Since the Texans traded the All-Pro receiver to the Cardinals on March 16, Hopkins has gotten little on-field work with the team’s second-year quarterback because of the pandemic.
Murray passed for 3,722 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in winning offensive rookie of the year honors in 2019.
“Kyler has an arm,” Hopkins said on a conference call, via video from the team. “Obviously, I’m thankful to play with a quarterback like that who can make any throw, anywhere on the field and has confidence to do it. I think just from what I’ve seen, we’re going to have a good time playing football together, because obviously he’s confident in his arm. The guy is very talented, very smart, high football IQ. What I’ve seen so far is someone with a very strong arm.”
The lack of work with Murray isn’t a concern for Hopkins, who had Deshaun Watson as his quarterback the past three seasons.
“I think I will have time to develop chemistry with Kyler,” Hopkins said. “Kyler’s going into his second year obviously. He’s advanced in this offense. Other guys also. Last year was the first year of a lot of people being in this offense. You can tell just from the first day that — I wasn’t here, but just hearing from guys — we’re far advanced than where we were at this point last year. He’s matured in this offense. I’m new to it, but he’s going a good job of keeping me up to par with things and also the other guys around me. But I think we will have time to develop chemistry once we kind of get out there and throw a little bit more against the defense. I think that will help. Obviously, we don’t have a lot of time to get ready, so every rep really counts. But Kyler’s mindset is we’re going to make it work, so that’s my mindset as well.”
Hopkins has had to learn the offense virtually, getting no on-field work at the team facility in the offseason. Hopkins said he has the playbook on his phone, as his screensaver.
“Virtual meetings are different, obviously,” Hopkins said. “You have to be a professional to play this game and not just a professional on the field, but off the field. The coaches have done a great job of helping me. Every single one of the coaches. The players as well. It’s a big playbook obviously, no huddle, but Kliff [Kingsbury] has done a good job — and receivers coaches as well — of helping me out and keeping me up to speed with the offense. But once you go out there, obviously that’s the best to get reps while you’re playing. But I think so far this offense has came along well for me. I’m picking it up. I’m in my playbook every day, twice a day. . . . I’m doing my best to catch up. Obviously, these guys are doing a good job with the way they teach.”
Hopkins has earned All-Pro honors the past three seasons and is a four-time Pro Bowler. His arrival gives Murray one of the best group of weapons in the NFL.