Arizona Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk improved seemingly every week during his rookie campaign, proving he could be a difference-maker on the outside. Then a broken foot wiped away the final four games of his season.
Kirk broke his foot in a Week 13 victory in Green Bay. The wideout relayed that he attempted to play a few more plays after the injury occurred but ultimately had his season abruptly end.
After getting hurt in early December, Kirk told the team in an interview for its Cardinals Flight Plan docu-series he expects to be healthy by the end of the month.
“I should be fully healthy by the end of February, that’s the goal we’re shooting for right now,” he said. “The doctors say everything is going good. Rehab’s going right. Each day I’m just taking steps towards being healthy.”
While the Cardinals could take it slow with their No. 2 wideout, Kirk’s timetable should mean he won’t be a complete bystander once offseason workouts begin in mid-April. With the Cards overhauling their scheme to Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid system, the second-year receiver needs as many spring reps as possible to be ready to make a Year 2 leap.
“I’m just being patient,” he said of his rehab. “Kind of matured a lot from this whole experience and taking my time, and not trying to feel rushed. Because there is no rush to get back. The goal is for me to be 100 percent when I step on the field in August. So, I’m just doing all the steps, doing all the things that I can to make sure I’m the best me and the best version of myself to help this team win next year.”
Kirk flashed some brilliant play-making ability as a boundary receiver during his rookie campaign. Not the biggest wideout at 5-foot-11, the 22-year-old combines solid route-running with sticky hands, and ability to stretch the field. Kirk finished the season with 43 catches for 590 yards and three touchdowns in just 12 games. While those numbers might not look great on the page, considering the injury wiped out the final month of the season and he played in an anemic offense that generated a pathetic 3,865 total yards on the entire season, Kirk’s production looks better in context.
Heading into Year 2, Kirk is an obvious breakout candidate opposite Larry Fitzgerald. The Cards could still look to add a third receiver this offseason, but Kirk’s ascension will play a key role in the success of Kingsbury’s inaugural season. First, the wideout needs to get fully healthy, which sounds like should be soon.