ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals GM Keim: Depth is ‘exceptional’ behind injured WR DeAndre Hopkins

Dec 17, 2021, 3:22 PM

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) hauls in a long pass against Los Angeles Rams s...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) hauls in a long pass against Los Angeles Rams safeties Jordan Fuller (4) and Nick Scott (33) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Cardinals face the arduous task of replacing arguably their best football player for the last couple weeks of the regular season and potentially for the postseason as well.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has an injured knee, one on which he will have a procedure done at some point, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim confirmed to Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday.

As always when this type of occurrence comes down, the question forms of how Arizona tries to replace him.

While it’s impossible for the Cardinals to do with a solo effort, Keim is confident in the collective group effort the team can muster up while Hopkins gets healthy.

“I think the depth that we have, to me, it’s exceptional,” he said. “When you look at guys like Christian Kirk and A.J. Green, and it’s not just the receiver position. To me, you look at different spots, like Zach Ertz who we added via trade. You look at the two backs that we have, are excellent catching the ball out of the backfield, as well as Eno (Benjamin) running the football.

“So a lot of different weapons on this offense that I think can certainly pick up the load. It’s tough to lose a guy like Hop, but at the same time, I think that there’s a number of guys who can step up and perform at a high level.”

Keim confirmed that Hopkins is not yet ruled out for the rest of the postseason, but his absence is something the Cardinals have had to deal with before. Hopkins missed three games earlier in the season due to a hamstring issue, and that allowed Arizona to learn how to play without him.

“That gives us a lot of comfort, as well as Kliff putting a gameplan together to know how to use different players,” Keim said.

With Hopkins’ missed time, Kirk took over the team lead in receptions (53) and yards (718). Rondale Moore is right behind him with 51 grabs for 426 yards, followed by Green’s 42 catches and 654 yards.

Kirk broke down the differences for both him as an individual and the receiving group.

“I wouldn’t say [my mindset] changes, but I would be lying if I didn’t say the sense of urgency in our room doesn’t increase,” he told reporters Friday. “I think when you lose a guy like DeAndre and the type of impact that he has, not only in our room but on this team during a game.

“I think that you have to fill that void and guys have to step up and make plays and fill in for his absence.”

Hopkins’ injury, of course, rekindled the buzz about a possible return for Larry Fitzgerald. That was something Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro ruled out on Thursday.

As for Keim’s take on it?

“I think Larry’s content where he is and really happy with sort of his career and how his life has gone with the Phoenix Suns,” he said, noting Fitzgerald is probably on a golf course right now with a drink in his hand.

When asked again about Fitzgerald?

“I think he’s really happy right now,” Keim said.

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