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Old 06-23-2014   #1
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Default DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Football Outsiders -- Factors: DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins is going to go from 90 targets in 2013 to catching 90 balls in 2014

Quote:
by Rivers McCown

In this sports culture, a world where we are expected to have Hot Takes quickly and watch them blossom, sometimes we are actually wrong. Like, really, really, wrong. In that spirit, I take you to Cian Fahey's article about DeAndre Hopkins after Week 2 of the season.
Hopkins showed off that ability with big plays late in the game against the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. Those were the spectacular catches, but he also shares a trait that Michael Crabtree has seemingly perfected: he is able to set up defensive backs for yards after the catch with how he contorts his body before he catches the ball.
Fahey allowed for the idea that Hopkins may suffer for opportunities in a run-first offense, but the tenor of the piece was clear: the Texans had reason for optimism when it came to their first-round pick. This was the kind of player who could help them fend off the Colts and keep a stranglehold on the division.

Then they lost 14 games in a row.

Hopkins was targeted 19 times in the first two games of the season. He was then targeted just 5.1 times a game over the last 14 contests despite a solid 6.9% DVOA. What changed in Houston? Why weren't they able to exploit a receiver with such NFL-ready skills?

The method
I looked at where Hopkins lined up before each snap. I gave an educated guess on whether he was facing man or zone coverage, as well as one for the type of route he ran. This can be hard to tell at times, and I still don't think my eye for film matches up with the best in the industry, but I did my best. I don't come into this looking to make sweeping conclusions based on the data we use. In fact, I don't come into this column looking to have a final say on anything.

The target totals listed below don't quite match the total listed on our wideout stats page. This is because we did not consider certain plays, including:
  • Hail Mary attempts
  • Clear throwaways by an under-pressure Matt Schaub or Case Keenum
  • Balls tipped at the line of scrimmage
  • Targets listing Hopkins as the primary receiver in which a defender hit the quarterback during his throwing motion

Here are my observations:

Chart: DEANDRE HOPKINS' SEASON BY FIELD ZONES

1. Hopkins at his best
Hopkins doesn't have sprinter speed. He has some elusiveness, but he's no threat to make five people miss a tackle on one play like Percy Harvin. Hopkins excels in a more uncommon way: he welcomes contact from defensive backs.

Over the course of this series, I haven't seen anyone take as many jams as Hopkins did at the top of his routes. He often was the one initiating the jam, and he intuitively shields himself well from the contact at the point of attack. He plays wideout like an MMA fighter.

Combine this with his terrific route running and above-average vision, and you get an NFL-ready wideout that could compete right away. And as you can see from both our DVOA numbers and the zones chart above, he more than delivered on that promise ... when he was part of the offense.
Another thing that stood out was...

Chart: WHERE HOPKINS LINED UP ON HIS TARGETS

2. Rookies are better not seen or heard
If we had to limit it to a time on the clock, what would you guess would be the most accurate indicator of a hurry-up offense?

I ask because if we play around with splits a little bit, we find some truly disturbing things about Hopkins' usage. 66 of his 92 targets were thrown in the second quarter, fourth quarter, or overtime. 34 of those came in the last five minutes of the second or fourth, or at any time in overtime. That's more than a third of his total targets in pure passing situations.

It would be one thing if Hopkins was never out on the field... But Hopkins played 88.8% of the offensive snaps in 2013. He played more snaps than Andre Johnson.

So how exactly did the Texans manage to spend the entire season ignoring their second-best receiver until the game was out of reach?

Chart: HOPKINS VERSUS MAN, HOPKINS VERSUS ZONE

Chart: HOPKINS' ROUTES

3. Rex Grossman style
Hopkins ran 25 seam routes on a team that had no quarterbacks that could consistently hit those spots. The results were great when Hopkins actually managed to get on top of someone and have Wingus or Dingus loft the ball in his direction.

But, if your physical and extremely gifted route-running wideout can separate deep too (and Hopkins can do that), shouldn't this be a bonus rather than his calling? Look back at the field zones chart and see all the red Hopkins provided underneath. This is a receiver that could bully the first 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. Slants should not be a supplemental idea with Hopkins.

And this is what bad coaching looks like...

4. A return to normalcy?
Bill O'Brien's system should be much more friendly to Hopkins. Of course, he may suffer from the same issues Kendall Wright faced last year: being the No. 1 threat on a bad offense and trying to catch balls with no touch from Ryan Fitzpatrick. (Assuming Andre Johnson actually holds out or is allowed to leave, that is.)

Hopkins doesn't have the pure physical talent to be a top-of-the-line wide receiver. He's not going to be the next Johnson: Calvin or Andre. But he very well could be the next...
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Old 06-23-2014   #2
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Oversimplifying, IMO

Hopkins was among the top rookies (drafted in the first round, around his spot) that saw targets in the 90s.
Others didn't see anywhere that many.

If you look at the numbers from game to game, it just happened that he saw a lot of targets in the Titans game and the Rams game (13 and 11).

http://www.fftoday.com/stats/players...eAndre_Hopkins

He saw lows of 3 (Seahawks) and 2 (Raiders).
Otherwise, the distribution was quite consistent, between 4 and 7.

We already know that Kubiak's offense would target the TEs and the RBs a bunch, but the majority will always go to Andre.
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Old 06-23-2014   #3
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Also, I notice two contradictions.

Fahey was saying that Hopkins was misused in a run first offense; he couldn't be more wrong.
Last year, the Texans logged 633 pass attempts (6th highest in the league) and 414 rushing attempts (22nd in the league.)

In one paragraph, McCown stated that Hopkins doesn't have sprinter speed; in another, he said that Hopkins can separate deep, too.
How?
He doesn't have speed; he doesn't have a wicked double move like AJ (at least not yet).
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Old 06-23-2014   #4
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76Texan View Post
In one paragraph, McCown stated that Hopkins doesn't have sprinter speed; in another, he said that Hopkins can separate deep, too.
How?
He doesn't have speed;he doesn't have a wicked double move like AJ (at least not yet).
Hopkins gets separation from his route running and even being played tight has a knack for going up and getting the ball. But he DOES get separation as well.

To the bolded; you might wanna go back and watch some more tape. Brett over at BRB did an in depth post about Hopkins and posted several gifs where he used head fakes and double moves to juke CBs outta their socks and jocks. Very impressive. Don't have a link but with just a little looking, it's there.

I'm not necessarily seeing the "two contradictions".
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Old 06-23-2014   #5
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76Texan View Post
Fahey was saying that Hopkins was misused in a run first offense; he couldn't be more wrong.
So you'd characterize Kubiak's offense as pass first?

Go back to 2012(4th in attempts)/2011(1st in attempts) stats. Bad teams are typically forced to run less -- 2013(22nd in attempts) was a clusterf#@%.

Quote:
In one paragraph, McCown stated that Hopkins doesn't have sprinter speed; in another, he said that Hopkins can separate deep, too.
How?
http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-medi...e-5cf7758b37df
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Old 06-23-2014   #6
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

I find it interesting how the point out how little targets Hopkins got.

I've always felt that our QBs have always been too locked in on AJ.

While some argue that AJ would have better stats with a better QB, I wonder if AJ would have less stats if our QBs had worked progressions better.
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Old 06-23-2014   #7
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76Texan View Post
In one paragraph, McCown stated that Hopkins doesn't have sprinter speed; in another, he said that Hopkins can separate deep, too.
How?
He doesn't have speed; he doesn't have a wicked double move like AJ (at least not yet).
Hopkins physically is what permits him to separate from most corners. In a game against the Chiefs he made Sean Smith look like a toddler, chuck him aside and caught an easy TD down the sidelines.

Hopkins has a bright future, already near mastering the craft of hand-to-hand combat at the point of contact, a skill that many receivers have the most troubles training for.
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Old 06-23-2014   #8
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by klockWork View Post
Hopkins physically is what permits him to separate from most corners. In a game against the Chiefs he made Sean Smith look like a toddler, chuck him aside and caught an easy TD down the sidelines.

Hopkins has a bright future, already near mastering the craft of hand-to-hand combat at the point of contact, a skill that many receivers have the most troubles training for.
Correct.

Speed as the tool that creates separation is dramatically overvalued. Speed does place some added stress on the defensive scheme... However, a physical receiver with Hopkins athleticism can certainly gain separation against man defense... Play calling and route running also achieve that. Against a zone, scheme and a wr's awareness and instincts to sit in the windows are key.
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Old 06-23-2014   #9
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Playoffs View Post
So you'd characterize Kubiak's offense as pass first?

Go back to 2012(4th in attempts)/2011(1st in attempts) stats. Bad teams are typically forced to run less -- 2013(22nd in attempts) was a clusterf#@%.


http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-medi...e-5cf7758b37df
On the long completion, Hopkins uses one arm to pretty much slow the CB down, the CB was trying to grab at his arm and he just over powered him. Thats physical
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Old 06-23-2014   #10
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by drs23 View Post
Hopkins gets separation from his route running and even being played tight has a knack for going up and getting the ball. But he DOES get separation as well.

To the bolded; you might wanna go back and watch some more tape. Brett over at BRB did an in depth post about Hopkins and posted several gifs where he used head fakes and double moves to juke CBs outta their socks and jocks. Very impressive. Don't have a link but with just a little looking, it's there.

I'm not necessarily seeing the "two contradictions".
If you're talking about the Seahawks game where Browner was covering Hopkins, both weren't deep routes.
One went for 16 and one for 11.
It's good that he won the hand fights (more so than with route running.)
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Old 06-23-2014   #11
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by EllisUnit View Post
On the long completion, Hopkins uses one arm to pretty much slow the CB down, the CB was trying to grab at his arm and he just over powered him. Thats physical
You beat me to it, haha.
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Old 06-23-2014   #12
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by Playoffs View Post
So you'd characterize Kubiak's offense as pass first?

Go back to 2012(4th in attempts)/2011(1st in attempts) stats. Bad teams are typically forced to run less -- 2013(22nd in attempts) was a clusterf#@%.


http://www.houstontexans.com/tv-medi...e-5cf7758b37df
No, I thought I made it clear that it was last year only.
That Hopkins didn't get as many targets because other reasons, rather than because the Texans didn't pass enough.

Also, on that pass, Arrington guessed the wrong route and stopped.
Hopkins didn't burn him with speed nor with any move.
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Old 06-23-2014   #13
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76Texan View Post
You beat me to it, haha.
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Old 06-23-2014   #14
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

That's funny, I could have sworn that Hopkins was a HORRIBLE route runner, like not even close to good.

WR's welcoming hits from DB's does not lend itself to a long career, just sayin'.

He's got a long way to go. To say he'll get close to 100 catches with this set of QB's is optimism at its finest.
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Old 06-23-2014   #15
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwitexansfan View Post
I find it interesting how the point out how little targets Hopkins got.

I've always felt that our QBs have always been too locked in on AJ.

While some argue that AJ would have better stats with a better QB, I wonder if AJ would have less stats if our QBs had worked progressions better.
We know that it's by Kubiak's design.
He was asked several times and always responded that we will continue to look for AJ.
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Old 06-23-2014   #16
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by klockWork View Post
Hopkins physically is what permits him to separate from most corners. In a game against the Chiefs he made Sean Smith look like a toddler, chuck him aside and caught an easy TD down the sidelines.

Hopkins has a bright future, already near mastering the craft of hand-to-hand combat at the point of contact, a skill that many receivers have the most troubles training for.
This is his forte in college.
I expect that from him.
In fact I expect that he wins more of it.
Then, his future can be very bright.
I also insist that he continues to learn to run better routes.

Didn't he say just a couple of weeks ago himself, that he can be much better?
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Old 06-23-2014   #17
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by EllisUnit View Post
On the long completion, Hopkins uses one arm to pretty much slow the CB down, the CB was trying to grab at his arm and he just over powered him. Thats physical
That's separation, which answered the question: How?
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Old 06-23-2014   #18
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Making the Leap, No. 14: Texans' DeAndre Hopkins

Around The League will profile the top 25 players we see Making the Leap in 2014. No. 14 on the list: Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Quote:
We are thumbing our collective nose at recency bias.

Hopkins didn't score a touchdown after the Week 8 bye, as the Texans' season descended into chaos. It's easy to forget that the No. 27 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft drew as much hype as any young player last offseason before taking home Rookie of the Month honors for September.

Drawing comparisons to Roddy White and former Broncos receiver Rod Smith, Hopkins was described by his coaching staff as "special," "gifted" and "exceptional."

"Nuk" justified that lavish praise with a dominant seven-reception, 117-yard performance in Week 2. With Andre Johnson in the locker room nursing a concussion, Hopkins took over, torching Titans defensive backs for five catches on the game-tying and game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Buoyed by his breakout in Houston's last victory of the season, Hopkins surprised reporters by claiming he can become a better player than Johnson.

"That's my mindset," Hopkins said. "And that's what Andre tells me. (He says) Don't try to shadow yourself when you know you can be better."

What stands out on Game Rewind are Hopkins' ball skills and catch radius that allow him to consistently come down with contested catches. Reminiscent of..
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Old 06-23-2014   #19
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

That's what I mean when I agreed that one of Schaub's INT was on Hopkins.
At the time, and maybe even now, some think I have a vendetta against some players and being a fan boy of others.

I don't.
Obviously, as human, we are all susceptible to bias.
I do try to reign it in much as possible.
I'm going to be honest and say that I haven't been doing too shabby on this board.

At the time, I was rather lenient on Hopkins.
Rookie mistake.
The thing is that I wasnt trying to defend Schaub for other mistakes that he had made up to that point.

I just didn't think it's fair to pile it on him.

I wasn't happy with Schaub, but I didn't think that INT was on him.

And the benching of Hopkins in week 11, as mentioned in the piece, citing his mental mistakes, further shows that he was lacking in carrying out his assignments.
Just like when Keenum got benched.

Guys who has had a long tenure normally get a longer leash.

At any rate, for me, it's football discussions.
I look at the performance on the field and relay what I think I saw.

Other folks can watch the same play and saw something different.
Cool.
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Old 06-24-2014   #20
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Default Re: DeAndre Hopkins in 2014 -- Football Outsiders

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76Texan View Post
That's what I mean when I agreed that one of Schaub's INT was on Hopkins.
At the time, and maybe even now, some think I have a vendetta against some players and being a fan boy of others.

I don't.
Obviously, as human, we are all susceptible to bias.
I do try to reign it in much as possible.
I'm going to be honest and say that I haven't been doing too shabby on this board.

At the time, I was rather lenient on Hopkins.
Rookie mistake.
The thing is that I wasnt trying to defend Schaub for other mistakes that he had made up to that point.
Which INT are you referring to?
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