ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – It will be Tre’Davious White vs. DeAndre Hopkins round three as the Bills take on the Cardinals on Sunday.
These are the kind of matchups you love to see as the best of the best at their positions go at it.
When these two previously met, Hopkins was with Houston where he spent the first seven seasons of his career before the Texans traded him to Arizona in March.
“It’s fun whenever you can go against a caliber guy like that, it brings the competitivness out of you. You know what to expect the whole week, you know you’re going to get targeted and you know no matter what if you’ve got him covered or not the ball is still gonna come,” White said.
“They’ve faced each other a number of times over the last few years. Tre’Davious has had his wins, DeAndre has had some success as well. It’s going to be a terrific battle,” Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said.
White always didn’t follow Hopkins in both of those games but at times he did. In 2018 Hopkins had five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown as the Texans beat the Bills, 20-13.
Then in last year’s Wild Card game, he was held without a touchdown catch and had 6 catches for 90 yards as Houston won 22-19 in overtime.
“Those are the type of things that make me thrive, I thrive in moments like that and situations like that where I know that going into the game no matter what I’m gonna have opportunities to make plays on the ball and it’s just gonna be up to me to make those plays,” White explained.
“Going up against a high caliber guy like that, you’re not gonna shut him out but you’ve just got to try to limit the damage that he does to our defense.”
Frazier said they still don’t know if White will follow Hopkins this time around, but just like White said, they need to limit those big plays.
“We’ll determine whether or not we want to travel with DeAndre or not. We’ll make that decision as the week goes on as we learn more about their offense and how they’re using him,” Frazier said.
“We know DeAndre is gonna make some catches. I mean they’re gonna throw it to him enough and do enough things to give him some opportunities. You can’t get discouraged when he catches a few balls. You just don’t want to give up the explosive plays.”
Hopkins is fifth in the league in receiving yards (734), tied for third in catches (60) and eighth in targets (76) and has three touchdowns. Even though he is still the number one receiver in Arizona, his role has changed a little bit from when he was with the Texans. That’s because of the number of weapons quarterback Kyle Murray has at his disposal outside of Hopkins.
“In Houston he was the number one read on pretty much every play but Kyler Murray does a great job of looking for other guys too and making it more difficult to hone in. I feel like he’s the number one guy but Kyler Murray does a great job of not locking in on him each and every play, each and every pass attempt so I think that will make it more difficult to defend those guys now,” White explained.
“Kyler does a great job of spreading the ball around so you can’t just lock in and try to double Hopkins because you’re gonna leave other guys out one-on-one so it’s difficult to cover those guys. They have a lot of speed.”
Plus it’s not just what Murray can do in the passing game but in the running game too as he leads the league in quarterback rushing yards and quarterback rushing touchdowns.
“You have to stop him from running the ball too so those type of things are gonna keep coach Frazier up at night but I feel like if we continue to do a great job of preparing well I think we’ll try to limit the big plays that those guys have. They’re very explosive,” White said.
And even though White has two games under his belt going against Hopkins, he says each matchup the slate is wiped clean.
“When you go up against a guy of that caliber your past battles really don’t mean anything going forward because guys like him, you know the reason why he stays at the top of the league at everything because each and every year he adds something new to his toolbox. He’s not the same player, he runs different routes, he comes up with different things,” White explained.