DeAndre Hopkins used his Friday conference call to put down the narrative that Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s brash competitiveness might rub his teammates the wrong way.
He also made sure to point out that his relatively quiet three-target, three-catch performance in Arizona’s 34-31 loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday wasn’t cause for alarm.
Those two things tie together when looking at a box score and seeing that Murray may not have given the Cardinals’ best weapon enough of an opportunity against Miami. Hopkins’ and Murray’s relationship has been under the microscope all year long, and it stood out that Hopkins has said Murray was the first quarterback in his career to lay into him.
Which, by the way, Hopkins welcomes.
“I love it,” Hopkins said Friday. “I think that’s what makes us closer, that’s what brings us together. I’ve heard some stuff in the media that says (we have) beef and stuff like that because Kyler gets on me.
“You never hear about Tom Brady beefing with his teammates. If Kyler is beefing for getting on me, I guess Tom Brady hates all his teammates he’s ever played with.”
Hopkins and Murray, by the way, still have connected for the third-most receptions in the NFL so far this year. Hopkins’ 60 catches has produced 734 yards, which is fifth-most in the league.
Hopkins’ three catches against the Dolphins accounted for only 30 yards, and he didn’t have a target on the tally sheet in the first half.
But the Cardinals receiver was quick to point out that he picked up four defensive pass inference calls against Miami cornerback Xavien Howard. Three of those gave Arizona 42 yards of offense, and another would have added to the total had the Cardinals not gotten an offsetting penalty on the play.
“Long as the ball moves, that’s all I care about, but I do think the rules should change and the receivers should get counted yards for penalties,” Hopkins said.
“I had seven targets and four of them were penalties, if I’m not mistaken. That might be a record. So nah, I was very happy. Even though we didn’t win — that’s probably the thing I was mad about — but not my catches or completions. When a guy has to hold you when the ball is thrown your way every time, that’s a sign of respect, man.”
But as usual, play-caller and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he could do more to get the ball in Hopkins’ hands, starting Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
“You’ve got to give Hop the ball more, he’s got to be targeted more,” Kingsbury said.