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Kyler Murray Expects 'Big Year' From A.J. Green

Veteran wide receiver finding chemistry with QB, DeAndre Hopkins

WR A.J. Green during offseason work with the Cardinals.
WR A.J. Green during offseason work with the Cardinals.

Kyler Murray threw passes to A.J. Green in two different states this offseason and saw the same thing.

Whether it was their get-together in Dallas or team-sanctioned work in Arizona, the Cardinals' quarterback came away impressed with the veteran wide receiver.

"I expect A.J. to have a big year," Murray said. "I know a lot of people are sleeping on him. I know a lot of things have been said about him maybe not being able to do it anymore. … I'm glad he's on the team."

Injuries have been an intermittent factor in Green's career, but until 2020, few questioned his ability to dominate when healthy.

However, Green had just 47 catches for 523 yards and two touchdowns despite playing all 16 games last year, leaving 'people' to wonder if the now-33-year-old is on a steep decline.

Murray is confident in his new teammates' ability, and coach Kliff Kingsbury is happy with the early returns.

"He's been really impressive, when you see him on the field with that type of size and that type of movement skills," Kingsbury said during minicamp. "Very conscientious player. He's picking it up quickly. Consummate professional. Couldn't say enough good things about him. Really excited that he's here. He brings a lot to that receiving room."

The Cardinals' receiving production was lopsided a season ago, as Hopkins had 786 more receiving yards than the second-leading receiver, Christian Kirk, which was the widest gulf in the NFL.

Kirk, who is expected to move into the slot in 2021, is aiming for a more consistent season, and Green will also get his chances lining up opposite Hopkins on the outside.

"I've never played with a guy like D-Hop," Green said in an ‘On The Fly’ interview with Lisa Matthews. "Coming in and meeting him – I know him because he's from South Carolina, but we'd never been in a room together. The guy is unbelievable, man, and he embraced me. We don't have egos. He was telling me, 'If you want to run a route and I'm at the position, just let me know.' When you have a guy like that, two guys like that, in a room, it's going to be unbelievable. We feed off each other."

At 6-foot-4, Green will be a much taller downfield option than the Cardinals had at 'Z' receiver last season, which could help Murray in single-coverage looks.

"He's a 50-50 ball kind of guy, and he's shown what he can do in the NFL," Hopkins said.

This is the second straight offseason the Cardinals have acquired a big-name wideout who set records with his previous team.

Hopkins was added in his prime, so there was little question he would come in and contribute. Green is a little older, but is buoyed by his own chance to prove himself in a new location.

"I'd been in Cincinnati so long and I don't know anything else," Green said. "For me to get a chance to get out, it was all about winning and being in a great environment. I think Arizona was the perfect situation, because they have the young guys, they're building this defense, they have a young quarterback. I think I fit in well over here with D-Hop."

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