3 contributing factors to the Cardinals collapse in 2021
Of course, missing a top receiving target will always serve as a misfortune to an NFL team. And while the Cardinals looked okay without him early, missing Hopkins finally caught up to the team.
But it shouldn’t have. So, why did the Cardinals struggle without Hopkins in the lineup? It all had to do with missing several key players to injury, not just Hopkins. Yeah, a Hopkins-sized hole in any offense is reason for concern. But he’s just one player, and Christian Kirk did a wonderful job in filling the former All-Pro receiver’s shoes.
The Cardinals also had both James Conner and Chase Edmonds banged up, and neither appeared to be 100 percent during the latter half of the season. They also missed Maxx Williams, who was off to a hot start before tearing his ACL. Former All-Pro center Rodney Hudson also never looked the same following his rib injury.
So, let’s not just attribute the team’s meltdown to losing Hopkins. Instead, half the offense, Murray included, suffered injuries.