We are all DeAndre Hopkins right now.
Hopkins, last seen demonstrating all the emotional restraint of Odell Beckham Jr, is struggling to figure out what’s going on.
The Cardinals are struggling. The offense is struggling. And DeAndre Hopkins is struggling.
Maybe we can explain Hopkins struggles by simply tipping our cap to the individual greatness of Stephon Gilmore and Jalen Ramsey. We know how dominant cover corners can emasculate even the greatest of receivers after watching Patrick Peterson do it for most of his career, prior to this season.
But that’s doesn’t tell the full story.
Making its way around social media is a graphic from NFL.com’s NexGen stats showing Hopkins route trees from the last few games.
Hopkins route tree looks like a stubby, miniature palm tree. Everything’s short and on the left side of the football. Hopkins route tree should look like a mighty oak with branches everywhere and extending all over the field.
Kliff Kingsbury has decided the best way to utilize one of the best WR’s in football is to limit his usage, versatility and play making. Bury him on one side of the field, make it easier for defenses to take him out of the play and don’t even think about using motion or movement to get the ball in his hands. And its coming from a head coach hired exclusively for his offensive acumen.
Earlier this week, Kingsbury admitted the Cardinals offense doesn’t have an identity. This is a galling statement made heading into Week 14 by the head coach of a team that has Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins.
Your identity is Kyler and DHop. The reason you haven’t recognized it as your identity is because you’ve allowed defenses to tell you who and what you are as an offense.
Instead of flourishing away from the Texans and Bill O’Brien, Hopkins is slowly realizing he traded in BoB for BLoB, Better Looking O'Brien.
And again, this usage is by design as a staple of the Air Raid offense Kliff was hired to run at the NFL level. But this isn’t a collection of two star WR’s you’re going to turn into 1,000 yard all conference receivers. This is DeAndre Hopkins. You’ve got a Ferrari in your garage but don’t know how to drive a stick shift.
It might feel hopeless as the Cardinals struggle and watch an inexperienced head coach fumble for the right answers to the most obvious questions. But the answer is right under Kliff's nose, if he knows to look for it.
Let's not take any chances, lets give Kliff the answer: Get the ball to DeAndre Hopkins and you’ll finally know who you are as an offense.