DeAndre Hopkins’ return after Week 6 ‘will be shot in the arm’ for Cardinals

May 13, 2022, 2:15 PM
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is congratulated by wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (1...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is congratulated by wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) after Murray ran for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

TEMPE — The narrative surrounding head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals after last season largely focused on the team’s inability to finish off yet another season strong.

By now, we’ve all seen the trend. Since 2013, Kingsbury sports a 42-20-1 record in Games 1-7. The other half of the season? A 17-45 mark from Game 8 on.

The head coach acknowledged his part in the skid throughout the offseason, saying he needed to get more guys involved offensively and dial up different gameplans with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins sidelined for most of the second half of the year.

Unlike seasons past, however, Kingsbury not only has to contend with righting the second-half-of-the-season ship, he’s got to get through the first six games of the season without Hopkins due to a performance-enhancing drug suspension.

All the talk must now translate to on the field for Kingsbury.

But instead of looking at the glass half empty, the head coach is remaining optimistic.

“(Got to learn from that), obviously,” Kingsbury said following the first day of rookie minicamp on Friday. “The addition of Marquise (Brown) will help, he’s a dynamic playmaker and we just have to play better as an offense.

“It’s unfortunate that he won’t be available but I’m excited for when we get him back. We’ve struggled in the second half of the season and when we get him back I think it will be a real shot in the arm for that back-half and I know we’ll get his best.”

Despite the team going out and acquiring Brown in a draft-day trade with the Baltimore Ravens, replacing Hopkins will be a tough task.

He only played in 10 games last season, yet still paced the Cardinals with eight receiving touchdowns.

And when he was off the field, the offense took a noticeable dip in production.

With teams not having to keep an extra eye out for Hopkins on the regular, the offense sputtered with A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Antoine Wesley and Rondale Moore as Arizona’s top wide-receiving threats.

Now it’ll be on Brown and quarterback Kyler Murray to reconnect to their Oklahoma days and make up for Hopkins’ absence over what is going to be a tough start to the season, beginning with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1.

“We’re going to see where he fits, first and foremost,” Kingsbury said. “We like what we have in A.J. coming back, Rondale, Zach Ertz, now Hollywood. Now we just got to figure out where he fits best.

“That type of speed, whether it’s inside, outside … it’s dangerous. He was behind people a bunch last year and we got to find ways to maximize him.”


– Kingsbury on if the team knew about Hopkins’ suspension before trading for Brown:

“That’s more of a Steve (Keim) question. He’s really good at his job.”


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank leaves the field after an NFL football game between the Atlanta ...
Character Counts

Falcons owner Arthur Blank donates $200,000 to prevent school shootings

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank committed $100,000 to each of Sandy Hook Promise and Health Alliance for Violence Intervention.
1 day ago
Markus Golden #44 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts to a defensive play during the first half against...
Arizona Sports

Golden is Cardinals’ most underappreciated, says’s Frelund

NFL Network's Cynthia Frelund devised a list of every team's most underappreciated player and listed Markus Golden for the Arizona Cardinals.
1 day ago
General Manager Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to the game against the Baltimor...
Tyler Drake

Important NFL dates to remember and how they impact Arizona Cardinals

A look at the important league dates to circle on your calendar and how they relate to the Arizona Cardinals' roster decisions.
2 days ago
DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with fans after Arizona defeated the Chicag...
Wills Rice

ESPN’s Barnwell: Arizona Cardinals had one of NFL’s worst offseasons

ESPN's Bill Barnwell believes the Arizona Cardinals had the third-worst offseason out of the 32 teams in the NFL so far.
2 days ago
J.J. Watt #99 and Rashard Lawrence #90 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate their 37-14 win against t...
Kellan Olson

Cardinals DL Rashard Lawrence focusing on availability in elevated role

Defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence has proven to be a reliable depth option in the middle for the Cardinals and now he will have more to do.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches from the sideline during the first half of his...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals’ Spencer Whipple applauds Kliff Kingsbury’s open approach

Kliff Kingsbury's confidence in those around him on Arizona's offense has shown as the unit has continued to evolve over the years.
2 days ago
DeAndre Hopkins’ return after Week 6 ‘will be shot in the arm’ for Cardinals