being productive and getting back to the level of play that I’m accustomed to and that everybody around here is accustomed to.”

Jaguars QB job open

The Jacksonville Jaguars ended a three-day minicamp Thursday – the final practice of the offseason – without naming a starter at quarterback or moving much closer to deciding on one.

Former top-10 draft pick Blaine Gabbert remains the front-runner, but general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley insist it’s a wide-open competition that’s likely to stretch into the preseason.

Chad Henne, rookie Matt Scott and recent addition Mike Kafka also are in the mix.

Eagles sign QB Barkley

Quarterback Matt Barkley and the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed on a four-year contract.

Barkley was selected in the fourth round of the NFL draft after a standout career at the University of Southern California. He’s competing with Michael Vick and Nick Foles for the starting job.

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