Did you know Chris Hogan used to play lacrosse? It’s true. He only played one year of football in college. I bet you didn’t know that about him. As a result, he was seen as a project receiver and he floated around the league a bit before landing with the New England Patriots. Let’s take a look at this guy who was definitely not a member of the Buffalo Bills for four years and wasn’t a fan favorite or anything.
Just to be clear, the running play Chris Hogan is blocking for is occurring on the other side of the field. Hogan is a very willing blocker and, as seen here, often enthusiastic about it. This makes Hogan valuable on every snap he’s in on. On a related note, Hogan has fluctuated in snap counts a good amount this year with a low of 40%. Hogan started off the year with a heavy dose of playing time, but it’s declined since Julian Edelman came back from a four week “imposed vacation.”
According to their listed sizes, this is an even match up between Hogan and Tavon Wilson. Hogan’s enthusiasm is the difference. With a little momentum behind him, he’s able to get a little push on the safety, which helps hold him off a little longer. There’s nothing special about what Hogan does, but it does illustrate how much effort matters.
If Chris Hogan has “a move” you’re looking at it. The ability to snap (rather than turn) while running a route is key for these short timing routes. The defender has to anticipate where the ball will be. Reacting to that change of direction when you see it is already too late. Defensive backs watching the quarterback are often looking to avoid having this happen to them.
This is the most egregious example I could find of Chris Hogan’s lack of chill. He keeps checking back on the running play which makes his “route” quite ineffective. He barely pulls his man to the other side of the numbers before the jig is up. Hogan has a tendency to check in on plays, which can give defenders a heads up on the play call. Coordinators like to call different plays from the same formation. Chris Hogan increases the odds that the defenders reads the play correctly. Go back up and take a look at the blocking clips in Plays 1 and 2. He zeroes in on his man immediately and runs at them. A couple steps like he’s running a route might get them to start a backpedal and lead to easier blocking for Hogan.
I’m just fascinated by that cross step with his right foot. It can be straight up deadly when timed right. One thing that’ll make you feel better is to reiterate that it’s human nature to be only really good at something on one side of the body. Crossing from left to right is Hogan’s strength.
The Patriots like to have Hogan line up and run a go route to draw defenders. There’s something about Hogan’s mechanics that make him look like he’s running really fast. He’s not. He’s not slow mind you. But, neither defensive back on this play is having that much trouble keeping up. If there’s a threat here, it’s more that they’re willing to juggle roles enough to cause doubt. Hogan won’t straight up win every foot race, but can exploit a bit of hesitation.
Aside from his quick change-of-direction ability, Hogan is still a lot like the guy we were used to seeing on Sundays. He can run a variety of routes adequately but isn’t making a ton of defenders vacate their sneakers with his sick moves. These slow arcs are pretty indicative of how he runs. His feet are choppy with stutter and hesitation moves which a defender can pick up on. Chis Hogan is a good receiver just like he was with Buffalo. He has not, however, turned into a great one.
The Pittsburgh Steelers forget Chris Hogan exists and he has his third touchdown of the season. Hogan has the fifth-most yards on the Patriots and tied with a pile of guys for third-most touchdowns as a result of this one.
Chris Hogan needs to be accounted for on the field. It’d be a stretch to call him a primary threat, however. With 29 catches on the year and just over 30 yards per game, the Bills should expect to see sprinkles of Hogan rather than a deluge. Don’t forget he exists and handle him like most slot style receivers and it’s a match up that can favor the Buffalo defensive backs.