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He's Back: DeAndre Hopkins Makes Impact On Multiple Levels

Wide receiver drew three penalties as offense got its spark

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a big impact in his first game back.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had a big impact in his first game back.

While DeAndre Hopkins prepared to return from his six-game suspension, Kliff Kingsbury didn't want people to count on the star receiver saving the Cardinals' struggling offense.

Hopkins may not have saved the Cardinals in their win over the Saints. But his impact was hard to argue, something even the Cardinals coach wouldn't do Friday as the team headed into their mini-bye weekend.

Hopkins had 103 receiving yards and 10 catches in his 2022 debut, impressive numbers to say the least. And the Cardinals scored 40 points for the first time in Kingsbury's tenure. But Kingsbury pointed out other way Hopkins helped the offense pick up additional yards when he drew three penalties, twice earning first downs and once earning a second chance to convert a 2-point conversion.

"It's incredible how many times he's helped us in that department since he's been here," Kingsbury said. "You have his 10 catches and the three plays, those are huge swings in the ballgame."

The Cardinals moved Hopkins around on Thursday, knowing the attention the Pro Bowl talent generates from secondaries. According to Next Gen stats, Hopkins had a reception from four different receiver spots, including left wide & slot, wide right & slot positions.

The attention on Hopkins opened up the offense for others to make plays, including running back Eno Benjamin, who had 113 total yards from scrimmage and a touchdown.

"I think reads are easier for quarterback Kyler Murray," Hopkins said about how his presence changes the offense. "I'm not saying they're not with other players out there, but he and I have been playing together for a while now. We know each other well."

The Cardinals were already working through a shift at receiver. Marquise Brown is out at least a month with a foot injury. A.J. Green's role is being considered, Kingsbury said, although the veteran didn't play a snap against the Saints and may be used only as depth now. Robbie Anderson, newly-acquired, will get more into the mix, and Greg Dortch had a TD catch.

Most importantly, Hopkins is back, reminding the world of his value and how the offense could look moving forward this season.

"It was great just having him out there," Murray said. "His feel for the game, his communication, you can't put a price tag on him."

INJURY UPDATE

Kingsbury said defensive lineman Rashard Lawrence suffered a shoulder injury on Thursday and is unsure how much time Lawrence will miss.

As for kicker Matt Prater, Kingsbury hopes Prater continues to progress with his hip injury.

"I'm hoping over the next three or four days, he'll feel a lot better going into next week," Kingsbury said. "But we'll be smart with what we do and limit some of those kicks at times if we can."

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