Cardinals offense ‘sets up perfect’ for WR Robbie Anderson’s style of play
TEMPE — Much like Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft and what transpired soon after, the Arizona Cardinals this week gained and lost a starting-caliber wide receiver in a matter of days.
Swinging a deal for frustrated Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robbie Anderson on Monday, Arizona added another weapon to quarterback Kyler Murray’s arsenal that also sees the return of the previously suspended DeAndre Hopkins.
But with the addition of Anderson came the subtraction of Hollywood Brown, who is out for at least six weeks with a foot injury suffered in the team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday.
The loss of Brown is a tough pill to swallow, especially after seeing the wide receiver’s connection with Murray and the fact that he paces the team in every receiving category entering Week 7.
The Cardinals are hopeful Anderson, who was acquired as a direct result of Brown’s injury, can not only soften the blow of losing Brown but take on that No. 2 role behind Hopkins and run with it.
“He helps us a lot,” Hopkins said Tuesday. “Obviously, I’m not a (4.3-second 40-yard dash time guy). I can stretch the field, but Robbie has speed that you can’t coach.
“I feel like him being a big guy as well — he might not look as big — but Robbie’s a tall guy. He can go up and get the ball and stretch the field. I think our offense, it sets up perfect for his style of play.”
At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Anderson presents a big, yet fast target for Murray to work with. Anderson has a similar type of speed as Brown with the same kind of height as A.J. Green.
In six games with the Panthers, Anderson saw a majority of his snaps come out wide on the right side of the football field. Of the 254 snaps on the outside, Anderson saw 137 on the right side. He only saw a total of 28 reps in the slot.
It’s clear Anderson is at his best down the field, averaging 15.8 yards per catch this season. For comparison, Brown was averaging 11 yards per catch before his injury.
That should fit in nicely opposite Hopkins, who has made his living in this offense out wide and on the left. Anderson’s lack of action in the slot shouldn’t take away too much from Rondale Moore, who has replaced Greg Dortch in that role completely since returning from injury.
That’s not to say Anderson won’t be moved around, though.
“I’m not sure exactly how he’ll fit, but just watching him over the years and studying his tape he’s got a skill that seems to be similar (to Brown), and he can really run, which we need that,” Kingsbury said Monday.
Aside from any insight Kingsbury gleaned from the film session on Anderson, the team also had a former coach of Anderson’s to lean on in associate head coach and WRs coach Shawn Jefferson.
Jefferson coached Anderson and the rest of the New York Jets wide receiver room for one season back in 2019. The wideout made 15 starts over 16 games played, recording 52 catches for 779 yards and five touchdowns.
That relationship definitely made Arizona feel good about dealing two late-round picks for the wide receiver, Kingsbury said.
The coach isn’t the only one to have New York ties with the wideout, either, with offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum a former Jets teammate of Anderson’s for three seasons (2017-19).
— Beachum.eth (@KelvinBeachumJr) October 18, 2022
In a perfect world, the Cardinals would be able to get Anderson up to speed on the entirety of the playbook before the team’s Thursday Night Football game against the New Orleans Saints. Sadly, that doesn’t exist.
But even with the quick turnaround and the light practice load Arizona has on a short week, Kingsbury is holding out hope Anderson can contribute in some fashion in Week 7.
“Yeah, I would say (Anderson has a chance at playing on Thursday),” Kingsbury said. “We’ll get him in and see what we can fit in … without getting on the grass and actually going full speed.
“We want to make sure that he’s confident when he is out there, so if he does play it would be a limited package.”