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TE Austin Hooper - Atlanta Falcons

6-4, 254Born: 10-29-1994College: StanfordDrafted: Round 3

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Photo: Dale Zanine, US Presswire

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Week 21: vs New England Patriots

All TE vs NE

Mark and Joe say: Neutral matchup. First things first - Julio Jones (toe, foot) said on Wednesday, February 1 that he's ready to go and doesn't expect his foot injuries to limit him in the Super Bowl. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Julio Jones (toe) 'looked great' in the Monday, January 30 practice. Jones averaged more than 100 receiving yards per game in 2016, and he is he first player in NFL history to average more than 100 receiving yards per game in four different seasons. He was a one-man wrecking crew against the Packers two weekends ago, with 12 targets for 9/180/2 receiving, playing through pain from his foot and toe injuries. How hot is the Atlanta passing offense entering Super Bowl LI? Well, Matt Ryan is the only quarterback in playoff history to throw for at least three touchdowns in four straight playoff games. So far this post-season, Ryan has thrown seven passing scores, with 26/37 for 338 yards passing, three TDs and zero interceptions thrown against the Seahawks two games ago (he took three sacks for -15 yards), and then a jaw-dropping 27/38 for 392 yards passing, four TDs and zero interceptions thrown, with zero sacks taken, during the 44-21 demolition of Green Bay two weekends ago. Beside Jones' outstanding performance, Mohamed Sanu (1/7/0 rushing with seven targets for 5/52/1 receiving) and Devonta Freeman (five for 4/42/1) also scored against the Packers. With 730 yards passing, seven TDs and zero interceptions thrown so far during the playoffs, Ryan and the Falcons enter the Super Bowl flying high in this phase of the game. Two games ago, Brock Osweiler struggled at Gillette Stadium, throwing 23/40 for 198 yards passing, one TD and three interceptions, while taking three sacks for -17 yards. Ben Roethlisberger fared a little better, with 31/47 for 314 yards passing, one TD and one interception thrown (with zero sacks taken), but his team still lost 17-36. During the post-season, New England has averaged 247 net passing yards allowed per game, with two TDs surrendered vs. four interceptions generated - during regular season the Patriots ranked 12th in the NFL averaging 237.9 net passing yards allowed per game, with 21 passing scores handed out vs. 13 interceptions (tied for 15th in the NFL) and 34 sacks (tie-16th) generated. Over the final three weeks of regular season, New England averaged a mere 11.6 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks (least in the NFL); 18.9 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing wide receivers (13th-least) and just 3.4 fantasy points allowed per game to opposing tight ends (sixth-least). As you can see, they have been close to their season average in passing yards allowed, but have generated more interceptions than usual this season during the post-season. Ryan is playing at an other-worldly level during the post-season, while the Patriots' pass defense has been adequate, but allowed 314 net yards passing to the Steelers most recently - this is a neutral matchup for the powerful Atlanta offense.

Recent Stats and Projections

19 vs SEA 39 1 10 0 0 1
20 vs GB 0 2 23 0 0 2.3
21 vs NE 0 3 32 1 0 9.2
21 vs NE PROJ-Dodds * 2 * * * *
21 vs NE PROJ-Tremblay * 2 * * * *
21 vs NE PROJ-Bloom * 1 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2016 Week 20 vs GB (2 / 2 / 23 / 0 rec)

Although targeted minimally, Hooper converted a third down in the right flat during the first half and made a defender miss during his run after the catch. Troy Aikman thought Hooper looked slow and blamed the gain on the defender, but Hooper purposely altered the pace of his run to set up the defender. Fellow analyst John Lynch recently described Hooper as a tight end with sneaky quickness that makes him a difficult tackle in the open field. Hooper showed that today.

2016 Week 19 vs SEA (1 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)

Although targeted only once, Hooper got wide open on a shallow out to the left flat and turn up the left sideline for a gain of 11 and a first down. It came from a two tight end set as the outside tight end in-line with the front.

2016 Week 15 vs SF (1 / 1 / 9 / 1 rec)

Hooper saw just a single target in Atlanta's blowout home win against the 49ers. His target turned into a highlight jump ball touchdown in the red zone, showing off the rookie's receiver-like ball skills in a one-on-one contested situation. While Hooper's volume has been low even with incumbent starter Jacob Tamme out of the lineup, he has an optimistic three touchdowns on the season.

2016 Week 14 vs LA (3 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)

The rookie earned a first down for a short gain under the linebackers in the middle of the field with 3:00 in the half. He was targeted on a post against tight coverage and the hit was hard enough to disrupt the catch with 0:17 in the half. It was the extent of his participation in the passing game.

2016 Week 13 vs KC (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

The tight end forced the Chiefs' safety Sorensen to commit a defensive pass interference foul at the goal line on 3rd and 11 from the 12 during the first series. Hooper did so with a good release, swimming over the defender at his break point and drew a wrap around his waist. The only other time he was targeted was the series after Matt Ryan threw the pick-six late in the half. Hooper got open on an out at the right sideline and Ryan underthrew the pass. The defender should have caught his pass and if he did, it would have been a consecutive pick-six in two series.

2016 Week 12 vs ARI (2 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)

The tight end caught a stick route for a first down for a gain of nearly 5 with less than a minute in the half and then later converted a 3rd and 2 in the right flat. This was the extent of his production in the passing game.

2016 Week 10 vs PHI (3 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)

The rookie dropped a pass in the middle of the field on 3rd and 18 with 3:03 in the half and it led to a 43-yard FG. Hooper caught a short pass in the flat in the fourth quarter for eight yards to set up a 3rd and 12 with less than 6 left and down by 5. It was the extent of his production.

2016 Week 9 vs TB (6 / 3 / 46 / 1 rec)

The rookie made a diving attempt on 3rd and 7 up the left seam in tight coverage inside the 10, but could not hang on and the play would have been nullified by an Andy Levitre facemask. He ran a good crossing route with a shoulder dip under the linebacker to get open and earn the first down near the 12 of Tampa Bay on 3rd and 7 with 5:20 in the half. He also ran a good seam route for nearly 30 yards inside the cornerback on the right side of the field inside the Tampa zone. Hooper couldn't get open on a crossing route on a play action goal line route in the fourth quarter. When Ryan tried to draw the LB inside on the rollout and float it over the defender, the LB tipped the pass intended for Hooper. On the next play, Ryan hit Hooper on a slant from inside the five for Ryan's fourth TD. It was a rub route with Sanu. Look for Hooper to lead the three tight ends with targets moving forward. He wasn't a go-to option in this game, but he made enough plays to gain more of Matt Ryan's confidence moving forward.

2016 Week 8 vs GB (5 / 5 / 41 / 0 rec)

With Jacob Tamme injured, Hooper earned more targets and caught all of them. He caught an open speed out in the left flat for a few yards, but was chopped at the legs to limit his gain at the catch-point. The throw was delivered behind Hooper and limited his chance to earn yards after the catch. In the mid-second quarter, Hooper earned five on a short out and later gained close to 10 yards for a first down in the left flat with more than half coming of the total coming after the catch. He was stuffed on a drag route for a loss a play later, but a late hit on Datone Jones gave Atlanta the first down. His best play was a seam route on a play beginning from the Packers' 27 where he executed a swim over the linebacker and got the ball inside the Packers' 6. His finished the game with a short catch in the flat to get the first down with less than a minute left inside the 12 of Green Bay for a first down, setting up the winning score.

2016 Week 7 vs SD (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

The rookie got wide open up the left flat on a deep cross after he executed a good swim move on the linebacker near the line of scrimmage. Hooper was behind every defender in the secondary, but Matt Ryan forced the ball into tight coverage to Julio Jones for the completion at the 29 of San Diego. It was a successful play, but a missed opportunity for a touchdown to the tight end. Hooper also made a nice tackle on a kick return in the first half, stopping the return short.

2016 Week 5 vs DEN (1 / 1 / 14 / 0 rec)

Hooper on a short flat and turned up the right sideline for a first down for 10 yards to get to the 20 of Denver in the late first half. He also recovered an onside kick after Denver cut the Atlanta lead to 10 points late in the fourth quarter.

2016 Week 4 vs CAR (1 / 1 / 42 / 1 rec)

Hooper scored on a 42-yard play-action, throw-back pass up the left seam. It was a wonderful play design with three tight ends in a run heavy formation and Matt Ryan using bootleg action to the right. Carolina followed Jacob Tamme crossing from the left to the right flat and the Panthers let Hooper sneak from the right side of the line to the left flat and left him wide open for a catch and run of nearly equal length.

2016 Week 2 vs OAK (3 / 3 / 84 / 0 rec)

Hooper gained six on a boot-action pass to the left flat, crossing mid field on the gain. He later got wide open up the right seam for a 44-yard gain after working open at the same time Matt Ryan was climbing from Raiders' pressure. Hooper nearly matched that gain later when he earned a play-action throwback up the left sideline for 34 yards, setting up a touchdown to his teammate Jacob Tamme. Although the coaching staff says Hooper still has work to do as a blocker, he did a great job on a combination block with his right tackle to reach the linebacker at the second level and open a crease for Devonta Freeman. However, Freeman slipped after a short gain and couldn't exploit the opening.

2016 Week 1 vs TB (1 / 1 / 14 / 0 rec)

Of Coleman's first four touches, three of them were perimeter plays. His best play was a 47-yard swing pass to the right flat. Ryan threw the ball behind Coleman and the second-year tight end made an excellent back shoulder adjustment on the move to snare the ball and take it up the right sideline. Coleman's outside plays were exciting and he came close to breaking his second touch to the right side, but he was not effective inside. When he earned more than a few yards up the middle in this game, he was given the ball on "long" down and distance situations that meant a four-yard gain wasn't a significant output. He gained 21 yards on a play fake and catch on a route to the flat. Then they put him outside as a receiver and ran the screen for another first down for 16 yards.


Atlanta Falcons Team Links

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