Few teams are expected to make a bigger leap in 2020 than the Arizona Cardinals.
With reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury settling into their second seasons in the desert and DeAndre Hopkins arriving via trade to bolster a receiving corps already led by future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona's offense is primed to compete for a division title.
The one problem? They haven't had a formal practice since the 2019 season wrapped. Well, no team has, due to constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. But as Fitzgerald told reporters Friday, Murray, who is still in Texas, and the Cards are particular eager to return to the field, considering their expectations.
"We have some great, talented players individually, but you're only as good as your collective team," Fitzgerald said, per the team's website. "We have to get on the practice field. We have to work through some kinks. We have to get new guys acclimated to what we're doing. I think everybody is anxious to get back to work and get on the field, kind of see exactly what we have."
Fitz added, "Whatever the landscape looks like, the fastest team that is able to adapt and make that their new norm will come out on top."
Arizona's new norm includes a stacked WR group, including Fitzgerald, Hopkins, Christian Kirk, KeeSean Johnson, Hakeem Butler, Andy Isabella and Trent Sherfield. Kingsbury has reportedly taken the down time this offseason to put his "mad genius" to work, as Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake put it, and maximize the potential of his maxed-out roster. That can only portend positive things for Murray, whose OROY campaign in 2019 saw him improve considerably over just five months of play.
Fitzgerald said Murray is "anxious" to get back working with his teammates and that when he does, the former first-overall pick will make improving those around him his top priority.
"Talking to him, he loves being around us," Fitzgerald said. "He wants to take this to the next level and build on what he was able to accomplish last year, NFL Rookie of the Year. He's got a lot of guys who want to play well for him, and he wants to do the same for us. Hopefully we will be able to do it here pretty soon."
The Cards WR suggested to reporters that Arizona will meet once or twice before training camp is supposed to begin in late July.
For now, the Cardinals are merely an improved roster on paper but not on the field.