Cardinals would be smart to rest DeAndre Hopkins on Sunday vs. Jaguars

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) DeAndre Hopkins
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) DeAndre Hopkins /

The Arizona Cardinals should do just fine without star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend.

This past Wednesday, those who follow the Arizona Cardinals learned that DeAndre Hopkins was dealing with a rib injury.

The superstar wide receiver wasn’t well enough to practice that day, and the five-time Pro Bowler missed Thursday’s session as well. What happens with Hopkins on Friday will likely determine his availability for Arizona’s week-three matchup. Being that it’s so early in the season, would it be smart for the Cards to play it safe and rest one of the franchise’s best players this coming weekend?

On tap for the Cardinals this Sunday is the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that will more than likely finish with one of the worst records in the NFL this fall. In reality, head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s scoring attack has enough firepower to win this matchup without the help of Hopkins. After two weeks, Arizona ranks second in the league (tied with the Kansas City Chiefs) with nine offensive touchdowns.

Incredibly, Hopkins has been forced to sit out just two contests since he turned professional back in 2013. When asked if he was prepared to be the squad’s number-one wideout when the Redbirds face the Jaguars, A.J. Green quickly answered, “Hop don’t miss games.” Maybe so, but further injury to Hopkins’ ribs could be a risk that the Cardinals may not want to take.

Arizona Cardinals are stacked at the wide receiver position in 2021

Cards general manager Steve Keim has assembled an outstanding group of receivers over the last few years. Quarterback Kyler Murray has to be thrilled with the array of options he has at his disposal in 2021.

The biggest surprise of the bunch has been Rondale Moore, the Cards’ second-round draft pick out of Purdue University. The 5’7,180 pounder leads the club in both catches (11) and receiving yards (182), 77 of which came on a scoring strike from Murray versus the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday.

Fourth-year pro, Christian Kirk, has also been impressive. The Arizona native has hauled in eight passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Kirk is averaging 16.8 yards per reception, and six of his catches have gone for first downs.

Green has been somewhat of a disappointment thus far, but the veteran showed improvement in week two. The seven-time Pro Bowler has caught five passes for 69 yards, and he registered his first score of the year versus Minnesota.

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Hopkins has tallied 10 receptions for 137 yards and three touchdowns in ’21, but his presence on the field this weekend may not be a necessity. The Cards are expecting a lot out of themselves these days, and could very well have Super Bowl aspirations. Keeping Hopkins healthy for the bulk of the campaign, even if it means resting him this week, sounds like a great plan for the organization.

(Statistics provided by The Football Database)