Kyler Murray confident in Cardinals’ options with DeAndre Hopkins injured

Dec 16, 2021, 4:46 PM

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for a game against the Los Angeles Rams at State ...

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for a game against the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The hits keep coming for the Arizona Cardinals.

After being on the wrong side of a Monday Night Football loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Arizona was dealt another tough blow with injuries to starters James Conner and DeAndre Hopkins, the latter of which is expected to miss at least the remainder of the regular season.

But for as much as Hopkins’ absence hinders the Cardinals’ game plan, they aren’t alone in dealing with injuries after 14 weeks of NFL action. The season doesn’t stop just because Hopkins is on the shelf.

“That’s a guy we all love and trust out there on the field,” quarterback Kyler Murray said Thursday. “When I was out, he was out, and the guys stepped up. I think that’s something that great teams do.

“It’s a long season, and not all the time are you going to make it to the end with your full army. That’s how I look at it. Me and him both have already went down this season, but unfortunately a freak incident, freak accident play where he gets hurt.”

On the plus side of things, the Cardinals have already seen how life is without not only Hopkins but Murray as well after the duo missed three games due to a hamstring injury.

With the pair sidelined, Arizona managed to go 2-1 with signal caller Colt McCoy and a concerted effort from the rest of the wide receiving corps.

This time around, the Cardinals may not have Hopkins but they do have Murray for when they take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

“We’ve just got to have guys behind him step up, and I’m confident in every single one of those guys,” Murray said Thursday. “We’ve got a deep receiver room. We’ve got a deep running back room. We’ve got a ton of skill.

“Obviously, there’s a drop off if DeAndre Hopkins isn’t on the field, but at the same time, I’m confident that every single one of our guys can step up and make plays because we have that type of talent.”

One of those guys Murray is talking about is wide receiver Antoine Wesley, who saw an increase in playing time over the three-week stint that Hopkins was out with his hamstring issue.

From Weeks 9-11, Wesley reeled in seven of his eight targets for 106 yards. He averaged just over 15 yards per reception and nearly came down with a touchdown off of a trick play.

“Me and ‘Tweezy,’ I’m familiar with him just because he played at (Texas) Tech,” Murray said Thursday. “He had a great season our last year in college. I forgot how many yards he went for, but it was something crazy.

“I met him after the season going into the draft, threw with him a couple of times, and now him being with us. Kept in touch with him, he’s been a friend of mine since we met. I have all the confidence in ‘Tweezy.'”


– Murray on the Larry Fitzgerald talk following the Hopkins news:

“That’s above me.”

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