Andre Johnson provided tremendous veteran presence in his ability to lead by example on and off the field for his twelve years with the Texans. With Johnson departing for Indianapolis, young receivers arriving in Houston for the 2015 season to attend OTAs and minicamp will have to look up to third-year wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for that leadership. Fortunately, he's ready to step up and provide it.
"When they came in here, I told those guys, ‘anything you need to know, just about the stadium or where to eat and any little thing,’ I told those guys they could come to me," Hopkins said Monday. "Coaches are going to help them transition into this offense, but a lot of wide receivers in there look up to me because we don’t have 80 (Andre Johnson) here anymore. I like that chip on my shoulder."
This offseason, the Texans lost 12-year veteran Andre Johnson and signed free agent wide receivers Cecil Shorts III and Nate Washington.The team also re-signed restricted free agent Damaris Johnson. Hopkins, now entering his third NFL season, hopes to also improve his own game. He feels the Texans offense under Bill O'Brien is a complicated one that challenges even the best of players.
"This offense is always mind-boggling and always throwing a lot of things at you," Hopkins said. "Becoming more of a student of the game is something I want to work on. Learning coverages of defenses and trying to be the best receiver I can be out there."
In 2014, Hopkins led all second-year players with 2,012 yards receiving and was second with 128 receptions for his career. He also became the second-youngest player in NFL history to reach 2,000 yards receiving (22 years, 198 days), behind Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald (22 years, 109 days).
After yesterday's OTAs, Hopkins met with the media:
DeAndre Hopkins on how different it feels without Andre Johnson: "No comment." #Texans— Howard Chen (@TheHoChen) April 20, 2015
Would take Hopkins' no comment on Andre Johnson questions as just him wanting to stay away from a messy topic. Was polite about it. #Texans— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) April 20, 2015
The Houston Texans enter the second year of the Bill O'Brien era, and the changing of the guard continues as younger players take the reins to lead this team into the future. Share your thoughts below.