In six seasons with the Houston Texans, DeAndre Hopkins has established himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and franchise history. In 2018, Hopkins notched his second consecutive All-Pro selection by catching 115 passes for 1,572 yards and 11 touchdowns while not dropping a pass the entire season. His highlight receptions create conversations but his push and drive for greatness is what set him apart as a professional.
Entering his 7th season in the NFL, looking to help the Texans to get over the playoff hump, Hopkins has gone back to the drawing board. With OTAs coming to a close, the Texans are holding back Hopkins from work on the field to make sure he is ready for the upcoming season heading to training camp. Despite not being on the field, Hopkins is still chasing perfection behind the closed doors of NRG Stadium.
Wide Receiver coach John Perry took over the position group three seasons ago after coaching tight ends when he arrived to Houston in 2014. Perry helped the group improve as route runners, cut down drops and find ways to push buttons, especially Hopkins.
At the end of every season coach Bill O'Brien has position coaches build film of players in their position groups highlights fifteen good plays and fifteen bad plays. Every player on the team has cut-ups from the season compiled of their play from that season. The film cut-ups show what each player does well and what each needs to work on for the following season. Hopkins is no exception, and it is Perry who pushes the All-Pro wide receiver to higher standards.
"I don't think it is a coincidence that the last two years he has been first-team All-Pro," Perry said of Hopkins. "He comes out, and he works on his weaknesses. So those are things we look at. First of all, I talk to him about what he wants to work on. Then I add in my two cents, here is what I saw. He has been receptive on working on those things."
Perry appreciates how receptive Hopkins is to constructive criticism and as Perry explains it, he asks his position group always to have "mirrors". He wants his receivers to be realistic with their production and most importantly if there are things they can correct to help their respective games that would help the greater good of the team.
Hopkins has taken to Perry about being true to himself and sought to correct his game which has turned him into a playmaking threat the past two seasons.
"We started this a few years ago when I got with the receivers, and that is what I tell Hop all the time," Perry explained. "I think him being able to look in himself. That is one of the things, I think, the greatest things I have been able to bring to him is to get him to look inside himself."
With Hopkins staying off the field, he is working in meeting and the film room. That means more time with former teammate and now Special Advisor to the Head Coach and General Manager Andre Johnson. Johnson is doing what they did when Hopkins arrived in the league as a rookie from Clemson in 2013.
"Well, as crazy as it may sound, he still asks me questions when he sees different things," Johnson said of Hopkins. "So, with him not being able to practice right now, we watch film at times in the morning. We just talk about different things, and we watch some of his tape from last season. He'll ask me what I thought about the route or what I thought about what he did. I'll give him my honest opinion. That's a relationship me and him have always had. So, even though he's not out on the field, he's still trying to find ways to get better as a player."
Perry has seen the work Hopkins has put in from the mental side of the game to improve from discussions the two have had leading up to OTAs.
"From a mental standpoint, From a meeting room standpoint he has really taken a great approach to address those things we have talked about," Perry explained of Hopkins working to improve for 2019. "I think he will improve on them just like he has the last couple of years."
Where does Hopkins need to improve? Perry explained what he and Hopkins discussed the two are working on to make sure 2019 is an even more productive season.
"Improving as a route runner, that is a premium in our offense," Perry said of Hopkins game. "He has the best hands in the world. Everybody has seen that on a weekly basis. I think the biggest thing how can I improve on the top of my route and how can I improve my releases. Get those two things improved to the level in which I know he will put the time into and dedication into. I mean, I think we will see him get even better."
Greatness never sleeps, and Hopkins is working for that behind the scenes.
Rookie Tight End Kahale Warring signed his rookie contract putting the entire Texans draft class under contract. Third round draft selections take more time to iron out potential deals due to guaranteed money and off-set languages in possible deals.
The Texans welcomed former NFL players Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, Mike Vick and Steve Smith to NRG Stadium for the NFL's 100 special seasons of programming. The trio met with players that looked up to them when growing up, J.J. Watt sat down with Favre, Deshaun Watson with Vick and DeAndre Hopkins with Smith.
The Texans pre-season schedule times were released.
- Week 1 Aug. 8 (Thursday) Texans @ Packers 7 pm.
- Week 2 Aug. 17 (Saturday) Lions @ Texans 7 pm.
- Week 3 Aug 24 (Saturday) Texans @ Cowboys 6 pm.
- Week 4 Aug 29 (Thursday) Rams @ Texans 7 pm.
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