Austin Hooper signing with Cleveland Browns was a ‘no-brainer’
One of the more surprising moves this offseason for the Cleveland Browns was the signing of tight end Austin Hooper. With no shortage of suitors, it seemed to be a long-shot for rookie general manager Andrew Berry to lure Hooper to the team, but apparently it was easier than it seemed.
Hooper was a guest this Thursday on the Jim Rome Show and he spoke on a number of topics. Mostly what he covered was what attracted him to the Browns.
The first thing Hooper touched on was Andrew Berry, who Hooper said has great energy.
"“I really liked Andrew Berry his vision, his approach, his style. I think I can really benefit from being under his leadership.” — Hooper on Berry via the Jim Rome Show"
In addition to the general manager who sold Hooper on the vision, he also praised the energy of first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski. As much as he liked Stefanski for his energy and passion, it was the system that really attracted the free agent.
According to Hooper, Stefanski’s outside zone play-action scheme is similar to what Kyle Shanahan ran in Atlanta during Hooper’s rookie season. He called that style a perfect fit and once all that was put together, it was a “no-brainer” that he came to Cleveland.
Rome continued from there asking the new member of the Browns about Baker Mayfield, and again Hooper had nothing but praise. He claimed he spoke to Baker for roughly 10 minutes before signing but that told him all he needed to know.
Mayfield was apparently very candid about how the 2019 season was not up to his own standards and vowed to get things right.
Adding a player such as Hooper will help Mayfield in that endeavor. Last season, he was forced to throw deep far too often as the team lacked a play-making tight end — well, at least they wouldn’t let the one they had see the field as former head coach Freddie Kitchens wasn’t using David Njoku at all.
Another thing that will help Mayfield is the system Stefanski runs. Not only did Hooper enjoy that style, but so too have players such as Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, and Jimmy Garappolo. Each of those quarterbacks improved when the running games became major threats and opened up the play-action game.
The signing of Hooper wasn’t the move we all saw coming, but he could be the difference-maker the team needed.