Coaches Commentary: RB
*At the conclusion of June's minicamp, HoustonTexans.com huddled with the team's position coaches to get their respective thoughts on the projected starters. This is the second 'Coaches Commentary' in a series of articles that will go through the roster, position by position.
Wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey will help guide an interesting starting combo: veteran Andre Johnson and rookie DeAndre Hopkins. Johnson is fresh off a 2012 that saw him catch close to 1,600 yards worth of passes. Hopkins is a first-round draft pick from Clemson who wowed during Organized Team Activities (OTA's) and minicamp. What follows are Kirksey's evaluations of those two.**
WR Andre Johnson112 receptions for 1,598 receiving ydsHas surpassed 1,500 receiving yds 3 times in his career
"Andre's returning from a great year that he had last season. He excelled and was able to stay healthy, and he made the plays we all know he's capable of making week in and week out.
This is probably the best he's felt, he said, in several years and it's showing. The fire's still burning inside of him, and he feels he can still compete and be one of the top two, three receivers in the league. I feel the same way.
He's one of those gifted athletes that has size, speed, and playing strength. With the work ethic and the demeanor he brings to work every day, he wants to win a championship and that's all within reach.
It's going to be a big year for him. Healthy Andre Johnson's going to make the whole receiving corps that much better this year."
WR DeAndre Hopkins18 TD catches at Clemson in 20121,405 receiving yards last fall
"I just think the kid's a very talented young man. He's got good size, good range, and outstanding ball skills. He works. From day one, every pass he caught he sprinted not 10, not 20, 30 but 40, 50 yards down the field after the catch. That's what we ask for in our receivers. I think he's off to a great start from that standpoint.
I was happy to see how he grasps the things we ask him to do. He studied what we gave him from the book, and then he went out and his athletic ability took over, and he was able to make plays. He's just got to continue to do that.
He has an easy demeanor, so I don't worry about him off the field. Being around Andre, he's emulating those older guys and realizing that if he wants to stay in this business a long time he's got to take care of his body and be the best pro he can be. I'm excited to see what he can do."