Simply as the longer term was starting to look vivid for the Arizona Cardinals, it has been wanting tough since Week 14. They led not solely the NFC West, however the complete convention for a lot of the season. Then No. 1 extensive receiver DeAndre Hopkins went down with a torn MCL in a home loss to a division rival, the Los Angeles Rams. With Hopkins out they’d go onto lose three of their final 4 common season video games, and received drilled in wild-card playoff loss on the street to the Rams, 34-11.
It is perhaps troublesome for the Cardinals to get off to the identical blazing begin that they did final season, as a result of as of now, they’ll be with out among the best extensive receivers within the NFL for the primary six video games of the season. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Hopkins will probably be suspended six video games as a result of a violation of the league’s efficiency enhancing drug coverage. No COVID vaccine, however he’s utilizing substances banned by the NFL. Perhaps he’s simply frightened of needles.
That isn’t thrilling information for the Cardinals for a number of causes. The principle one, is that their offense is considerably higher with Hopkins within the lineup. With a balanced roster, their protection completed the season ninth in weighted DVOA, Kliff Kingsbury’s bunch appears on paper like a team that’s able to be a contender in a lower than stellar NFC. With out the menace that Hopkins gives as an unguardable power at extensive receiver, 114 receptions for 1,407 yards in his first season with the Cardinals in 2020, it makes life rather more troublesome for his or her undersized quarterback, Kyler Murray.
Talking of Murray, the Cardinals relationship with him has been a bit rocky because the playoff loss. He reportedly pulled himself out of the game on the finish and later throughout the offseason scrubbed his social media accounts of something that needed to do with the Cardinals. The group reportedly felt that he must be a greater chief and take extra accountability.
In current weeks the connection seems to have improved. Murray launched an announcement that he’s dedicated to the Cardinals, regardless that he and another veterans won’t report back to voluntary team offseason conditioning. The Cardinals additionally look like keen to offer him what he certainly needs, a few of that actual quarterback cash. The 2019 No. 1 total decide has confirmed to be a dynamic participant and led the franchise to its first playoff berth since 2015. Cardinals common manager Steve Keim informed Adam Schein on Sirius XM’s Mad Canine Radio that with the draft full, they will take the time this summer season to barter with Murray — which is when, he stated, offers for gamers like him normally get carried out.
Luckily for them, they made a transfer to strengthen their receiving corps with their draft day commerce to amass Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, a former teammate of Murray’s at Oklahoma. It’s transfer Murray is definitely in favor of, they usually had higher rediscover their connection from the 2018 season shortly, as a result of it’s not like Brown was placing up Hopkins like statistics with the Baltimore Ravens, even throughout Lamar Jackson’s 2020 MVP season.
These two under-6 footers must be part of forces with one other fleet-of-foot member of their membership, Rondale Moore, to try to be fast sufficient to maintain this team aggressive till Hopkins can present the offense with what made individuals decide the competency of the Houston Texans for not retaining him. Hopkins is a participant who’s open on nearly each single down. He doesn’t must be streaking previous somebody or run a superbly timed route. Generally he can merely run to a spot, flip round, and use his athleticism and measurement to go and take the soccer out of the air.
Whereas the Cardinals took the appropriate step to try to mitigate this loss, they’re nonetheless going to be with out among the best gamers within the NFL for extra that third of the 2022 season. One other little bit of dangerous information in a troublesome offseason, through which they need to’ve been allowed to pat themselves on the again for a second. They did make the playoffs for the primary time since Peyton Manning was nonetheless within the NFL.