Atlanta Falcons’ Austin Hooper on track for elite 2019
Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper participated in his first Pro Bowl in 2018. Now under the guidance of a new offensive coordinator and tight-ends coach, Hooper aims to become even more of a weapon in 2019.
The Atlanta Falcons have a gem in Austin Hooper. He’s just fun to watch. Whether he’s dishing out filthy stiff-arms at Soldier Field or going airborne on his way to the end zone, Hooper is one of a kind.
A third round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Hooper has rounded out nicely. When compared to his tight-end counterparts in 2018, he was top 10 in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
His final stats for the 2018 season were 71 receptions for 660 yards and 7 touchdowns. Very solid numbers.
The attention that Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley attract is key to Hooper’s success. As a defense, you just can’t cover all of the Falcons’ weapons. And often times, it’s Hooper who’s left open.
The Atlanta Falcons have brought back Mike Mularkey to be the team’s tight-ends coach in 2019. Mularkey was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons from 2008-2011.
In an AJC article written by D. Orlando Ledbetter, Mularkey didn’t mince words about the Pro Bowler’s role. Mularkey said the following:
"He is a threat in this offense."
With former Falcon offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter returning to take over play calling responsibilities in 2019, Hooper will have to learn a new system. But in a recent ESPN article written by Vaughn McClure, Hooper was upbeat about Koetter’s previous usage of Tony Gonzalez.
Hooper said the following about Koetter in Vaughn McClure’s piece:
"Looks like he likes to work [the tight end] into the game plan. I watched a few games of Tony G. back in the day. He’s just consistent, man. Anytime the ball got thrown to him, he made the catches every time. He’s the consummate pro — a Hall of Famer."
No, Hooper will never be the Hall of Famer that was Tony Gonzalez, but that’s OK. He doesn’t have to be Tony Gonzalez; he just has to be Austin Hooper.