DeAndre Hopkins participated in his first practice of the season Tuesday as the Arizona Cardinals prepare for the star receiver to return from suspension Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints.
The Cards hope Hopkins’ return will help jumpstart an offense stuck in the mud for much of the first six weeks.
“His energy, man, it seems like every time you see him on the field … there is a reason why he’s the best,” quarterback Kyler Murray said, via Darren Urban of the team’s official website.
Hopkins’ return Thursday will certainly help Murray, who has struggled to stack positive plays consistently without his star wideout. But Murray noted that one player isn’t a panacea for all that ills Arizona’s offense.
“It’s not a miracle [cure] that everything is gone,” Murray said. “We still have things we have to get better at, still things we need to fix.”
Hopkins played in nine games last season due to a hamstring issue and a season-ending knee injury in December, earning a career-low 42 catches and 572 yards with eight TDs.
Murray is significantly better with Hopkins on the field. In 10 games with the wideout, Murray is averaging a 71.6 completion percentage for 278.2 passing yards, a 19-9 TD-INT ratio and a 106.0 passer rating. In 10 games sans Hopkins, the QB has a 64.9 completion percentage, 246.8 pass yards per game, an 11-5 TD-INT ratio and an 84.9 passer rating.
Getting Hopkins back is a big boon, but it won’t solve every problem.
“One person can’t go out and win a game, but it does help having someone like myself out there who can dictate how defenses play us,” Hopkins said following his first practice. “Last year was a great example of that and me not having a game over 100 yards, a lot of people saw it of me having a down year. I look at it as a productive year because I got a lot of guys open. There are a lot of things that go into a football game more than just fantasy stats or yards.”
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