"I'm operating that he's a Cardinal right now," Gannon told NFL Network's Steve Wyche at the Annual League Meeting on Sunday. "So, I'm looking forward to getting in the meeting room and on the field with him and seeing where it can go. I just know he's an elite player. Being a defensive guy, I had to go up against him a couple times in the division. The challenges that he presents. I'm excited to get to work with him."
Before serving as Philadelphia's defensive coordinator for a two-season stint that led to his ascension to head coach in Arizona, Gannon served as the Colts' cornerbacks coach from 2018-2020, Hopkins' final three seasons terrorizing the AFC South.
The wide receiver was an All-Pro in each of those three seasons. And although he hasn't earned that honor again during his three years with Arizona, Gannon still knows full well just how dangerous D-Hop can be entering his age-31 season.
Hopkins led the team in receiving yards with 717 and placed just three catches behind Marquise Brown with 64 while playing just nine games in 2022. That's the type of weapon the first-time coach plans to rely on unless a trade sometime this offseason says otherwise.
"He was in Dallas with his surgeon this last week, and he's doing well," Gannon said. "They like where he's at. He's going to start doing some things in the strength room. He's coming along well."
Gannon also shared with Wyche that it will ultimately be the coach's call when Murray returns to the field in order to protect him both physically and mentally. He didn't name a stand-in to begin the season -- the other QBs currently on the roster are Colt McCoy and David Blough -- but he did address the challenge of temporarily shifting the offense away from a dynamic threat like Murray.
"Obviously whoever's out there playing quarterback for us isn't going to have the same skill set that Kyler has," Gannon said. "So we'll just tailor-fit what we're doing with the offense around that guy, and then when Kyler gets back in, we'll tailor-fit the offense around him. You know, a system will be in place, you might just call it a little bit differently with the guy that's pulling the trigger."
It's plenty to juggle for a rookie coach whose main priority as a former defensive coordinator will also be rectifying a defense that surrendered the second-most points in the NFL last year.
Still, Gannon is choosing to approach the job with an optimistic flair.
"People are like, 'How are you holding up?'" Gannon said. "How am I holding up? This is the best job I've ever had. So we'll see, you know, you got to win some games. Most stress I had being a head coach is finding a house. It's been awesome. Good people in the building."
Time will tell if those feelings hold true come September. The first major stress test comparative to locating a realtor is looming in Week 1.