GLENDALE, Ariz. — Everything is easier so far now than it was last year.
Even with the coronavirus pandemic and the hindrance it’s placed on all teams in the NFL, Kyler Murray and co. say with the same system in place and many of the same players, the team is ahead of schedule.
“We’ve got a younger group, year two with this group obviously, everyone already kind of knows the system. We don’t have to pause, there’s not many stops, not many reloads,” Murray said after Thursday’s training camp practice. “Obviously you’ve got (DeAndre Hopkins) learning but he’s used to this type of offense, he’s learning on the fly, he’s been good with it.”
Regarding new star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Murray says that while he didn’t meet him until teammates came out to Dallas for an unofficial session, the two have been gelling off the field and now on the field.
“Obviously being a fan of football, I’ve watched him since he got in the league. He’s got a feel that you can’t really coach,” Murray said. “Obviously him being one of the best to ever do it already, he’s proven that he just has it and hopefully we can build this thing together and be great.”
Not only does Murray expect something great to develop between him and Hopkins, but he said he believes that it’s entirely possible that Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk each net 1,000 receiving yards this season.
“Yeah for sure, I definitely think that’s possible,” Murray said without hesitation.
The last time the Cardinals have had three wide receivers with 1,000 yards was in the 2008 season when the team went to the Super Bowl, with Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston all catching for more than 1,000.
Fitzgerald has been held under 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons.
Additionally, Murray says Hopkins is going to make Christian Kirk better and give him more chances to succeed as defenders help on Hopkins more.
"Adding [Hopkins] just makes Christian Kirk that much more dangerous...He's got it. I'm ready for him to unleash it,” Murray said.
In Kirk’s second NFL season, last year, he had 709 receiving yards on 68 catches in just 13 games. He missed three games with an ankle injury.
While just 23, Murray has grown in his leadership role, something he says is a natural progression as the starting quarterback of the team.
He spoke about how the pandemic has made things harder for rookies, something he can understand just a year removed from his rookie season.
“They got an unfortunate start to things, a little bit different,” he said. “But at the same time, I think both sides, a lot of guys are a lot closer just dealing with what we’ve had to deal with. Me being in their shoes last year, I kind of know how they feel. A lot of them may not be comfortable yet, the game is moving a lot faster, you’ve got to learn a new system, so it’s difficult but at the same time, they’re here for a reason.”
A common early theme in training camp for both Cardinals players and coaches is the stability within the organization with much of the same personnel this year, and the belief that it will allow the team to get off to a hot start.
The Cardinals will practice again Friday and then on Monday will put the pads on for the first time.