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DeAndre Hopkins, Kyler Murray Work To Create Chemistry

New wide receiver, quarterback both confident success is coming

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One snap during team work in training camp was all it took for Kyler Murray to have a seminal DeAndre Hopkins moment.

Hopkins went up and over cornerback Byron Murphy on a back shoulder play and "just kind of snagged it out of the air," Murray recalled.

"It was kind of one of those moments where, 'Yeah, he's on our team,' " the quarterback added.

Not every throw from Murray to Hopkins will provide such a highlight this season. But as the Cardinals quarterback and his new wide receiver work to find the chemistry both say are necessary for success, the confidence that is a matter of when and not if is clear.

"Anytime you have a young quarterback you think will be a franchise guy and you bring in a franchise-type wide receiver, it's crucial those guys get on the same page," coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

While there were virtual meetings in the offseason, that process began in earnest when Murray hosted most of the skill players – including Hopkins – in Dallas prior to training camp. Soon after, Hopkins said his expectation for he and Murray "is us becoming best friends."

That hasn't changed after a few weeks at State Farm Stadium.

"It's very organic," Hopkins said. "Even working in the weight room together, walking down the hallway, eating lunch. To me that's building chemistry, not just being out there throwing the football back and forth. Me and him have been doing that since we were young. That's going to come."

Murray said there can be some natural feel with chemistry, but "anything great comes with work."

"He's got a certain feel for that game at wideout," Murray said. "He's been doing this, he's not new to a spread offense, he went to Clemson … he's familiar with these types of offense."

A sore hamstring has robbed Hopkins of some practice time in camp. Kingsbury reiterated Wednesday that the priority is to have Hopkins healthy for the season opener Sept. 13 in San Francisco. Murray didn't seem overly concerned.

"I have thrown to a ton of receivers in my life," Murray said. "I think it'll be, I don't want to say a natural transition, but at the same time, I know we have to get the reps in to get the timing down, the chemistry down. I think once he's on the field we'll be fine. During the season we'll practice every day, we'll have more than enough time to get the adjustments down and figure it out."

In some ways, Hopkins' history mirrors new teammate Larry Fitzgerald in the context that there have been many quarterbacks with whom he had to get familiar. He found a perfect marriage with Deshaun Watson at the end with the Texans, but in his time in Houston, Hopkins saw nine total quarterbacks who started at least five games.

It's not just about the quarterback. Hopkins puts almost as much stock in what he is doing off the field, in his playbook, trying to perfect the mental side of the equation.

"It's kind of a cramming situation, but I take it as a challenge," Hopkins said.

It's hard to think a three-time All-Pro who has built a career with a potential Hall of Fame trajectory wouldn't be able to clear such a hurdle.

"Him being one of the best ever to do it already, he's proven that he just has 'it,' " Murray said. "Hopefully we can build this thing together, we can be great. It's just building that relationship, building that chemistry and putting that time in."

Hopkins said he can turn to teammates, even to an offensive lineman or a tight end, to get clarification on a certain play. But he knows his relationship with his quarterback will ultimately steer his career in a Cardinals uniform.

"Kyler's mindset is, 'We're going to make it work,' " Hopkins said, "so that's my mindset as well."

Images from Monday's practice at State Farm Stadium, presented by Hyundai.

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