Mo­ti­vated by crit­ics, WR Kirk off to good start

Yuma Sun - - SUN SPORTS -

TEMPE — Too small, too slow. Chris­tian Kirk is well aware of what crit­ics said to him go­ing into this year’s NFL draft.

They’re right in front of him ev­ery day as he leaves home.

“I have a black­board at my house that has it all writ­ten up,” he said. “It’s all right where I leave for the door ev­ery day.”

He hasn’t for­got­ten that five re­ceivers were drafted ahead of him.

“I thought I was the best and I’m out to prove that,” Kirk said.

He is off to a good start on a not-so-good team. Halfway through the sea­son, his 31 catches and 410 yards re­ceiv­ing rank se­cond among NFL rookie wide re­ceivers be­hind only At­lanta’s Calvin Ridley (33 catches, 463 yards). And Kirk has done it on a team that ranks last in the NFL in of­fense and next-to-last in pass­ing of­fense. “This guy is the ul­ti­mate pro,” coach Steve Wilks said. “You look at rook­ies com­ing in re­ally try­ing to find their way. This guy works hard each and ev­ery day, try­ing to take care of his body, try­ing to prep him­self. I think, re­ally, the op­por­tu­ni­ties that he has been get­ting, he’s tak­ing ad­van­tage of them, mean­ing the throws, the catches. He’s fin­ish­ing those plays, which is great.”

In his pre­vi­ous game, a week ago Sun­day, Kirk broke free in the back of the end zone and caught a 9-yard touch­down pass from fel­low rookie Josh Rosen with 34 sec­onds to play, the win­ning score in an 18-15 vic­tory over San Fran­cisco.

The Car­di­nals (2-6), who play at Kansas City (8-1) on Sun­day, had last week­end off.

“I went back this week and ac­tu­ally watched the Wash­ing­ton game (the sea­son opener),” Kirk said, “just see­ing where I was at then un­til now. It’s night and day. So I feel like ev­ery week I’m pro­gress­ing and I still want to do that through­out the sea­son.”

Kirk has lots of home­town sup­port. He grew up in sub­ur­ban Phoenix be­fore choos­ing Texas A&M over Ari­zona State in high school.

He has de­vel­oped a close re­la­tion­ship with Rosen, who took over as start­ing quar­ter­back in Week 4.

“I love Chris­tian,” Rosen said after Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice. “We’re on the same page about ev­ery­thing. We hang out off

ASSOCIATED PRESS

IN THIS SUN­DAY, OCT. 28, 2018, file photo, Ari­zona Car­di­nals wide re­ceiver Chris­tian Kirk (13) makes a touch­down dur­ing a game in Glen­dale.

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