As he did last July and August, DeAndre Hopkins has shown flashes of greatness. Practice after training camp practice featured the then-first rounder skying for a touchdown, winning a jump ball with a defensive back, or a toe-tapping big gain.
Much of the same has gone on for the first week of work in a new offense. But in 2014, there's something different about the young pass catcher.
"He's definitely comfortable," wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence and I think that's been the biggest thing. So he definitely looks comfortable and that's something you want to see him continually build on."
Hopkins had the quietest 802-yard receiving season in 2013, as the team's 14 losses swallowed up what was a good rookie campaign. Two of his 52 catches were touchdowns last year, and he
See action shots from Sunday's Training Camp practice pres. by XFINITY.
averaged 15.4 yards a reception. With a new offense, a year as a professional under his belt and the confidence Johnson referenced, bigger things might be in store. But Hopkins hasn't changed his mental approach.
"I have the same mentality that I had last year," Hopkins said. "I put last year behind me. I'm just coming out here with a new focus and just trying to be the best player I can be."
Hopkins made the play of the day on a long touchdown catch up the right sideline Sunday, energizing the first-team offense and wowing fans in the process.
"The plays he was making out there were awesome," Johnson said. "It's great to see and I just keep telling him—I keep saying do what you're doing. Don't be satisfied with it."
Hopkins' aggressiveness in going after a ball, and in always wanting the ball has jumped out at quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"DeAndre has done a great job," Fitzpatrick said. "He works hard, comes every day. He wants to win. Obviously a guy that wants the ball thrown to him. If you're a guy who wants the ball thrown to you, I'll throw to you."
Hopkins and the Texans will practice again on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the team will have a day off.