A year ago, wide receiver Christian Kirk was still preparing for his first NFL game, and like a typical rookie, preferred to be seen and not heard.
Larry Fitzgerald was the superstar of his position group, and Kirk dared not rock the boat.
“I was quiet when I got in,” Kirk said. “He says now, ‘Christian, you didn’t even talk. Like, you didn’t say a word. It was hard to read you.’ … Fitz is older than me and he’s been a guy I’ve looked up to, has been an idol of mine. So when you transition to him being a teammate, you have to work through that warming up period.”
A year later, everything is copacetic. In fact, Fitzgerald has been the one asking to hang out with the second-year trio of Kirk, running back Chase Edmonds and wide receiver Trent Sherfield of late.
“That’s their little crew,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m the old man in the young crew. They let me in.”
While Kirk and Fitzgerald have developed a healthy chemistry off the field, it’s their performance on it that could make or break the Cardinals’ offense in 2019.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury is expected to lean on the aerial attack starting Sunday against the Lions, but pass-heavy won’t mean much without potent pass-catchers. Fitzgerald and Kirk were the team’s two leading receivers a season ago and are expected to highlight the group once again.
It was a quiet preseason for both, by design, and on Sunday they should be unleashed.
“They’re both great players, and we knew going into the preseason that we wanted to make sure they came out of it healthy, and they did,” Kingsbury said. “Now we’ve got to make sure they have a role on our offense. I just love their preparation. I love the way they handle themselves at pros. They are what it’s all about, really.”