New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan has quickly become a valuable starter in the offense. He played 77.5% of the offensive snaps in week 1 and he looks to assume a larger role as he becomes more comfortable in the offense. His 60 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals is already one of the three or four most productive games in his entire career.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn’t surprised that Hogan has adjusted quickly to the offense, especially based on the opportunities he had in practice.
“I mean when you're around a guy every day like we've been with Chris, he has impressive every day,” Belichick said in a week 2 press conference. “He doesn't have a lot of up and down days. Every day's a pretty good day for him, which I would say wasn't unexpected but you just don't know until you're around him.
“As we went through training camp he was really our healthiest receiver. Danny [Amendola] wasn't out there, Julian [Edelman] wasn't out there for quite a while, Malcom [Mitchell] was out and he missed time, so he was the guy that was out there the most, so we tried to manage the volume for him just overall.”
Hogan has stepped up as the #2 receiver as Danny Amendola shakes off the rust from his knee injury, and that role is even more important with tight end Rob Gronkowski sidelined. Amendola and Gronkowski are on complete opposite sides of the offensive skill player spectrum, but Hogan is able to cover their losses in multiple way.
“I think he can play outside, I think he can play inside in the passing game, which he has, so he can do all of those things,” Belichick added about Hogan. “I don't think he's going to be out there for every play of every game so depending on who else we have, what we're trying to do, so forth, part of his versatility is a real strength for other players because it might allow them to do something that if they don't have that kind of flexibility, it might allow them to do something that they're really good at and he can still be able to adjust.”
Belichick noted that Hogan is similar to Julian Edelman in his ability to adapt to the offense and that their versatility allows the offense to make adjustments to injuries and “not feel like you're losing a lot in the passing game.”
Hogan should have a similarly large role this week against the Dolphins with Gronkowski still limited, although rookie Malcolm Mitchell is no longer on the injury report and could see some snaps on the outside.
The Patriots have to be happy with how Hogan is fitting into the offense- and Hogan will continue to exceed expectations.
One final fun fact: Belichick doesn’t know if the Patriots scouted Hogan at his pro day, but there are two coaches on staff- Stephen Beliehick at Rutgers, Mike Pellegrino at Johns Hopkins- that scouted him as a lacrosse player.