Why Cardinals’ Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins aren’t playing in Week 9 vs. 49ers

The Cardinals are looking to bounce back off their first loss of the 2021 NFL season. They’ll have to do so without their two best offensive players.

Both quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins are going to be out of action for the Cardinals on Sunday. They are dealing with injury issues and will each miss their first games of the season.

With those two out of action, the Cardinals will have to rely more on quarterback Colt McCoy and receivers Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore to carry the load.

But why aren’t Murray and Hopkins active? Here’s a refresher on what’s keeping the Cardinals stars out of action.

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Why Kyler Murray isn’t playing vs. 49ers

Murray is dealing with an ankle injury that will keep him out for the Cardinals’ Week 9 game against the 49ers. The third-year quarterback was unable to practice all week after suffering the injury late in Arizona’s Week 8 loss to the Packers.

Cardinals GM Steve Keim said that the Cardinals would look at “the big picture” when determining whether Murray would start or sit against the 49ers. On Sunday morning, it was reported that there was pessimism about Murray’s status and he ended up being inactive for the game.

With Murray out of action, Colt McCoy will start at quarterback for Arizona. McCoy was a third-round pick by the Browns in the 2010 NFL Draft and has an 8-22 record in 30 career starts. He has started five games in the last three years for Washington and the Giants and has posted a 1-4 record. Overall, McCoy has completed 60.7 percent of his career passes for 30 touchdowns and 28 interceptions.

Chris Streveler will be McCoy’s backup. Streveler completed 11 of 16 passes for the Cardinals last season and racked up 105 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception. The former CFL star for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers also ran for 15 yards on four carries.

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Why DeAndre Hopkins isn’t playing vs. 49ers

Hopkins was limited in the Cardinals’ Week 8 loss to the Packers and didn’t play a majority of the second half. He was dealing with a hamstring injury. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said that Hopkins ran onto the field on his own a couple of times to help the Arizona offense.

Kingsbury isn’t allowing any such risk this week. Hopkins will be inactive for just the third time in his NFL career. He missed practice all week as a result of the hamstring injury and seemed unlikely to suit up. The Cardinals deemed him questionable but there was little optimism that he would be able to play.

Hopkins isn’t the only Cardinals receiver that will be out on Sunday. A.J. Green is on the COVID list, so the Cardinals will be down their quarterback and their top two receivers. Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore will be the top two receivers in Week 9 as a result while tight end Zach Ertz should be more involved in Arizona’s game plan.

Andy Isabella and Antoine Wesley will also see additional action, as Kingsbury and the Cardinals love to pass out of four-wide sets.

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