Josh WeinfussReading: 6 min.
Not having the three-time first-team All-Pro will require Arizona to fill a significant hole that can be measured in a number of ways.
It’s been almost two weeks since they parted ways with wide receiver three times All-Pro of the first team, and during that time, the Cardinals they have shifted their focus to moving forward with the players they still have. It wasn’t always the case, according to head coach Jonathan Gannon. Arizona spent the offseason, until May 26, operating on the premise that Hopkins would be part of the team this year. But “all the factors that were at play” led to the decision to Arizona to release the Hopkinsadded Gannon.
“We just felt it was the best thing for the team to play with what we have,” he said.
It’s been about a month and a half since the general manager of the Cardinals, Ossenfort Mountainsdeclared during the draft of the NFL what “DeAndre it’s a Cardinal and we move on.”
Although a lot is going to change offensively for the Cardinalsthe recent status quo will not be disturbed much. Hopkins He hasn’t been around this season, training on his own at various locations across the country and Canada, so Arizona has been installing a new offense under the new coordinator Drew Petzing without him being present.
Although Cardinals Now they are clear about the situation Hopkinscontinue to search for answers to a number of questions that have now been raised, mainly, what will the offense look like without Hopkins about the field?
For starters, the scheme in 2023 will be new and different compared to what you played Hopkins under the former head coach of the Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury. However, his impact did not always occur with the X’s and O’s.
not have to Hopkins will require Arizona fill a significant gap that can be measured in various ways.
First the obvious: At 6-foot-1, 212 pounds, Hopkins he was a physical force on the gridiron. He wasn’t necessarily the fastest wide receiver, but the way he used his body from positioning to control — especially on the sidelines — allowed Hopkins get unchecked on a regular basis; he had 32 receptions when he was considered wide or wide open last year in nine games, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. His understanding of his game, whether it was cutting a route or running it to the end, or finding gaps based on reading linebackers, added another dimension to the game. Hopkins. Then there were his XXXL-sized hands that helped him catch, well, a lot of passes. No wide receiver has caught more balls than Hopkins (853) since joining the league in 2013.
Each has its own strengths, which combined could offset by Hopkinsbut none have its size. Brownlisted at 5-foot-9, is more of a vertical threat, with the speed to break away from defensive backs — something he Hopkins does not do regularly– but Brown He has not worked too much in areas with traffic or the center of the field. Moore, who is listed at 5-foot-7, could be used as more than just a player to get moving on fly sweeps, screens, and jet sweeps. He could be a receiver with more defined pass routes, which could lead to him improving on his total of 41 receptions from last year.
Both could end up with very different roles: Brown could blow the cover off defenses, while Moore could take advantage of the spaces below.
A question after losing Hopkins It will be to see who will line up for the Cardinals as perimeter receiver X, which was the role he played Hopkins last year. could end up being Brown — who lined out 67 percent of his routes last year, according to NFL Next Gen Stats — most of the time, but he doesn’t have the traditional size for a perimeter receiver at the X position.
When it comes to that post-style wide receiver, Arizona might end up looking at the third round rookie Michael Wilsonwho is 6-foot-2, or tight ends Zach Ertz (6 feet with 5 inches) and Trey McBride (6 feet 3 inches). McBrideEntering his second season, he has a history of lining up outside the open space formation during his time at Colorado State.
Gannon has declared himself very “pleased” with his group of receivers without HopkinsUntil now.
“I think that Drew Terrell [el coordinador de juego aéreo y coach de receptores de Arizona] y Whip [el especialista de juego aéreo, Spencer Whipple] They’re doing an excellent job with those guys,” he described Gannon. “What we talked about with our guys is if they find a niche, we’re going to use them in that role, and we like how they’re working.”
Regardless of who is on the field, the absence of Hopkins it will be felt
He was responsible for 21.3 percent of receiving yards over the past three years, despite missing the first six games last season while suspended for violating the team’s performance-altering substance policy. NFL. He had 717 yards and three touchdowns last year in nine games, which was enough to lead the team, and 8 yards more than his total. Brownwith everything and that he played three more games.
last campaign, Arizona scored just .29 points per game more with Hopkins on the field when compared to games he didn’t play, according to data from ESPN Stats & Information. Con Hopkins on the field, the yards per carry of the Cardinals they were up .10, passing yards per game were up 68.3, their rushing yards per game were up 26.8, and their touchdowns per game were up .60 percent.
However, the quarterbacks of Arizona averaged .28 more net yards per pass attempt without Hopkinsand the QBR of quarterbacks was higher by 2.7 without him on the field.
Not having the option of Hopkinsespecially in crucial situations — eight of the 10 catches of Hopkins on third downs resulted in first downs last year–meaning the scheme of Petzing you will need to create more specific pairings. could be similar to how Los Angeles Rams use to Cooper Coup with movements, formations and rapid detachments to short areas.
In response to no longer having to face Hopkins, defenses could employ game plans that include a higher dose of coverages with two deep field safeties, or more man coverages. Teams with cornerbacks who can run with Brown they could try to put more men in the box to disappear the ground attack from Arizona.
“With the guys we have on the team now, they present some defensive end challenges because of their skills,” he said. Gannon. “… So it’s just making sure that we evaluate the guys that we have out there … leaving guys in position to make plays for us and use their tools to the best of their ability, I think we’ll be fine.”
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