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TE Austin Hooper Building Chemistry With QB Ryan Tannehill, Titans One Day at a Time


NASHVILLE – When the Titans began work in a 7-on-7 period during an OTA session earlier this week, quarterback Ryan Tannehill connected with new tight end Austin Hooper on the very first play.

On play two, they connected again.

Three plays later, Hooper was on the receiving end of yet another pass from Tannehill. Then came another toss to Hooper, making it four completions from No.17 to No.81 in six plays.

Yes, the above sequence is a small sample size in one offseason practice.

But was it also perhaps a sign of things to come?

"He's a guy who has been working with us since I've been here, and that connection is growing," Tannehill said of Hooper, who was signed by the team back in March. "He has some great size and strength and length and that's definitely a help for him, and it will help us offensively."

After spending the past two seasons in Cleveland, Hooper reported for the Titans offseason program on Day One, and he's been a consistent participant since, something he vowed to do from the get-go.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Hooper (6-4, 255) joined the Titans after two seasons (2020-21) in Cleveland and four years (2016-19) in Atlanta.

Hooper said the early work on the field, including a few OTA practices, has been beneficial as the two players get to know one another. The Titans hit the field for their third OTA on Thursday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

"I wish there's like a magic pill or like, go out to lunch or dinner one time," Hooper said of his chemistry with Tannehill. "But at the end of the day, it's throwing it within tight windows. I'm doing my best to make sure he feels comfortable with me. I take that very seriously. … I'm rotating with four other guys, so every rep, it's the sense of urgency you've got to have. It has to be multiplied exponentially."

During a break in the action on Tuesday, Hooper spent extra time with all three of the team's quarterbacks – Tannehill, Logan Woodside and rookie Malik Willis.

Ever rep, and conversation, helps, Hooper said.

"Just a little more time with Ryan, more time with Logan, more time with Malik, more time in the system and more time around my teammates is only going to make us better, right?," Hooper said.

"I still have much to learn about the system. … The more time you spend at it, the more reps, the more familiarity you have with it. I am in that process right now."

Over his 88-game NFL career, Hooper has started 57 games and he's tallied 298 receptions, 3,024 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Hooper earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2018 and 2019 seasons, when he combined for 146 receptions in Atlanta over those two seasons, a total that ranked fourth among NFL tight ends during that span.

NFL Network analyst Charles Davis believes Hooper will provide a boost to Tennessee's offense.

"I'm hoping he gets back to the form we saw in Atlanta," Davis said of Hooper. "Cleveland was a three tight end group, so things maybe got carved up a little bit for him. I think he has a nice bounce to him, (he's) a great route runner, good hands, wants to be tight with his quarterback. I like him. Austin Hooper is going to help (the Titans)."

See the Top Images from the Titans OTA on Tuesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Tennessee Titans)

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