DeAndre Hopkins had 14 catches in Week 1, which was absurd. But the more absurd thing was that he did that for the Cardinals.
Yes, even though Arizona acquired the wideout from Houston all the way back in March, it was still jarring to see him playing for the NFC West squad and still jarring to think that Bill O'Brien didn't want him in his offense anymore.
Ron Rivera was asked Wednesday to reflect on what he thought about the Hopkins trade when it first went down. Turns out, Washington's coach was just as taken aback by the transaction as anyone.
"We had no sense he was on the market," Rivera said.
"We were all surprised," he added. "Here’s a talented player that’s playing for a team that he’d been playing very well for and they traded him. But it was a decision that was made on another team.”
Hopkins is still just 28, has a longggg track record of putting up massive stats and no track record of getting hurt, yet O'Brien chose to ship him out west so he could get running back David Johnson and a couple of draft picks. And through one game, the Cards look like they absolutely bamboozled the Texans in the swap.
This Sunday, Washington will look to limit Hopkins far better than the 49ers did in the opener. While most of the interest in the matchup revolves around how their pass rush will be able to get to Kyler Murray, stifling the receiver, as well as Larry Fitzgerald on the other side, will matter a ton as well.
Rivera's well aware of the test his group is about to face.
"They’re given another playmaker," Rivera said. "Here’s a guy that’s got the ability to be explosive, the ability to make plays. It’s obvious based on how many times he was targeted and how many times the ball was thrown to him that Kyler’s become very comfortable with him.”
In a frightening twist, Kliff Kingsbury, Hopkins' new boss, believes his QB and his new star were still a bit out of sync versus San Fran, even with their gaudy numbers.
"I think they’ll continue to get on the same page," Kingsbury said. "There were a couple times where we weren’t on the same page. As we get more practice time, more work together, I’m hoping that rapport continues to build."
Each of the Cardinals' opponents in 2020 will likely find themselves feeling quite salty with O'Brien as they prepare for Hopkins along with the rest of his dangerous unit. It's like when someone in your fantasy league makes an awful move and everyone else has to pay for it, too.
The only thing Washington can do about it now, though, is accept the challenge and attack it. That's a theme that's emerging under Rivera's watch, and it'll have hold strong in Week 2.