Detroit Lions: Neutralizing DeAndre Hopkins easier said than done

The Detroit Lions need to figure out a way to neutralize star receiver, DeAndre Hopkins.

If you follow the NFL, you understand that DeAndre Hopkins is one of the leagues’ best receivers.  The Detroit Lions don’t match up well against this Cardinal offense heading into Sunday’s contest.

Just a week ago, the Detroit Lions played without their starting left corner Desmond Trufant and slot corner Justin Coleman leaving rookie third overall pick Jeff Okudah to take his lumps making his NFL debut.

Okudah yielded 17.3 yards per reception in his first game.  According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he earned an atrocious 28.6 overall grade, including a 27.2 mark in coverage. Okudah played a total of 73 defensive snaps and was targeted ten times, allowing seven catches.

The Green Bay Packers torched the youngster for 121 total yards, 51 of which came after the catch.  Okudah failed to break up a single pass.

Saturday afternoon, the Detroit Lions received some bad news.

Trufant will miss his second straight week, leaving the Cardinals a juicy matchup for both Hopkins and the legend, Larry Fitzgerald.

The Cardinals will be trying to get Hopkins lined up against Okudah as much as possible as the Lions continue to use a plethora of man-to-man coverage.  The Lions will be trying to counter relying on Amani Oruwariye to try and check one of the two dynamic Cardinal receivers, but that will allow the other to feast.

Hopkins has excelled in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense through his first two games.  In the first week of the season, he made 14 receptions on 16 targets totaling 151 yards.  Hopkins followed that up with eight grabs on nine targets totaling 68 yards and a touchdown.  His 88% catch rate is nothing short of miraculous.

Fitzgerald has chipped in with 11 receptions on 12 targets totaling 84 yards and an unbelievable  91.7% catch rate.  Kyler Murray is enjoying a stellar 68% completion percentage over the first two weeks of the season.

In head coach Matt Patricia’s scheme, the Lions continue to play an abundance of man coverage, although they fail to create any type of pass-rush.  It’s OK to play man coverage when a defense has the talent at the corner position to do so, but more importantly, they need a defensive front that can cause havoc in the backfield; at this point, the Detroit Lions neither.

Next: Kenny Golladay set to make season debut

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It will be challenging to watch the organization leave their rookie corner on an island against a premier talent like Hopkins.