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Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald Conference Call Transcript

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Kenny Chesney

Q:What are you looking for in the Patriots defense? What are some things that stick out to you about those guys as you prepare for Sunday?

LF:The thing that pops out to you first and foremost is how hard they play. They play as a unit, they play hard, they play fast, they're disciplined and they're champions. Those guys are used to playing together, they're used to playing in big games, so no matter what the setting, the situation, the down and distance, those guys are prepared, they have a plan, they stick with it and they execute it.

Q:Since the Patriots have only played one regular season game this season, I assume you have looked at some games from last year. Do you see difference from last year to this year in terms of their defense?

LF:I think, essentially, the defense is pretty much the same. I think there's just some different things that they're doing from last year, but we only have one game—in preseason you're really pretty generic—to really go off of, so there's not enough to say that there's a pattern that they've done differently. Obviously the personnel is different. They're really young and they get after the passer with [Rob] Ninkovich and [Chandler] Jones off the edges; those guys really do a good job. All of their linebackers are fast, flow guys, they come up the field and they hit you. The secondary is the same way. They're very disciplined and you have to make sure that you're not forcing the ball and you're taking what the defense gives you. They're certainly well coached.

Q:What does it mean to you when a coach like Bill Belichick says to us yesterday that he believes you might go down as the best all-time receiver ever?

LF:That's what he said?

Q:Yes.

LF:I mean it's an honor that he even knows my name to be honest with you. He's arguably the best coach to ever do it. You look at his record and what he's been able to accomplish over his career. He's an unbelievable football coach. I have a long way to go. I have a lot to improve on and a lot to work on. Obviously I'm envious of him with all his hardware he has and his team has. We have a lot to improve on.

Q:What does that say about you and your work ethic as a player?

LF:I have a long way to go. We've only played one game this year and we were in the same position last year and we dropped the next six. That's something that we talked about all this week, and attention to detail is something that we've really been stressing. The New England Patriots are a team that if you make a mistake against them they will make you pay for it. Last week against Tennessee they had the ball a lot in favorable field position and they were able to put a lot of points on the board. We have to do a much better job of sustaining our drives and getting points when we have our opportunities. Especially in the red zone, we weren't able to score as many touchdowns as we would like last week and we need to do a much better job of that this week. Anytime you have Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], [Aaron] Hernandez, Brandon Lloyd—I mean we can go on and on down the list of all the offensive firepower they have. Those guys put up a lot of points, so offensively we have to do a good job of controlling the ball and we have to run the ball much better as well.

Q:When we were talking to the Patriots defensive backs today, over and over we heard that one of the toughest parts about covering you is that you catch everything and it doesn't matter if you're single, double and sometimes triple covered, you are just going to come down with the ball. Is that natural or how do you get to be like that, that you can just pull in anything?

LF:Well playing against the Patriots defense there's not much space to make any catches. It doesn't matter what my skill set is, I have to find space in that zone, space in that man. Coach Patricia does a terrific job of changing things up and disguising his coverages and I have to worry about that first and foremost just being able to get in space and be able to get my hands on the ball before I can make any plays. But this is a team game. This is about the Arizona Cardinals as a unit playing much better than we did the last time we were in Foxboro. There's not a lot of guys on this team from the 2008 year, but we remember that butt kicking we took up there in 2008 out there and that didn't sit well with us then and four years later it still stings. We definitely want to go out there and have a much better performance.

Q:Are you guys actually talking about that game and are you using it as a form of motivation?

LF:No I mean for me I'll never forget walking off that field and looking at that scoreboard. Just the feeling of embarrassment, disappointment. We had clinched our division the week before then and obviously the Patriots were still fighting—I think they finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs that year—they were thick in the division race and they totally tore us down that night. That's something I still remember very vividly. That was a tough game, the worst game that I ever played in in my professional career. We know what this team is capable of in terms of offensive firepower, defensively getting after the quarterback, stopping the run, special teams they play extremely hard. Like I said earlier, they're an extremely well coached team and we're going to have to play our A-plus plus game.

Q:You've been vocal about the Cardinals attempts to get more solidarity at quarterback. How do you feel that process has come together? Especially since there has been some flux with the situation this season and while the injury doesn't help things, do you feel like you're on the right track?

LF:Well it's fortunate that John [Skelton]'s injury is not as serious as we all thought it was. He's walking around today. He might get back to practice sometime this—I'm not sure—but he's bouncing back. You never want to see a guy go down to injury. Kevin [Kolb]'s done a really good job for us and you know we're looking forward to getting out there and playing with whoever is going to be out there playing. I don't know if John's playing or if Kevin is going to play, but we're looking forward to the opportunity. I try not to think about so much who's throwing the ball, it's just paying attention to detail. You know Coach Belichick says it best, just do your job and be accountable to yourself and your teammates. That's really what my focus is and I think a lot of guys on this team take the same approach.

Q:Why is charity work such a big part of your life and the offseason?

LF:My mom, she was always active in our communities, so I was raised around it. Mom would always bring us around and that's all I saw, that's all I know. So I feel that it's my responsibility to give up my time and my resources to people that are in need. You see Robert Kraft doing the same thing. A lot of guys around the league do it and I think it's important because these young people that are at the stadiums and watch the games on TV, they look up to us, they watch what we do, they watch what we say and how we act in public and the way we live our lives. So it's important that we set a good example for the next generation.

Q:Is there any one thing that you've done that you're more proud of than anything else?

LF:I hope that's still to come. I plan on continuing my efforts and I just hope that I can help many, many more people as we continue. I'm very proud of what we've been able to accomplish, not just me, but my team, my organization, players in the NFL in general. I'm proud to be able to wear that shield. I'm proud to represent the NFL and everybody that's associated with it.

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