The temperature was well into triple digits and sweat-soaked

 Larry Fitzgerald was still going full bore ,
hauling in passes from Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen.Entering his 15th season,
with career receiving numbers among the best to have played the game, Fitzgerald
is not talking about whether this year in the NFL will be his last."I'm just
trying to make it to February in one piece," he said after the team's second day
of minicamp on Wednesday.Fitzgerald, who will turn 35 before the season begins,
has taken part in every voluntary session with the same competitive mindset he's
always had. As silly as it sounds, he said he plays like his job is on the
line."When I say that I'm not saying it jokingly, that's the mentality that you
have to have," he said. "All these guys, they're not bringing them in here for
their own health. They're bringing them here to give them the opportunity to
take your job. That's not lost on me ever. I'm fighting and competing just like
everybody else is."New coach Steve Wilks treasures having someone like
Fitzgerald to help the Cardinals transition into a new system with the
retirement of Bruce Arians."His commitment to this team, to this organization is
invaluable," Wilks said. "It means a lot to me as a first-year head coach, a guy
like that who can be an extension of you in the locker room, a true
leader."Fitzgerald is No. 1, with a lot of competition as to who will line up at
the other receiver spots."The speed of the pack is determined by the speed of
the leader," Wilks said. "He's one of the leaders. Guys are going to fall in
line with him. The younger receivers are going to take his lead. It's great to
have him out there. Not just being out there, but the way he goes about his
business."Fitzgerald said Wilks asked him to be there during voluntary OTAs and
was effusive in his praise of new receivers coach Kevin Garver Cheap
D.J. Humphries Jersey
, who was assistant receivers coach in
Arians' five seasons in Arizona.Fitzgerald called Garver "one of the sharpest
minds I've been around.""I knew coach Wilks asked me early on to be here,"
Fitzgerald said. "And more so than that I wanted to start off on the right foot
and make sure Kevin knew I was in the fight with him from day one. I want to be
successful for Kevin and I knew in a few more years he'll be an offensive
coordinator and a few years after that he'll be a head coach. I want to make
sure that I'm doing everything I can while I can to help him elevate."Fitzgerald
has had a lot of quarterbacks throw him passes since he was drafted third
overall by the Cardinals in 2004.Now he's getting used to a new one in Bradford,
who is being eased into workouts because he's coming off a knee
injury.Fitzgerald said the two are still learning each other, as is
expected."That comes through repetition," Fitzgerald said. "The same thing with
Kurt Warner when he first got here and with Carson (Palmer) six years ago when
he got here. It takes a little time but once two veterans are able to learn each
other it makes it a lot easier."With Bradford watching much of the time,
Fitzgerald has caught a lot of balls from the rookie Rosen."I'm really impressed
with how Josh has been able to grasp everything," Fitzgerald said.Star running
back David Johnson was absent again Wednesday in an apparent contract
holdout.Fitzgerald wouldn't say much about that but hinted at his support for
the player."I don't know the details of it, honestly," Fitzgerald said. "I don't
know anything that's going on. But I'm always for my teammates. I love my guys.
I'll just leave it at that."Fitzgerald is a well-documented world traveler.
After the final minicamp session on Thursday, he and cornerback Patrick
Peterson, a fellow avid golfer, are headed off together."We'll be over in St.
Andrews playing some golf," he said. "We're going to have a good time. It's
Pat's first time, so I want to beat him at the oldest golf course in the
world."Who's paying for the trip? At least indirectly, Fitzgerald said, Peterson
is."Pat's paying for the trip after all the money I've taken from him this
offseason," he said. "I'm appreciative of that."__Mike on a Mission For those of
us who thought that in the absence of Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim ,
it was now “Terry Time”---it appears the leadership of the GM’s duties are being
assumed by Michael Bidwill, in close coordination with Terry McDonough, Mike
Disner and Steve Wilks. Bidwill confidently avows that “there is no drop-off”
because they have a keen sense of what moves Steve Keim would make. That’s quite
a significant and bold statement from Bidwill.* Bidwill’s treatment of Steve
Keim’s extreme DUI has been just as he said it would be: swift and
consequential. As Bidwill keeps confirming, “there is no reason in today’s world
for anyone to drink and drive.” On the one hand, Bidwill’s stern treatment of
this situation sends the strongest message possible to all employees of the
Cardinals. On the other, in my opinion, it is an indication of the ongoing
frustration Bidwill feels about a growing history of failed “reward contracts”
(tearing up existing contracts with 1 or 2 years remaining for lucrative
extensions) that the organization has given the last few decades---(see Jake
Plummer, Ken Whisenhunt, Anquan Boldin, Daryl Washington, Bruce Arians, Carson
Palmer, Tyrann Mathieu---and now Steve Keim---twice).* One could reasonably
assume that Bidwill is now second guessing his decision to reward Keim for a
third time. Going into this season, Bidwill had two more years on Steve Keim’s
second contract as GM---this year and a team option year for 2019. Instead, as a
vow of confidence that the Cardinals’ recent woes were not of Keim’s doing,
Bidwill ripped up Keim’s second contract and gave him a third. With Keim getting
arrested for DUI so quickly into his new contract, it has a similar feel to when
Carson Palmer blew out his ACL a mere two days after signing a lucrative
multi-year extension in November of 2014. This is crazy bad
luck...but ,
of course, in Keim’s case, as Bidwill has emphatically stressed, it was
inexcusable and thoroughly avoidable. * There remains no doubt in my mind that
Michael Bidwill was the driving force behind Bruce Arians’ retirement. Bidwill
had seen and heard enough. Further proof of this was Bidwill’s exculpatory
support of Keim. But the greatest proof was in Bidwill’s hiring of Steve Wilks,
who is the polar opposite of Arians. From day one Wilks has been so meticulously
versed in the immediate areas the Cardinals need to address about the culture,
about the philosophy of the coaching, about practice and game preparations and
about the style of play---that it was impossible not to perceive Michael
Bidwill’s blueprint and mission in all of this. * I believe that in the new
search for a head coach process, one which Bidwill vowed to be very deliberate
in executing, he presented the candidates with his exact expectations of what he
wants in a head coach and coaching staff. This may not have sit well with some
of the early front runners like Pat Shurmur and Mike Munchak and is likely the
reason why Munchak wouldn’t even come to Arizona for a second interview. It also
may be the reason why Steve Wilks decided not to interview with the Colts, as he
found himself in lock-step with Bidwill and Bidwill’s coaching criteria. The
criteria appears to be tailor made for Steve Wilks and the staff he hired. We
saw a highly relieved and almost giddy Bidwill following Arians’ retirement
press conference (as opposed to a glum looking Keim)---and then we saw an
ebullient Bidwill when he introduced Steve Wilks as the new head coach.* What’s
fascinating at this point is how excited Michael Bidwill is in directing the
action from the top. Clearly, he is the man in charge. His vision of where he
wants the organization to go is crystalizing before our eyes. Thus, Michael
Bidwill is 100% correct when he says that even though Keim is not in the
building, “there is no drop-off.” While Bidwill may not go as far as running the
show the way Jerry Jones does in Dallas, there is no question that Michael
Bidwill has the thirst and passion to run the organization in the most hands-on
way he possibly can. Bidwill is at a point in his career where he believes he
has the prescience, commitment and vision it takes to bring a championship to
Arizona. Therefore, it must have been manna to Bidwill’s ears yesterday when he
heard Patrick Peterson say that “there’s a much different feel already to this
training camp.”
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