Though a quarter of the way through the season, there are many questions and concerns, we do have one guy whose been trending up for years and this season is no exception, The quietly consistent, Austin Hooper. Drafted in 2016, Hooper has been a model of consistency during the span of his short career. Each year his numbers have improved, and he’s not slowing down. I won’t bore you with his stats, anyone can find those on the internet, but I will tell you, so far, in 2019, Hoop has 28 rec., 307 yds, and 2 TDs in 4 games!
He is leading the team in receptions and yards, last week with 9 for 130 yards. He’s on pace to achieve his 1st 1000+ yard season on a team that features Julio Jones, Mohammed Sanu, and Calvin Ridley! Hoop spent extra time working with Matt Ryan in the offseason before the 2018 season, and it paid off tremendously for The Falcons. Hoop certainly breathes new life into a position that’s been pretty stale without Crumpler or Gonzalez. Whether he’s hurdling defenders or showing his YAC abilities, he’s been performing at a high level since he’s donned the red and black.
Relax armchair OC’s I’m not at all saying Koetters well documented like for heavy sets is what I think is the recipe, it’s not… heavy doses of Stocker, Graham and Hooper isn’t the answer while other skill players watch from the sideline. But I do know that the coverage schemes from opposing defenses are helping Hooper see more targets. Once Hoop is a well established RedZone target, it’s going to be very difficult to cover and 11 man set, meaning 1 back 1 TE and 3 WRs. If you were a defensive coordinator, wouldn’t you lose sleep figuring out a game plan to take away a TE knowing there are 3 sure-handed receivers out there and a solid back?
We got off topic; this isn’t about schemes; it’s about acknowledging the constant. We all do love Hoop, we love yelling “Hoooooop” when he snags a catch, but ya know who else loves Hooper, a whole lot… Matty Ice. Hooper has quickly become Ryan’s favorite hoodie and warm pumpkin spice latte on a cozy fall afternoon! The comfort and security Hooper brings to the table is evident, Matt and Austin are building great chemistry and trust, and it’s being translated onto the field every week.
This Ryan and Hooper magic will continue to trend up, and we aren’t talking about it enough. Grab a falcon fan, chat about some of the positive things, perhaps even this article is a wise choice and continue to Rise Up!