Fitzgerald: Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins ‘takes pressure off everybody’

Apr 29, 2020, 4:49 PM | Updated: Apr 30, 2020, 8:20 pm
Larry Fitzgerald and DeAndre Hopkins (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)...
Larry Fitzgerald and DeAndre Hopkins (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — In many ways, Larry Fitzgerald can relate to his new Arizona Cardinals teammate DeAndre Hopkins.

They each became prolific NFL receivers without blinding speed. They rely on technique, and stacked against blanketing coverage, are two of the most sure-handed pass-catchers in the game.

Both have found success playing for teams that at times didn’t stack the roster around them, nor always have excellent quarterback play.

So Fitzgerald knows what the Cardinals got when they acquired Hopkins from the Texans in a March trade that sent David Johnson and a second-round pick to Houston and included a swap of fourth-round selections.

Fitzgerald, at 36 years old, led Arizona with 804 receiving yards and 75 catches last season. No doubt he believes he can benefit from the team adding Hopkins, who recorded 1,165 receiving yards for a Texans playoff team that leaned on him heavily.

“I think it takes pressure off of everybody. Takes pressure off our defense, special teams,” Fitzgerald said Wednesday at Ocean 44 in Scottsdale, before he hand-delivered free meals to health care professionals.

Hopkins finished last year ranked fifth in the NFL with 150 targets and 10th in targeted air yards, per NextGen stats. Him sharing a field with Fitzgerald, in theory, should help the future Hall of Famer.

“You look at what Chandler Jones did when he came in by trade a few years ago, how he elevated our defense and made everybody else around him … other guys benefit,” Fitzgerald said. “You look at (OLB) Markus Golden, the year he had when Chandler come in. Everybody gets better when you bring good players around, especially unselfish good players like (Hopkins) is.”

Jones came to Arizona before the 2016 season. While he tallied 11 sacks — the fewest of his four years with the Cardinals — teammate Markus Golden went from four sacks as a rookie to 12.5 playing opposite Jones.

To that point, Fitzgerald can hope the Hopkins addition likewise benefits his production — or at least the ease at which he produces.

Few players can appreciate what the 27-year-old Hopkins has done to this point in his career like Fitzgerald.

In Fitzgerald’s first seven NFL seasons, the Cardinals receiver recorded 8,204 yards and 65 touchdowns with five Pro Bowl appearances. Hopkins has piled up 54 touchdown receptions and 8,602 total yards with four Pro Bowls.

Obviously, Fitzgerald has so far tacked on nine more productive seasons after his first seven. Count him a Hopkins fan.

“I’ve been a big fan of his since he was at Clemson,” Fitzgerald said. “Followed his career, phenomenal player. What he’s accomplished already in just a short seven years is really spectacular. (Hopkins was on a) playoff team last year so he has what it takes, he understands what it’s about to get to there. Anybody you can add that’s (an) perennial All-Pro to your team, is usually a good thing.”

Life Changer Loans

Arizona Cardinals

Owner Bill Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals holds up the George S. Halas trophy after winning the N...
Arizona Sports

Late owner Bill Bidwill to enter Arizona Cardinals Ring of Honor

Bill Bidwill, the late Cardinals owner and father of current owner Michael Bidwill, will enter the team's Ring of Honor as its 19th member.
10 hours ago
Marquise Brown #5 of the Baltimore Ravens takes the field prior to the game against the Miami Dolph...
Kellan Olson

Hollywood Brown felt like Baltimore Ravens ‘really didn’t need me’

Cardinals WR Hollywood Brown clarified that "people get it wrong" when it comes to how he feels about the Baltimore Ravens, his former team.
10 hours ago
Marquis Hayes #OL19 of the Oklahoma runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on Mar...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals notebook: Marquis Hayes bringing old-school mentality to OL

Will Hernandez isn't the only Cardinals guard in his first year with the team to show off the utter desire to hit someone.
1 day ago
Josh Hokit #40 of the San Francisco 49ers runs after making a catch during the preseason game again...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Cardinals sign former 49ers fullback Josh Hokit as TE

Former 49ers fullback Josh Hokit signed with the Cardinals and will be listed as a tight end, the team announced Thursday.
1 day ago
(Twitter screenshot/@AZCardinals)...
Haboob Blog

Kliff Kingsbury flaunts film remote skills for Cardinals’ ‘Hard Knocks’ preview

The Cardinals are this year's in-season team Hard Knocks, which Kliff Kingsbury gave a preview of with his mastery of a film remote.
1 day ago
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson waves to fans during an NFL football practice in Berea,...
Associated Press

AP: Browns’ Deshaun Watson suspended 11 games, could return vs. Texans

Deshaun Watson has reached a settlement and will serve an 11-game suspension and pay a $5 million fine, per The Associated Press.
1 day ago
Fitzgerald: Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins ‘takes pressure off everybody’