Cardinals WR Marquise Brown aims 'to prove that I can be the guy' in 2023

DeAndre Hopkins is officially an ex-Arizona Cardinals wide receiver.

Thusly, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown would seem to be the unquestioned No. 1 wideout for the Cardinals, but he's adamant about proving it in 2023.

"I want to prove that I can be the guy," Brown said on Wednesday. "I want to prove that as an offense, as a team that we can be that team that we know we can be. I feel like everybody feels that way from coaches to the players."

It's somewhat of a breath of fresh desert air for a Cardinals player to sound off about wanting to prove something in 2023 as the offseason has been rife with disharmony and uncertainty.

Hopkins has been released, Pro Bowl safety Budda Baker requested a trade, quarterback Kyler Murray is unlikely to be ready for the start of the season and the new regime of general manager Monti Ossenfort and head coach Jonathan Gannon has plenty of holes to fill on a revamped roster.

Brown was a 2019 first-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens who garnered acclaim at Southern California's College of the Canyons before starring at Oklahoma with Murray.

Statistically speaking, Brown was the No. 1 receiver for the Cardinals in 2022, and prior to that for at least a season with the Ravens. However, with the Cardinals last year, his 67 receptions in 12 games were just three more than Hopkins' 64 catches in three fewer tilts.

And though Baltimore used the 25th-overall pick on Brown, tight end Mark Andrews was more often than not the team's top target during Brown's three seasons of playing in the Ravens' run-first and run-second offense.

Thus, Brown will have his chance to truly step up and prove himself to be the Cardinals' No. 1 receiver in 2023. He'll return to the fold -- along with Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch -- with Hopkins having been released. Hopkins' exit hasn't altered Brown's mindset, though. He was looking to prove himself whether Nuk was his teammate once again or not.

"I'm always working to be the best on the field no matter what," said Brown, who had 709 yards and three touchdowns off those aforementioned 67 catches in his first year with Arizona. "For me, I was just working. I wanted him to be here but he's not and I know he's going to do great things for wherever he goes. But for me, my thinking process and my role of how I see myself hasn't changed."

However, one glaring drawback is the uncertainty at QB.

With Murray not expected to be ready, Colt McCoy is likely to be the Week 1 starter provided he's healthy. McCoy missed the end of last season due to a concussion and has been dealing with an unspecified injury this offseason, per owner Michael Bidwill. Behind McCoy are rookie Clayton Tune and veterans Jeff Driskel and David Blough.

Regardless of who's the Cards' QB1 at the top of the season, Brown's ready to show he is indeed a bona fide WR1.

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