Malik Hooker Healthy, Confident, Comfortable Heading Into Year Three

Malik Hooker Healthy, Confident, Comfortable Heading Into Year Three

Blog > Kevin's Corner > Colts Coverage > Malik Hooker Healthy, Confident, Comfortable Heading Into Year Three

Malik Hooker Healthy, Confident, Comfortable Heading Into Year Three

Why is Malik Hooker feeling confident and comfortable heading into his third NFL season with the Colts?

Zach Bolinger | Getty Images


INDIANAPOLIS – It was a game that might have been the most important of Malik Hooker’s football career.

But Hooker’s left foot just would not cooperate enough to get him on the field.

No Hooker in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs against Kansas City only added to the onslaught from Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.

For all the talk about Hooker’s stats not being eye-popping in 2018, when he wasn’t on the field, it was quite noticeable. And no more so than in the 31-13 loss to the Chiefs.

With the 2019 offseason program now a month old, Hooker is fully recovered from that foot injury which held him out of the season-ending loss.

“I came out of the 2018 season a little nicked up so this is my first offseason where I’m fully healthy,” Hooker says of hernia and ACL ailments that shelved him from his first two springs.

The health, plus another year in the defense of Matt Eberflus has Hooker exuding a bit more confidence going into his third NFL season.

“Not only with the system, but finally being able to focus on bettering myself overall and not just coming back from injuries or anything like that, I’m feeling real comfortable this year,” Hooker said to Colts.com last week.

An October 2017 ACL injury forced Hooker to miss the final 11 games of his rookie season.

The ACL rehab kept him on the mend until early August last year. Hooker missed just 2 regular season games though in 2018, with Chris Ballard noticing more explosion and better movement from his young safety as the season went along.

Hooker’s on-field presence for 14 games last year did not lead to duplicating the impressive numbers he showed in pass coverage as a rookie though.

In 2017, Hooker had 3 interceptions and 4 passes defensed in just 7 total games. Despite upping his games played to 14 last year, Hooker finished his second NFL season with only 2 interceptions and 4 passes defensed.

But grading Hooker off those numbers would not be accurate.

The Colts are adamant that their deep centerfield safety largely did his job in 2018. Responsibilities to be the final line of defense is Hooker’s main job, with the Colts wanting to eliminate the number of big plays allowed.

That job by Hooker was accomplished. The Colts finished last year 5th in passing plays of more than 20 yards and 2nd in passing plays of more than 40 yards.

What the Colts ask for from Hooker was answered by the 23-year-old safety.

Such accountability will only rise for him in Year Three, with the quarterbacks awaiting the Colts in 2019.

 

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