The hardest part for All Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins of being traded to the Cardinals was having to leave his young, stellar and fellow Clemson Tiger alum, QB Deshaun Watson, behind. Here is what Hopkins had to say about Watson when the trade was announced:
“Deshaun’s a warrior. Deshaun’s a competitor. As long as he has a football in his hand, that’s all he cares about. I know that personally from knowing him over the years. Man, Deshaun’s an elite quarterback, the best quarterback I’ve had the chance to play with so far. He’s able to make players better, and I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s gonna do. He’s gonna rally his team up.”
Let it be clear: DeAndre Hopkins knows how to treat his QB.
Once Hopkins started focusing in on being an Arizona Cardinal, the first item on his agenda was to grow a bond with Kyler Murray. Hopkins went as far as saying that he expected that he and Kyler would be so tight that they would become “best friends.”
When Hopkins had the chance to work out with Kyler before training camp, Hopkins came away feeling extremely confident in the abilities of his new signal caller.
During training camp Hopkins’ excitement for catching passes from Kyler Murray morphed into an epiphany—-that the “K-Raid” offense is perfectly “sensational” and made to order for his maximizing his skills.
After Hopkins’ stellar debut with the Cardinals in their 24-20 upset win over the 49ers, Kliff Kingsbury awarded DeAndre a game ball for his role in leading the Cardinals to the victory to the tune of snatching 14 passes for 151 yards. Here was DeAndre’s reaction to the shout out from his new head coach and teammates:
In Week 2, Hopkins set and NFL record for most receptions in his first two games with 22. Having just missed scoring a TD by inches versus the 49ers, Hopkins hauled in his first TD as a Cardinal in the team’s 30-15 win over the Washington Football Team:
Following the game, Hopkins expressed how proud he was to set the NFL 2 game reception for a new player record in Arizona:
Then, Hopkins’ attention returned right back to where it has been since he became a Cardinal—-to expressing his excitement and belief in QB Kyler Murray. So much so that Hopkins is doing something that Kyler would never do for himself—-laud him as an MVP candidate.
Starting my Kyler for MVP campaign now... https://t.co/uBeNoYViQL— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) September 21, 2020
The beauty of this is that after two games it is clear that Hopkins and Murray’s most fervent goal is to spend the next 5 years vying for championships. Hopkins and Murray know it will take them playing at the highest MVP type level in order to accomplish their goals.
So far...so good.
Their syncopation this quickly into a new season is extraordinary——yes by setting the NFL record of 22 receptions, but also by accomplishing this on only 25 targets (which included one rare drop by Hopkins in Week 2). As for his rare drop, that broke his league leading streak of 241 straight catches without a drop. Imagine that.
And when DeAndre and Kyler miss—-they get right after the solution:
Case in point:
Versus the 49ers Kyler and DeAndre miscommunicated on a third and 8 play where Kyler threw what he thought was a back shoulder pass toward the sideline, but DeAndre never made the plant and turn back to the ball.
Obviously that play stuck in their craw and they ironed it out during the week. If you saw the back shoulder throw and catch that Kyler and DeAndre pulled off with exemplary timing and precision—-wow—-check the play at at the 1:23 mark of this game highlight video:
Another Case in Point:
This week DeAndre took the blame for Kyler’s 1st quarter interception versus Washington. He said, “There’s a lot of stuff I can get better at. I I think the interception that he (Kyler) threw last week was definitely my fault. I ran the wrong route. The safety wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for me running the wrong route. I definitely hurt my team in that aspect. I definitely got to get better and play better.”
How many star WRs are readily willing to go public with such a mea culpa—-or claim he has to play better after breaking an NFL record in his first two games?
This humble admission on DeAndre’s part manifests his utmost priorities—-which is to win, to support his QB in every way possible and to make weekly improvements in his own game.
And now—-DeAndre is working on taking RB Kenyan Drake to the next level—-which could spell trouble for the Lions this weekend.
Word is that he’s been taking Andy Isabella under his wing—-and in Week 2 we saw Isabella catch 2 passes for 67 yards (33.5 ave.) versus the Football Team.
DeAndre Hopkins is on a mission—-to spread his brand of fire to his teammates——
And like Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote in “Brown Penny” about the fiery pursuit of love—-”one cannot begin it too soon.”