FOXBORO, Mass. — For all that’s been made of Tom Brady’s recent “struggles” and Chris Hogan’s lack of targets, one of the prettiest plays of the New England Patriots’ season was a hookup between the two players three weeks ago.
Brady connected with Hogan on a 20-yard reception when he perfectly hit his wide receiver on a back-shoulder throw to the Buffalo Bills’ 1-yard line.
Watch the play in the video below at the 8:24 mark.
The Patriots scored on a 1-yard run one play later.
Perhaps plays like that are why Hogan isn’t concerned about chemistry with his quarterback despite being held catch-less in his last two games.
“I think the quarterback-receiver connection is a constant work in progress,” Hogan said Monday. “You’re always working on your communication on the field, off the field. Tom and I have developed a pretty good relationship in the couple years I’ve been here. I’m just going to continue to work on it.”
Hogan didn’t seem worried about much in the Patriots’ locker room Monday. He has 23 catches for 333 yards with two touchdowns so far this season, but it’s been an up-and-down campaign for him. He started slowly as Brady’s No. 1 wide receiver over the first four weeks of the season. Hogan then had an encouraging stretch from Week 6 to 8, when he caught 12 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears and Bills. Then the last two weeks happened.
“Can’t really concern yourself with that,” Hogan said. “Don’t let any of that really consume you. I think it’s just, for me, kind of go out there and do my job the best that I can and try to show up on film as much as I can. Whenever the opportunities come my way, just be able to make the plays.”
Hogan is in a contract year. Players on other teams (::cough:: Antonio Brown) might start to show some diva tendencies in similar circumstances. So, how do the Patriots as a whole avoid those situations?
“We just don’t have those type of players on this team,” Hogan said. “I think all the guys, skill players specifically, I think everyone on this team kind of knows their role and know they’re just going to go out there and try to do the job the best they can. When the opportunities come their way, they’re going to try to make those plays.”
Hogan did appear to get open last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, but Brady instead targeted Josh Gordon or Julian Edelman or ate a sack on those plays. Getting open is certainly a good start for Hogan to get more targets.
“Just continue to do my job, continue to show up on film and when the opportunities come my way, just be able to make those catches and take advantage of the opportunities,” Hogan said.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wasn’t putting too much stock into Hogan’s lack of recent production either.
“It’s the same thing every week,” Belichick said. “Each week we pick out a player that doesn’t have as many carries or targets or whatever and then ask about that. As I said, in the passing game passes aren’t designed to go to one person. It’s a team route based on the coverage and the matchups. Tom goes to where he feels is the best place to go in the coverage. I don’t really see that changing.
“I think Tom does a good job with that. That could easily change in a hurry if the coverage is different on the same play. The ball could go to somebody different than who it went to in the game. We talk about this every week. Just pick out a different guy and it’s the same question and it’s the same answer.”
Thumbnail photo via Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports Images
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