Suspended WR Deandre Hopkins Returns to the Arizona Cardinals Lineup at the Perfect Time

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins signs autographs for fans during the Arizona Cardinals Back Together Saturday Practice at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Saturday, July 30, 2022.Cardinals Fan 32
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins signs autographs for fans during the Arizona Cardinals Back Together Saturday Practice at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Saturday, July 30, 2022.Cardinals Fan 32 /

The Arizona Cardinals sit at 2-4 and are on the brink of letting the season get away from them. Kyler Murray lost his top receiver to injury in week 6. The good news? One of the best wide receivers in the NFL, Deandre Hopkins, is set to make his return in week 7.

Typically, Kliff Kingsbury’s Arizona Cardinals start hot; before inevitably cooling off in the final two months. In 2022, the fan base hopes that the opposite comes to fruition.

The team, led by quarterback Kyler Murray, started the 2020 season 5-2. In 2021, they won their first seven games and held a sparkling 10-2 record early in December.

The Cardinals finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs in 2020. They finished with an 11-6 record in 2021 but got throttled 34-11 by the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Arizona’s offense added Marquise “Hollywood” Brown at the cost of their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Their big swing in the offseason paid off, with Hollywood providing a reliable No. 1 option in the absence of veteran Deandre Hopkins.

Unfortunately, Brown suffered a foot injury, the latest in a long history of lower extremity issues for the speedy wide receiver. Hollywood compiled 43 receptions, 485 yards, and three touchdowns in six games as the top target.

The good news is Deandre Hopkins will return to the lineup Thursday night vs. the Saints. The timing could not be better, as the team announced that Brown would miss “at least” four weeks with his injury.

Deandre Hopkins spent the 2021 season battling with injuries. It resulted in the first campaign that he missed more than one game. The elite talent at wide receiver missed seven games in all. He was severely hampered by injury in the ten games he did play.

During the offseason, Hopkins got popped for failing an NFL-administered performance-enhancing drug test. The league suspended the nine-year veteran for the first six games of the 2022 season, making it the second-straight year that Hopkins got forced out of action.

Hopkins served his time; keeping himself in tip-top shape during his stint on the suspension list. The former Clemson Tiger will join a wide receiver room that features Rondale Moore, AJ Green, and the newly-acquired Robbie Anderson.

The Cardinals’ offense ranks 23rd in points per drive, and Kyler Murray has only tossed six total touchdowns on the year. Adding the red zone threat of Deandre Hopkins should help in these areas.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury also pointed out how beneficial it will be for the group to have Hopkins out there on third downs. Even in limited action in 2021, Hopkins still accounted for eight touchdowns in his ten appearances.

Kingsbury could very well be coaching for his job at this point. Some fans and media members called for his job, even after making the playoffs in 2021. If Arizona fails to right the ship, the pitchforks will return, sharper than ever.

Quarterback Kyler Murray got his massive payday this offseason, but he still has a lot to prove when carving his place in the elite NFL QB landscape. I would argue that he is the only reason they have even won a game in 2022, but his play still leaves much room for improvement.

Deandre Hopkins completes the trio of Cardinals with something to prove in 2022. Hopkins’ pristine reputation around the league went largely unaffected by his suspension, but there will be several folks that question whether or not his best days are behind him.

The Cardinals are in desperate need of something (or someone) to get their offense clicking. Hollywood Brown served the role admirably for the first month+, but now it is Deandre Hopkins’ job to carry the brunt of the load. I have no doubts that he is ready.