The Falcon Jedi Knight

Austin Hooper is a DOG

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Quinn: Falcons TE Austin Hooper has been like a 'dog'

 
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  • By Kevin Patra
  • Around the NFL Writer
  • Published: Aug. 6, 2018 at 08:47 a.m.
  • Updated: Aug. 6, 2018 at 10:09 a.m.
 

 

Tony Gonzalez finished out his career with the Atlanta Falcons earning three straight seasons of 850-plus yards receiving, with at least seven TDs each year.

The Falcons haven't had a tight end come close to duplicating those numbers since Gonzalez walked away in 2013. The nearest an Atlanta TE has come to matching the future Hall of Famer was the Jacob Tamme campaign of 2015, in which he went for 657 yards and one TD. For the most part, the Falcons have moved the ball with replacement-level production from the tight end position.

The Falcons hope Austin Hooper can change that dynamic in 2018. The 2016 third-round pick has improved his stats each season, corralling 49 passes for 526 yards and three TDs last season. Could this season be his breakout campaign?

During the offseason, Hooper stayed in the Atlanta area to work more with quarterback Matt Ryan. The early reviews are positive for the tight end.

"Hooper's been like a dog this offseason -- over and over, he'd catch everything Matt threw and bring it back," coach Dan Quinn told Peter King of NBC Sports.

There is plenty of room for the 23-year-old tight end to grow. He's coming off a season in which he had just two games of 50-plus yards -- none after Week 4.

In a passing offense that boasts Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, first-round pick Calvin Ridley, and running back Tevin Coleman, getting consistent production from Hooper would make the Falcons' O scary.

The biggest role for the 6-foot-3 Hooper should be in the red zone, where Atlanta struggled mightily in 2017. The Falcons seem destined for a positive red zone regression in 2018, and Hooper could be a huge part of that success as a big-bodied target opposite Jones.

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ALSO, from Peter KIng at NBCSports

• In Atlanta, watch for the emergence of Austin Hooper. The third-year tight end from Stanford did this offseason what Julian Edelman did to force-feed himself to Tom Brady a few years ago—Hooper became Matt Ryan’s consistent workout partner, staying in the Atlanta area in the offseason so he could get on the same wavelength with his quarterback. It worked. They’ve been a great tandem so far in camp. “Hooper’s been like a dog this offseason—over and over, he’d catch everything Matt threw and bring it back,” said coach Dan Quinn. Ryan and his wife welcomed twin boys in April, so he stuck close to home through the off-season. So did Hooper. And anytime Ryan called looking for a throwing partner, Hooper was there. He had 68 catches in his first two pro seasons, and could have that many this season alone.

 

Passprotection and Drew4719 like this

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He's put in the work and made the sacrifice to stay here over the off-season and work out with Ice. I expect him to look much better this season and his TC performance is bearing that out.

With the TE position back as a threat in Hoop and Saubert, along with everybody else we got, things are gonna get uber grim for opposing D's this season.

Kung-Pow and Tim Mazetti like this

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I've never worried about his ability to be a consitent pass catcher, but I am still worried about his ability to get open on his own. I'm not counting on that. 

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There's no reason a decent set of TE's wouldn't get 1000 yards/year in this offense.

I don't know if we have a decent set of TE's (I'm hoping) but they can make hay in this offense.  They can easily be the 2nd and 3rd look on most plays.

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1 minute ago, The Falcon Jedi Knight said:

He may be the next Gronkowski. Or Jason Whitten.

I just dont see the volume being there to support this sort of role. I think he has to talent to push for a Witten-esque role. No Gronk. That dude's a unicorn.

But a guy like Kyle Rudolph seems like a very good goal to shoot for. 70-90 targets, half a dozen TDs +/- 2. Reliable third down target. 

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Is his height, weight and speed comparable to Tony gonzalez and other great TEs?  If so, then I have faith all this hard work will pay off, but someone mentioned above that he lacks ability (speed?) to get separation? 

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45 minutes ago, The Falcon Jedi Knight said:

I think Hooper is definitely going to be featured more this season especially with Julio and Sanu and Ridley drawing all the coverage. This may be his breakout season. Id like to see that.

I'm with Larry, I don't think he has the volume to be a break out candidate.

He was only targeted 65 times last year which put him between Vernon Davis and Jesse James.  Kelce had 122.  Engram 115.  Walker 111 for comparison.  That was BEFORE they drafted Ridley.  If anything, I see this year more like the 2016 season where different positions are going off different weeks with Shanny taking advantage of what the defense was giving them.

44 minutes ago, ket222 said:

Is his height, weight and speed comparable to Tony gonzalez and other great TEs?  If so, then I have faith all this hard work will pay off, but someone mentioned above that he lacks ability (speed?) to get separation? 

Height/weight yes.  Tony was quicker.

None of that really matters though.  There are many ways to gain separation, even for guys without speed.

Tim Mazetti likes this

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Austin Hooper stayed close to Matt Ryan throughout the offseason

Posted by Mike Florio on August 6, 2018, 11:45 AM EDT

 

The Falcons haven’t had a high-end tight end since Tony Gonzalez retired after the 2013 season. They may be on the verge of getting one.

Austin Hooper, who had 49 catches for 526 yards in 2017, has been keeping close to the guy who distributes the footballs for the Falcons, in the hopes of generating even more for Atlanta in 2018.

As explained by Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America, Hooper remained in Atlanta throughout the offseason, working out consistently with quarterback Matt Ryan.

“Hooper’s been like a dog this offseason — over and over, he’d catch everything Matt threw and bring it back,” coach Dan Quinn told King, who explains that, whenever Ryan was looking for a throwing partner this offseason, Hooper answered the call.

In five seasons with Ryan and the Falcons, Gonzalez averaged nearly 82 catches and nearly 840 yards per season. While Hooper may not end up with those numbers, something in the middle of Hooper’s performance last year and Gonzalez’s year-in, year-out production would give the offense a great boost.

 

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/08/06/austin-hooper-stayed-close-to-matt-ryan-throughout-the-offseason/

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