TEMPE — Last season, more times than not, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was getting the ball thrown in his direction.
The wideout was far and away the most targeted Cardinal in 2020, seeing 160 balls come his way. He turned the looks into 115 catches for 1,407 yards and six touchdowns, all team highs.
The next closest pass catcher was Christian Kirk, who was second on the team in targets (79), receptions (48) and receiving yards (621).
But following an offseason restock that included free-agent signing A.J. Green and rookie Rondale Moore, Arizona’s receiving totals are much more even among the team’s pass catchers.
The Cardinals have seen a different leading receiver in three of the four games played so far this year. Hopkins led the way in Week 1, before Moore took home Week 2 honors. Weeks 3 and 4 belong to Green.
Hopkins is first in receiving touchdowns with three, but is third in receiving yards behind Green (248) and Kirk (244). Running back Chase Edmonds leads the team in receptions with 20.
Hopkins is already seeing the differences from last year’s offense to this season’s. Guys are stepping up, making plays and taking ownership of their roles day in and day out.
“I would say this is the first time being on a team where there’s other receivers that are reliable consistently, so for me, that’s great,” Hopkins said after practice Friday.
“That’s championship football when you have four other guys that can go out there and take that pressure off of me and make plays when they’re 1-on-1.”
While some No.1 receiving options might complain about the distribution the Cardinals pass catchers are seeing, Hopkins is not one of them.
It’s easy to see that egos are checked at the door for Arizona’s receiving corps.
– Hopkins on the Cardinals staying locked in each and every week despite the hot start:
“I think the kind of team this is, we’re always gonna keep that [week to week] mentality of being the team that no one really spoke about. We got a lot of veteran people on this team to keep us ahead of things like taking the cheese and stuff. This is a team that’s resilient. We really don’t listen to the outside world. I would say no one in the locker room is talking about what we are and things going on outside of this facility.”