Competitiveness of DeAndre Hopkins put Cardinals in a bind

DeAndre Hopkins ignored the wishes of his coach several weeks ago, and the Arizona Cardinals are now paying a price for it.

For the past several weeks, the Arizona Cardinals have had to take the field without the great DeAndre Hopkins. The superstar wideout’s absence in Week 11 will mark the third consecutive matchup he has missed, which is one more than Hopkins was sidelined for during his first eight NFL campaigns combined.

The Cards and their fans may not admit it, but Hopkins has to be considered one of the most disappointing aspects of what has thus far been a very promising season. Of course, it would be unfair to blame the 29-year-old for the hamstring injury that is keeping him out of action. Then again, did Hopkins actually contribute to the unfortunate situation that he is currently in?

Back on October 28th, the 7-0 Cardinals took on the 6-1 Green Bay Packers in a nationally-televised, Thursday night matchup. The contest was incredibly important, considering the fact that it could very well impact which club secures the NFC’s No. 1 seed later in the year.

Hopkins entered the clash with Green Bay with a strained hamstring. The issue with the muscle apparently occurred just four days earlier, when Arizona put a 31-5 beating on Hopkins’ former squad, the Houston Texans. In hindsight, “Big Red’ may have been better off keeping the five-time Pro Bowler in street clothes during that 24-21 defeat at the hands of the Packers.

DeAndre Hopkins defied the Arizona Cardinals’ wishes during the Packers loss

Halfway through the first quarter of the Green Bay loss, Hopkins and Cards quarterback Kyler Murray hooked up on a 55-yard pass play down the left sideline. Four plays later, running back Chase Edmonds‘ 11-yard score gave the team an early 7-0 lead. However, the bomb to Hopkins that led to the touchdown came with a costly price.

The utilization of Hopkins’ speed during that fateful play aggravated the pass-catcher’s already weakened hamstring. Right then and there, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury made a decision. Taking into account that the franchise still had nine games to compete in after the Packers, the safe thing to do would be to rest Hopkins for the rest of the evening.

Unfortunately, Hopkins ignored Kingsbury’s wishes. The 6-foot-1, 212-pounder took it upon himself to just run onto the field, openly defying the coach’s orders. Kingsbury addressed the issue following the loss.

“We wanted him to stay off the field, but he’d just run on. He wants to play, super competitive and made some plays there, but we wanted to be smart. But he was definitely hurting.”

On one hand, you have to admire Hopkins’ competitiveness, but did his actions versus Green Bay make his absence from the Cards longer than it should’ve been? Now, all Arizona can do is wait for his return and hope that the losses don’t pile up with Hopkins not in the lineup.