Kliff talks WRs: DeAndre Hopkins recovering, Rondale Moore to step up

Mar 29, 2022, 11:09 AM
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Min...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates his touchdown catch against the Minnesota Vikings with wide receiver Rondale Moore (4) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

DeAndre Hopkins posted video of a pool workout on his Instagram story Monday, the latest update for the Arizona Cardinals’ No. 1 receiver who is coming off December surgery on his torn MCL.

It’s a welcome sign for a player that head coach Kliff Kingsbury linked to the sudden downfall of the team toward the end of 2021.

What else the Cardinals have in store at the receiver position looking to 2022, however, remains a key storyline as the NFL league meetings began this week in Palm Beach, Fla.

With Hopkins now working out at the team facility and expected to be “fully back sometime in the next couple months,” according to Kingsbury, second-year man Rondale Moore is the only known commodity after him on the roster.

“I’m excited to see (the receiver room). Rondale Moore’s a kid we drafted last year, really explosive player,” Kingsbury told reporters in Florida on Tuesday. “We didn’t play him as much as we probably should have ’cause we had so much depth at the position to start. He’s a guy who’s ready to step up.”

Moore averaged 1.1 yards of targeted air yards, the lowest in the NFL by 3.5 yards.

It was a result of Moore’s use as a lateral slot receiver and despite him appearing early on in the year as a potential deep threat for quarterback Kyler Murray.

Moore still ended the season with 435 yards on 54 catches and a touchdown.

He was the Cardinals’ fourth-ranked receiver in total yardage, behind Christian Kirk, A.J. Green and Hopkins.

After Kirk signed a four-year deal to join the Jacksonville Jaguars that could max out at $84 million, Green remains a free agent.

“I love Christian. One of my favorite players I’ve ever been around … I told (Jaguars coach) Doug Pederson yesterday, ‘You’re going to love coaching this guy,’ ” Kingsbury said. “(Kirk) called me and I said, ‘Hey, let me borrow a little bit of that (money).’ That’s a big number. If anybody deserves it, he does.”

Kingsbury added that the team “definitely” would welcome a return of Green, who recorded 848 yards but at times looked out of sync with Murray.

“We love what he brought to us last year, and I think another year in our system, Kyler and him building his relationship will be really good,” Kingsbury said.

Of course, Murray’s agent demanding his client receive a contract extension might get in the way of that relationship-building with receivers if a camp holdout is a possibility for the quarterback, who appears to be hanging around his teammates at the moment.

Kingsbury, who shares Murray’s agent, reiterated the team and quarterback are in a good place.

“We are in a great spot with him. I know that (letter from the agent) was what it was. Nothing has changed from our end,” Kingsbury said. “We’re excited about his future and we want to make him an Arizona Cardinal for as long as we can.

“I think all of us want to feel wanted,” the coach added. “You put so much time and effort and work into this game, so that’s a big part of it. He knows how we feel about it. I’m excited to see what we can do with him moving forward.”

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Kliff talks WRs: DeAndre Hopkins recovering, Rondale Moore to step up