The Browns new star tight end was a non-factor against Baltimore. Austin Hooper was signed in the offseason after two back to back Pro Bowls earned with the Atlanta Falcons and was expected to produce heavily in Kevin Stefanski’s tight end-heavy offense. That was not the case Sunday, but look for that to change.
Hooper played a ton of offensive snaps, but only drew two targets which resulted in two catches for a mere 15 yards. The tight end who made the most noise was former first round pick David Njoku with three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown. That was a great sight for Browns fans to see Njoku back to producing, which made it that much more disappointing to see him head to the IR for a knee injury.
That leaves Hooper, rookie standout Harrison Bryant, and Stephen Carlson left in the tight end room to make plays in the pass game. Hooper is a great receiving threat, and now has more room carved out for volume.
It is hard to judge the offensive game plan after one week when nothing went right and the Browns were down early. Thursday’s game should be more indicative of how the season will be played for the offense. Hooper should be much more involved in the offense.
Hooper had 660 and 787 yards the last two seasons, respectively. He was a very productive player in the middle of the field for his QB Matt Ryan in Atlanta, and will continue to be for Mayfield and Stefanski this season.
Watch for Hooper to get plenty more targets and yards tomorrow against the Bengals who gave up 73 yards to Chargers’ tight end Hunter Henry last week.