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Dinner At Fitz's Lets Receivers Get To Know DeAndre Hopkins

Larry Fitzgerald hosted a dinner recently for the Cardinals' wide receivers, a evening that included DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and position coach David Raih, along with other players in town.

The Cardinals may have had to have a virtual offseason, but the wideouts already feel good about their chemistry, built through Zoom meetings, phone calls and yes, a meal or two.

"We had a causal dinner night and the first time to sit down and get to know DeAndre and what kind of guy he is," Kirk said. "He has fit in perfectly already. You can already tell we will have a strong relationship with one another. Just with the words he has expressed, he's so happy to be here."

The wide receivers room had a monumental sea change when Hopkins arrived. Its impact on Kirk will be interesting to watch, after his self-described "frustrating" 2019 season in which he battled a lingering and painful ankle sprain nearly all season (after suffering it late in a game already decided against the Seahawks.) But Kirk said he still made progress, and he is anxious to see himself within an offense loaded with promised behind quarterback Kyler Murray.

He echoed previous comments by Kliff Kingsbury that the receivers hoped to "soon" meet up with Murray -- who has been in Dallas -- to throw. But Kirk also said it would probably be even more important to have a second meet-up right before training camp starts, which in previous years was usually a "QB camp" scenario through the team.

The coronavirus has made things much more difficult, wiping out the usual offseason work. Kirk said with a smile he continues to training and work with his two inseparable pals Chase Edmonds and Trent Sherfield -- the trio are seemingly always together -- and have caught passes from backup quarterback Brett Hundleyas well as new Cardinals signee and former CFL QB Chris Streveler.

Impressed with how focused the entire offense has been with virtual meetings, Kirk said the self-scouting aspect has been the most productive.

"From the time we started (meetings) it was straight to business," Kirk said. "We picked up right where we left off from. The biggest thing was being able to self-scout, sitting down with the quarterbacks and be like, 'OK, last year, Kyler, you took a three-step-and-a-hitch on this six-step out route, we want to to punch three steps and just let the ball go.' Just talking timing and actually seeing what it looks like.

"To be able to look at what we messed up on on Sundays has really helped us."

Hopkins, of course, is learning everything for the first time. But maybe there was some shop talk that came with after-dinner coffee that night at Fitz's house.

"It'll be a little bit of pick your poison," Kirk said. "Defenses are definitely going to have to strategize well going into the week they play us. I think DeAndre does a lot for us. When you have a guy like that on the field, you have to pay attention to No. 10. It's going to be fun."

Wide receivers Christian Kirk (13) and Larry Fitzgerald
Wide receivers Christian Kirk (13) and Larry Fitzgerald