Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins ‘loves’ Kliff Kingsbury’s play-calling
Nov 2, 2022, 6:01 PM
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins hasn’t seemed to miss a beat after missing the first six games of the season for violating the league’s PED policy.
In two games this year, Hopkins has reeled in 22 catches on 27 targets for 262 yards and one touchdown en route to a 1-1 record.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has utilized the three-time All-Pro all over the place in 2022, including both the left and right sides, as well as in the slot. The duo has also been seen talking on the sidelines during games, scheming from what each of them sees from their respective viewpoints on the field.
“I’ve played a lot of ball, so there are a lot of things that I see,” Hopkins said Wednesday of his in-game communication with his head coach. “But at the same time, Kliff does a great job of calling plays and putting us in position. It’s just on us to execute.”
However, Kingsbury did add a new wrinkle to Hopkins’ usage in Sunday’s 34-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. While still lining up the five-time Pro Bowl WR both inside and outside the numbers, all 13 of his targets came when starting on the left side of the formation.
The head coach has also been putting Hopkins in motion pre-snap. His one-handed TD grab in Sunday’s 34-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings came after pre-snap movement, marking the first time Hopkins did that in the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016).
Hopkins also racked up 11 catches for 148 yards and a score against the Vikings’ off coverage (5+ yards at the snap), marking his highest single-game yardage total against that coverage in the NGS era. The wideout has now received twice as many targets (six) following pre-snap motion this season as he did all of last year (three).
“For me, it’s whatever I can do to help us win, wherever I need to be at,” Hopkins said. “Obviously Kliff did a good job these past two weeks of trying to move me around and I can tell the game plan is to kind of just get me involved in different places. Obviously, sometimes it’s to get other guys open and I love it.”
And despite the Cardinals playing the Seahawks in Seattle only three weeks ago, Arizona was without Hopkins as he served the final game of his suspension.
So with Pete Carroll and Co. coming to State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Sunday, Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen will have a new challenge in trying to slow down the Kyler Murray to Hopkins connection. The rookie CB is tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions and picked off Murray in the two teams’ last matchup.
“They got a great defense, they’re playing great. They got some good guys over there,” Hopkins said. “I think they got a corner from what I see just around the league, he’s one of the best young corners. Obviously they got some great players over there.”