Arizona Cardinals scoring attack can’t soar without DeAndre Hopkins
By Jim Koch
The offensive unit of the Arizona Cardinals is a lot less lethal without the presence of five-time Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins.
Four months ago, the NFL made an announcement that devastated the fans of the Arizona Cardinals. DeAndre Hopkins, the team’s superstar wideout, would be suspended for the season’s first six games. A banned substance was detected in a drug test taken by the five-time Pro Bowler, an indiscretion that could dramatically reduce the Cards’ chances of contending.
There are those who believe that quarterback Kyler Murray is the most irreplaceable component of the Cardinals offense, but that may not be the case. The truth is, head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” attack has had trouble getting off the ground whenever Hopkins is missing from the lineup.
Just last weekend, Murray and his offensive teammates resembled a discombobulated bunch during Arizona’s 44-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. With no Hopkins to lean on, the Redbirds struggled to score enough points to keep up with a Chiefs scoring machine led by outstanding signal-caller Patrick Mahomes.
Arizona Cardinals first experienced life without DeAndre Hopkins last season.
The Cards found out what life could be like without Hopkins last season, when hamstring and knee injuries kept the usually-durable wide receiver out of seven regular-season matchups. Arizona went 3-4 in those contests, compared to the 8-2 record that the squad compiled when Hopkins was healthy and contributing .
Murray and company really missed Hopkins during the postseason, when they managed just one touchdown during a 34-11 loss to the LA Rams. The Cardinals totaled a measly 122 passing yards, a miniscule amount that gave the club almost zero chance of winning.
Last Sunday, the air-attack woes continued during the debacle versus Kansas City. Murray threw for 193 yards during the blowout, but the ugly 5.67 yards per attempt he posted was thoroughly disappointing.
Cards general manager Steve Keim was obviously aware of the Hopkins suspension before the news even broke. Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, a former teammate of Murray’s at the University of Oklahoma, was acquired for an opening-round pick on the first night of the NFL Draft. The 25-year old Brown caught four passes for 43 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs, in what was his first appearance as Hopkins’ stand-in.
Arizona needs to stay afloat until their matchup with the New Orleans Saints on October 20th. Hopkins will make his much-anticipated return that day, hopefully to a team that still has a shot at a second-consecutive trip to the playoffs.