Hopkins played a big role in Los Angeles’ win in Super Bowl LVI.
After playing in just 10 regular season games through his first two seasons, Hopkins broke through in the biggest moment of his career – Super Bowl LVI. Seeing action in place of the injured Tyler Higbee and Kendall Blanton, Hopkins posted four receptions for 47 yards, three of which went for first downs.
In two weeks, Hopkins went from a healthy scratch in the NFC Championship Game to playing more than half of the snaps in the Super Bowl. Riding a big wave of momentum into his third season, Hopkins is poised to see a substantial increase in playing time, only further confirmed by Los Angeles releasing Blanton on Saturday.
Hopkins’ rise to more snaps comes on the heels of a strong offseason, where Rams head coach Sean McVay believes the 25-year-old has taken big strides as a blocker.
“I’ve seen improvement,” McVay said. “I think (tight ends coach) Thomas (Brown) has done a great job of continuing to develop the depth of being a well-rounded player. I think he’s got a unique skill set where he’s got the ability to really contribute in the pass game and he’s got enough toughness to absolutely compete as an in-line player.”
The Rams knew they had an athlete in Hopkins, but how his tenure in Los Angeles would play out was fully dependent on his willingness to improve at the line of scrimmage. Paired with a rising star in Brown for the first time in his career, Hopkins is putting in the effort to get better, which McVay believes is paying off.
“There’s for sure been steps in the right direction as it relates to that,” stated McVay. “Those are things that are always ever-evolving and you never let complacency set in. What I appreciate about him is he’s attempting to utilize those techniques and those fundamentals that Thomas is coaching.”
While Hopkins is certainly improved, McVay understands that the former Purdue star still has room to grow. Nevertheless, Los Angeles’ sixth-year coach sees the positives even in reps where Hopkins is on the losing end.
“I like to see guys really not be afraid to shoot their shot, even if it doesn’t work out where you’re able to learn from some of those,” said McVay. “Sometimes I feel like if we’re not making mistakes, we’re not really pushing the envelope, whether that be with players or coaches. That’s what I’ve liked about what Brycen’s done.”
It’s been an arduous path for Hopkins to become a playmaker in Los Angeles’ offense, but after a breakout game on the biggest stage, he’s only expanded his versatility, creating an enticing profile as he enters year three.
“I’m pleased with Brycen Hopkins’ progress,” started McVay, “in terms of some of the skill sets that he brings to the table that can help us.”
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