Many players use the weeks between the end of OTAs and the start of training camp to grab their last bit of rest and relaxation before the start of a long season.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has long taken a different approach. Fitzgerald hires trainers and invites players — teammates and those from other teams — to work out with him in Minnesota before camp. The workouts are in full swing right now and there’s a special focus on developing chemistry with new Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer so that the duo can continue building the chemistry they’ll need to thrive.
“Look, this is a big year for me, coming off my worst season as a pro,” Fitzgerald said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “I know Carson wants to play well this year. This is a huge year, and we’re leaning on each other. It’s simple as that. I need him as bad as anybody, and I’m going to go out there and give everything I can for him.”
The Cardinals contingent includes the team’s other receivers and they have spent a lot of time working on routes, formations and reads from the team’s offense. Palmer explained that the players hope that the extra work allows them to remain in rhythm before the resumption of official team activities.
“That’s the goal … come into training camp and be ready, not have a day or two where you’re kind of getting back into the swing of things and try to get rhythm and timing down,” Palmer said. “It’s just a good chance to work some of the kinks out and talk about plays, talk about angles of routes and clean some of those things up.”
Last season was a rough one for both Fitzgerald and Palmer and it’s hard to imagine that one of them rebounds if the other one doesn’t. That makes these workouts as important as any other work they’ve done this offseason since the padless nature of offseason work means that things aren’t that different for them in Minnesota.