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Cardinals' Bruce Arians tries new tricks with older WRs

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald reacts to

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald reacts to a play in the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, in Seattle. Credit: AP / Stephen Brashear

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who has one of the greatest offensive minds you'll come across, is a master at helping his players achieve maximum effectiveness. Case in point: When he has a big-time receiver approaching age 30, he'll change things up by lining him up in different spots.

Why 30?

"Because guys lose a step at age 30," he said. "It's just natural. As hard as they train and everything, at 30 it's just a different ballgame. They accept it, they want to become better players, they say help me become a better player than when I was 26. This is how you do it.

"Hines Ward was great at it. Reggie Wayne accepted that role. He spent time on the left side all those years. Just to line up on the right side was tough at the beginning, but he embraced that role and had a breakout year."

Arians' latest project involves 2008 All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald, who turned 30 last year.

"Larry embraced the role with those two guys as comparisons," Arians said. "Here it is, this is what we are going to try to do, instead of you staying on the 'X' all the time. He got much better at it."

Fitzgerald has had two straight seasons of less than 1,000 receiving yards, but his 10 touchdowns last year more than doubled his total (four) from 2012.


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