Larry Fitzgerald was supposed to slow down by now.
Heading into 2015, Fitzgerald was coming off three straight sub-1,000-yard seasons. He was still a productive player, but at 32 years old, no one knew how much he had left in the tank. But Fitzgerald silenced the doubters with a monster campaign, piling up 109 receptions, 1,215 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns.
How has Fitz managed to remain such a tough cover after all these years?
Two words: route running. Unlike raw speed and brute strength, superior route running technique doesn't decay with age. If you don't know how to run routes, you're putting a cap on both your overall potential and the length of your career. In a recent interview with STACK, Fitzgerald urged younger players to sharpen their route-running skills.
He said, "Learn how to run routes. Watch the guys like Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones—guys who are able to beat anyone with precision route-running. I would encourage you to do that. If you're good, you're going to have some natural tools like running fast and being quick. But you have to learn how to get separation at the top of routes. If you want to be successful, you have to learn how to run routes, and you should learn how to do it on both sides of the field. You have to be thinking and be able to diagnose what's going on around you, even while you're running. You have to be a smart, intelligent football player. Work on all facets of the game. Speed is important, quickness is important, but route-running is what puts you over the top."
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