Hooper said he studies Gonzalez’s game and takes parts of it to apply to his own. He strives to be able to catch the ball away from his body as Gonzalez did. Hooper admits that while he may not be the speediest receiver, having long arms and the ability to catch the ball with a defender on him is beneficial.
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn likes how they can use Hooper in different spots, much like Gonzalez did during his time in Atlanta. He has the ability to split out wide as a receiver or lineup next to the offensive line.
“The versatility is the thing I think that jumps out,” Quinn said Sunday. “Not all tight ends can do that.”
Within a month of the playoffs ending Matt Ryan and Hooper connected in Southern California to work together. The two did again in the offseason program, then again after OTAs for about three weeks.
“Any time you can spend 100 hours with someone, 1,000 reps with someone, it helps,” Hooper said. “It's just great.”
With that said, Ryan has gotten to know his tight end pretty well. But when Hooper was told that his quarterback compared him and Gonzalez as being similar in length, he quickly shot it down.
“Yeah, no I’m not,” Hooper said. “I appreciate the sentiment, but Tony is the greatest to ever do it.”