New England Patriots: Breakout season still at play for Chris Hogan

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 01: Chris Hogan
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 01: Chris Hogan /

New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan is once again having a solid season in Josh McDaniels’ offense. 

Chris Hogan was expected to have a breakout season for the New England Patriots and following a slow start, he may very well be on his way to one.

Entering the season without Julian Edelman and at times a limited Rob Gronkowski, Hogan’s role on the same was set to be increased.  Given his chemistry with Tom Brady, it appeared a given that he would top his performance in 2016.

Following a quiet game in the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, the former Lacrosse player has turned it on as a reliable target.  So far this season, he has 23 receptions for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns.  His best game of the season came in Week 5 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Chris Hogan
TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Chris Hogan /

In that game, he caught 8 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. Not explosive numbers, but the type of production offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has come to depend on from Hogan.

"“Chris works really hard to try to make himself a better player and to help our offense any way that he can every single week, and he’s done that since he got here,” McDaniels said in his weekly conference call.  “He definitely, I think, like most of our guys in their second year, they know more, they’re capable of doing more and we ask a little bit more of them in some ways, shape or form.  I think Chris was already on that program and he was already headed in that direction in the spring and in training camp.  He’s done a lot of different things for us.”"

An increased role

With Brandin Cooks in the mix and Danny Amendola performing clutch from the slot position, Hogan has been freed up to do more things within the offense.  Whether it’s a short pass in short yardage situations or long slant passes, Chris Hogan has stepped up to the table.

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According to McDaniels, he has done so because of his ability to grow as a player in his complicated offense.  The offensive coordinator said Hogan’s role did not change due to Edelman’s season-ending injury.  In fact, it was only expanded.

"“We’re never going to force somebody into a different role if that’s not something that’s really suited for what they do well,” McDaniels said when asked if Hogan’s role was changed when No. 11 went down.  “He was growing in his second year in a lot of different areas, but that had nothing to do with any injuries.  That’s just him as a player – more experience, understanding our offense and our system more, just the communication and relationship with the quarterback, the passing game – so he was expanding that regardless of injury or situation or circumstance.”"

As a player who continues to find a way to be open, Chris Hogan’s biggest games are still ahead of him.  With that being said, the breakout season many predicted is very much at play.

Next: New England Patriots: Bill Belichick praises versatility of Patrick Chung

If last Thursday night was any indication, Tom Brady will look his way more and more.  The only question is whether opposing defenses will remember to cover the man with the nickname “7/11.”