DeAndre Hopkins is going to make the Pro Bowl, he's got a chance to be an All-Pro for a fourth straight season, and he is the first Cardinal to reach 1,000 yards receiving since Larry Fitzgerald did it in 2017.
Yet Kliff Kingsbury looks at Hopkins and what he's done in the offense during D-Hop's first year in Arizona and "I'm hoping we have only scratched the surface."
"I think it's just about building that rapport with the quarterback and getting comfortable with him and how to maximize him and how to utilize him the best way we can," Kingsbury said. "We still don't have a ton of time on task, we're 13 games into this deal and didn't have an offseason together where we could get on the grass and work at different things. We're all still learning and growing together, but he's a remarkable talent."
Hopkins had his first 100-yard game against the Giants after three straight games of yardage in the 50s, as the connection between he and quarterback Kyler Murray got gummed up following the Hail Murray in Week 10.
Much has been made of Hopkins' positioning, thanks to Next Gen Stats outlining individual receiver’s targets each game. When Hopkins wasn't getting the ball as much, he was almost exclusively lined up left – except earlier in the season when Hopkins' numbers jumped him to the head of the NFL line in catches and yards, he was also almost exclusively lined up left.
Against the Giants, he did have two big plays coming out of the right slot, one among a handful of tweaks Kingsbury used in the offense that day.
Hopkins, who has 94 catches for 1,155 yards and five touchdowns with three games left, will see an Eagles' secondary shredded with injuries. But the Eagles' pass rush is excellent, and there figures to be some quicker passes coming from Murray.
"On Sundays it's fun to see the intensity and passion he plays with, and he wants the football at all times," Kingsbury said. "As a coach you appreciate that. I think there is a ton of room for growth there."
EDMONDS WORKING ON SIDE
Running back Chase Edmonds (ankle) wasn't practicing again Thursday, after Kingsbury already said he would be a game-day decision against the Eagles. Guard Justin Pugh (calf), kicker Zane Gonzalez (back) and Hopkins (not injury-related) did not practice either, along with two players already ruled out for Sunday – safety Jalen Thompson (ankle) and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips (hamstring).
The cases of Thompson and Phillips are intriguing as they miss time. Because they have already been on Injured Reserve once, if they were to go back on IR their seasons would be over and they could not return.
Linebacker Kylie Fitts (hamstring) was added to the injury report as limited. Also limited were linebacker De'Vondre Campbell (ankle), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle), tackle Kelvin Beachum (back) and running back Johnathan Ward (shoulder).
For the Eagles, tackle Jack Driscoll (knee) and cornerback Avonte Maddox (knee) didn't practice. Safety Grayland Arnold (hamstring), cornerback Darius Slay (concussion), linebacker Shaun Bradley (neck), linebacker T.J. Edwards (hamstring), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (concussion) and cornerback Michael Jacquet (hamstring) were limited.
FITZ FEELING FINE
Larry Fitzgerald had a pair of catches in his return game from battling COVID, and said he had no lingering effects from his illness.
"I felt good when I came back," Fitzgerald said. "Fortunately nothing really affected my respiratory system. I felt good running around. There was never a point in the game where I was out of breath or out of shape."
Fitzgerald, who is still seeking his first touchdown of the season, has historically played well against the Eagles. In nine meeting including playoffs, Fitzgerald has 56 catches for 896 yards and 11 touchdowns against Philadelphia.