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Quarterbacks, Fitzgerald and the future: 3 things we learned at Steve Wilks' 1st press conference

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-23 19:45:20-05

Steve Wilks introduced himself and his family to the Valley of the Sun on Tuesday -- and there's a lot to digest from his first press conference as the new Arizona Cardinals head coach.

Here are three of the most important things we learned from Wilks' first day. (You can watch the entire press conference here.)

1. Larry's future is still up in the air.

When Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer retired, many Cardinals fans assumed future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald would follow suit. But three weeks later, Fitz's NFL future is still unknown.

Wilks confirmed Tuesday that he recently "had a very in-depth conversation" with Fitzgerald, but doesn't know what his plans are.

"I enjoyed the conversation that he and I had. He did not express that he was or wasn't coming back," Wilks said, adding that having Fitzgerald back next season would be "extremely important" to the team.

"When you look at not only his play and ability on the field but his leadership off the field and in that locker room, it's important," he said. "He is a major part of our success, past, present and future. (He's a) first-ballot Hall of Famer. So, we definitely want him back."

Cardinals president Michael Bidwill advised fans to be patient while Fitzgerald makes up his mind.

"My gut says everyone needs to relax, let Fitz go through his process, and give him a few weeks to make his decision," he said. "He’ll let us know."

2. The Cardinals will be "aggressive" in pursuing a quarterback.

With Palmer's retirement and the impending free agency of backup quarterbacks Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert, the Cardinals have a major hole to fill next season. Wilks didn't shy away from that reality Tuesday.

"There's a question mark right now. We all know. It's the elephant in the room: We don't have a quarterback," he said. "We're going to have a very active and aggressive plan through free agency, and we'll see exactly what's going to happen in the draft."

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim confirmed the Cardinals will explore all options to find their QB of the future.

"We're going to be aggressive in the process, and there's going to be a number of different options, whether it's free agency, whether it's a trade option, or it's the draft, or all three," he said. "As I always say: We'll leave no stone unturned."

3. The coaching staff is priority No. 1.

Wilks' first order of business is putting together his assistant coaching staff in Arizona. He reportedly has at least a pair of names in mind for offensive coordinator, and Panthers linebackers coach Al Holcomb is reportedly in line to become the team's defensive coordinator.

"That's the most important thing," Wilks said about filling out his staff, adding he's already active in the process and hopes to have his staff finalized by the time the Super Bowl rolls around Feb. 4.

"We've had guys in already this week, and hopefully we'll be able to make (some decisions) here soon," he said.