Hogan was supposed to be the next great Stanford quarterback after Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck. While he was a good college quarterback and good enough to be drafted, he hasn’t turned out to be just as good as Luck (yet!).
However, this preseason, he’s proving to be a solid choice under center albeit an unlucky one. Through the preseason, Hogan’s shown that he’s a quarterback capable of moving the offense down the field IF those around him are able to do their jobs.
This pass to TE Noah Fant is a perfect example and a typical example of what I’m talking about. There have been a handful of throws during the last three preseason games in which Hogan throws the ball directly to the receivers’ hands and the ball falls incomplete.
Now, not every dropped pass is the fault of the receiver or Hogan. There were two times when the defensive back just made a good play.
On the above pass, Hogan makes a throw that’s a bit high and a tad too far in front of the receiver. This kind of placement only helped the defensive back make the bat of the receiver’s arms, resulting in the incomplete.
However, Hogan and the offense wouldn’t have been in this position had it not been for another dropped pass on the previous play.
Hogan took full advantage of the defense playing the underneath ball and chose a simple first-down pass. But the dropped pass negated the play and eventually the drive.
Dropped passes aside, what I’ve learned from watching Hogan the last three preseason games is that he is a strong-armed guy who can stay calm, extend a play when necessary, and smart enough to bail on a no-win situation.
Hogan has a solid pocket presence and waits for things to open up, rather than hopping or moving around in the shrinking pocket while waiting for a route to develop. While that sounds very basic, keep in mind that during his game against the San Francisco 49ers, the Broncos ended Hogan’s first three drives with a sack on third-down.
Tackles Elijah Wilkinson and Jake Rodgers did Hogan no favors that night. The 49ers routinely brought pressure and while Hogan was sacked three times, he and the Broncos managed to counter the pass-rush with quick passes and play-action.
But those plays didn’t always work out the way Denver planned.
Still, he has the ability to outrun the pressure when he has the advantage, like on a play-action pass.
The Rams have five sacks through two games and are capable of taking full advantage of the Denver offensive line. However, they need to be aware that Hogan is capable of tearing off a run if the opening is there.
While it’s “only the preseason,” games like these give the Rams depth a true test of mettle with live reps they wouldn’t get otherwise. There’s only so much you can do in practice and it’s not going to be anywhere near this level of energy.
The last two games of the preseason (or three depending on your team’s willingness to play the starters) are the best chance depth players have to show how they would respond if they were trusted with taking over a position should they be called on.
The preseason also lets you see the different lower-third bars created by local TV affiliates, which is always fun if you’re into poorly constructed graphics. There are kids on YouTube who make network TV-worthy graphics and yet the ENG guys make their stuff using Microsoft Paint.