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Christian Kirk on Cards' offense: 'A good transition' to Leftwich

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NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

Christian Kirk

Wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals

Born: Nov. 18, 1996

Experience: First NFL season

Interview by Brooke Cersosimo | Nov. 2, 2018

Right now, it's just making the most out of the opportunities that I'm getting. I knew I was going to have a role, but obviously, as the season's gone on, I've kind of fulfilled a more important role on the team. It's really been understanding the system, being comfortable and not pressing for things, just going out there and making the plays when they come to me.

Keeping a new mindset every week. Obviously, things haven't gone the way that we have wanted them to, and it'd be very easy to lack in certain areas. It's important to stay on top of the little things and prepare for the final eight games.

[My season took off] after Chicago. That was the best game that I had so far, especially in crucial moments, going out and making those plays. I was able to show what I can do and my ability, and the coaches started trusting me more. Now, I've been able to see more opportunities.

I've gone through this before and it wasn't just [former offensive coordinator Mike McCoy's fault]. As an offense, we could've been better and we all had a hand in that happening. He's a great dude, super smart, and I learned a lot from him. I definitely wish we could've been better for him.

[New OC] Byron [Leftwich] has been great and set the tone for us. We had a great week of practice and it showed when we played San Francisco. Now, we're building off of that. We know the standard. We know the level that we have to prepare at to go out there and perform better. It's been a good transition.

Keeping it simple. We're building off the things we do best and having a plan and attacking it. It's making sure that when we call the play, guys don't have to think. Just go out there and execute.

[Practicing against Patrick Peterson] was a struggle at first. [It's] definitely a chess match with him because you never know what he is going to do. He can do a bunch of different things. The thing about Pat is he's super smart and he's going to catch onto every little thing that you're doing, whether it's alignment or formation, he has a good idea. It's made me much better and it makes it easier to go out there Sunday. He's one of the best.

[Managing Peterson's trade rumors] wasn't bad, to be honest. The thing about our locker room is we have a lot of high-character guys, and Pat's a high-character dude. There wasn't animosity to where he felt like he was better than everybody else. That's just this business, and I think there was a lot more [talk] on the outside that made it seem bigger than it was. There wasn't really any tension or animosity in the locker room. Obviously, guys give him a hard time, but that's what happens when you're a competitive dude. You want to win games and Pat wants to win games more than anyone. That's just his competitive nature.

[Prepping to play Richard Sherman] was the biggest thing, seeing his tendencies and what he does. Then, obviously, he switches it up in the game, so I had to be on point at all times. Knowing you're going against a guy of that caliber is crazy. I've been watching him for so long and now I'm going against him. He is who he is for a reason. He's very technically sound, but it was fun to go out there and compete against him and talk to him after the game. Getting support and compliments from him means a lot.

Larry [Fitzgerald]. There's that picture of me and Larry when I was younger, but that's how it was for anyone growing up in Arizona. What he's done not only on the field but off [the field] with all the things he's done in the community. All the times I've been able to meet him, I remember being super starstruck, and now that he's my teammate. It's awesome and our relationship has been able to grow.

Preparation is huge. Being able to see [Fitzgerald] transition from the offseason into how to prep for the season. That was one of the biggest things I was able to pick up -- note-taking-wise, watching film and all those extra little things. The biggest thing for me off the field is all the events and charity events he does, and he invites me to every single one of them. I'm able to go and shadow him and see how he [operates at those events] because that's a role I want to fill one day. I want to have that impact, so just being able to learn that side of things has been amazing.

What makes [Fitzgerald] great is making those contested catches and the way he's able to use his body. A guy can be draped all over him and he's going to consistently make the catch. There are some [catches] where you just have to shake your head because you don't know how he does it, but that's what makes him one of the best receivers of all time.

[Josh Rosen and I] have been friends since high school and played against each other in college twice. He's a very out-of-the-box thinker, super intelligent. Being able to grow our chemistry on the field and be on the same page is only going to go up. We're trying to get to the point where it's second nature for us. It's going to be a bright future for us.

Unbelievable. I was actually watching the video [of when I got drafted] the other day, and it still gives me chills. I told myself I wasn't going to cry. But the fact that I knew I was going to be able to stay home and being able to hug my parents in that moment, I had to let it all out. Knowing the work I put in and when you chase after something for so long, when it finally happens, it's surreal.

I wanted to go the first night [of the draft] and there were some picks there at the end. There were a lot of possibilities, but Arizona was the last place I thought I was going to go.

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