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Kirk: Cardinals WRs welcome Hopkins, will throw with Murray soon

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk rushes the ball in the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Virtual meetings aren’t the only avenue for the Arizona Cardinals wide receivers to recalibrate around a new alpha in the position group for the 2020 season.

Yes, the Cardinals have found video calls productive, but they have already welcomed DeAndre Hopkins in person. Soon, they expect that the group will gather with starting quarterback Kyler Murray as he learns his new top receiver and continues to develop rapport with guys he’s already familiar with.

“The plan is to get here together with Kyler real soon and, you know, make sure we’re getting our timing down,” Arizona receiver Christian Kirk said on a Zoom call Wednesday.

Kirk added that Murray has spent much of the offseason training in Dallas. In Arizona, Kirk, receiver Trent Sherfield and running back Chase Edmonds have worked out together. The group of friends have gotten together for throwing sessions with quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Chris Streveler, the latter of whom is a free agent addition out of the Canadian Football League.

And yes, Hopkins has been in town and met some of his new teammates. The receivers, including position group coach David Raih, had a dinner at Larry Fitzgerald’s house.

“First time being able to sit down and talk to DeAndre, just (to) get what kind of guy he is, he’s fit in perfectly,” Kirk said. “Just with the words he’s expressed, he’s so happy to be here. He’s really excited about the type of guys we have in our room.”

For Kirk individually, 2020 presents a unique opportunity. He was on his way to leading the Cardinals in targets and receptions before an ankle injury forced him out of three games and limited him once he returned. Kirk called the season “frustrating.”

Still, the 23-year-old tallied 107 targets (two off the team-high held by Fitzgerald) and 709 receiving yards (second to Fitzgerald’s 804) in his second NFL season.

The addition of Hopkins, Kirk said, doesn’t worry him regarding his ascent to become a top-caliber receiver. He believes he’ll remain on the improving path.

“I think that it’ll open up things for all of us. I believe it’ll be a little bit of pick-your-poison,” Kirk said of Hopkins. “If you want to double DeAndre, that leaves Fitz in the slot as well and me on the other side for more one-on-one opportunities. If you want to play two-high Cover 2, then we have Kenyan Drake in the backfield and there goes our run game.

“On the field, I think, if anything, DeAndre can help me get there … if (Hopkins and Fitzgerald) are the two guys in front of me I’m learning from and I’m following in their footsteps, I have no problem with that.”


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