Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Monday that DeAndre Hopkins is expected to be ready to go in training camp after last year’s knee injury, but the team knows he won’t be ready to go at the start of the regular season.
Hopkins will miss six games while serving a suspension for violating the league’s PED policy, so the team will have to rely on other wideouts to move the ball in the opening weeks of the season. They traded for Hollywood Brown to help with that effort and A.J. Green is back from last season, but Christian Kirk left as a free agent and that puts Rondale Moore on track for a big role in the slot.
Moore said recently that he is “not here to replace anyone or be like anyone else,” but the need for him to step up after 54 catches as a rookie remains in place. Kingsbury said that he’s seen Moore building confidence in his ability to handle that job.
“I think he wanted to play more last year, but we had all those guys — Christian Kirk, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green — playing at a high level,” Kingsbury said, via the team’s website. “But he’s worked hard this offseason and we feel he can step into Christian’s role and play at a high level inside there. I think the confidence is high right now, and he knows he’s got a big opportunity coming.”
Tight end Zach Ertz will also feature into the mix when the Cardinals try for a strong start to the season despite missing a key part of the offense.