TE Austin Hooper (10.15.20)

TE Austin Hooper:

On how he is fitting in with the Browns and if the 4-1 start is better than he imagined:

“I feel like I am fitting in pretty well here in terms of just understanding my role and accepting my responsibilities in the run and passing game. It has been a smooth transition. Obviously at first, there was a lot of information I had to review a bunch, being in not necessarily a new system but new terminology. It just forced me to really become a student of the offense and really just understand the language within the offense. Since I have had such a better grasp of it now, it allows me to play in different spots and do some different things. I am feeling good about it.”


On the pride he takes in his play outside of what shows up in his stat line:

“I take a tremendous amount of pride in it. Being in an offense that has been doing very well thus far on the ground, if you want to run to the tight end side, you have to have some tight ends who can create a stretch, create movements and handle their one-on-one matchups. That is a responsibility I definitely do not take lightly because I understand if we want to run an outside zone scheme and pull plays behind me at the point of attack specifically, it has to work with me. I take a great amount of pride in it and just try to get better every day.”


On how the Browns OL has played so far this season:

“They have been doing a tremendous job in terms of communication, just finishing, being nasty and just doing all the things right in the run and pass game. Credit to those five guys. They have really accepted the coaching that (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters and obviously (offensive line coach) Bill Callahan have been giving them and just really embracing their roles and doing it to the best of their abilities. A special guy who I do not think gets enough credit for the way how he stepped in the game and played really well was (T) Chris Hubbard. Obviously, (G) Wyatt Teller was playing like the top guard in football right now and him being out and just having a guy like Chris who has not taken that many snaps at guard in general to come in and allow us to not miss a beat, that is a guy who is definitely an unsung hero from last game that I am sure the media did not talk about.”


On if he has a sense for what the Steelers game means to the community and Browns fans:

“Without being able to go out and about like you would be able to in years past in terms of getting a feel for the city but still understanding that there is a rivalry here and understanding just based off like some family friends I have in the area the importance of this game in the sense of just the fun, the intensity and the rivalry to it. This will be my first time being a part of it so I am just going to try to play as fast as possible and just play it like any other game.”


On the biggest rivalry he has played in during his career:

“Falcons-Saints. That would be a good one. You get all fans in New Orleans fresh off Bourbon Street in there, and it would be a fun place to win for sure.”


On a team’s lack of success visiting an opponent can carry over to future games, given the Browns’ previous lack of success at Pittsburgh:

“I am brand new here so all I know is the feeling that has been in the building has been this quiet confidence, and that is all I have experienced. I feel like it is indicative of how we are doing this year. I can’t speak on the past when I have not been a part of it.”


On if the Browns see opportunities to improve on offense when watching film, despite the team’s points per game:

“Absolutely. To be honest, that is the coolest part about all this because we have found some success, but you are always like, “Man, if I…” For example, I want some plays back. Everyone wants some plays back. If we could just find a way to limit those… It is really encouraging to know that we are playing at a solid level, but every game we still feel like we leave so much out there. That is the fun about team sports, right? You are trying to get that perfect effort, and if everyone has that perfect effort, it sounds so cliché, but the scoreboard tends to take care of itself.”


On if he takes pride in the Browns running game and how the RBs have stepped up after the loss of RB Nick Chubb to injury:

“Absolutely. Just same mentality every game. You can’t get too high or too low. You can’t focus in on one thing or another thing too much. You have to just focus in on your job and try to get better every week. I think it is a credit to [RB Kareem Hunt], (RB) D’Ernest (Johnson) and (RB) Dontrell (Hilliard) understanding the urgency within that room when you have one of the best backs in the league like Nick Chubb out. For those three guys to really be able to get in there and – obviously, you guys see them – run hard and run hard behind their pads and really keep that style of football and attitude that we want around here without Nick being here. Credit to those guys. I have said it before, the fact that Kareem Hunt is a No. 2 on any team in the world is absolutely ridiculous.”


On QB Baker Mayfield’s toughness and determination to fight through his injury and play on Sunday:

“He is a tough son of a gun for sure. He sits in there, takes licks every week and handles it like a man. He is the leader of our offense for a reason. You do not get the respect of other grown men in the locker room without having some toughness to you. I think that is a credit to him and what he is all about.”

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