BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Allow Chris Hogan to reintroduce himself.

After a relatively quiet pair of playoff performances, Hogan figures to play a prominent role in the Patriots’ quest for a Super Bowl victory against the Eagles. Hogan was dominant last year in his postseason debut, and the Patriots should exploit some matchup advantages that will be favorable for the wideout.

Hogan caught 17 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns during the 2016 postseason, and had four receptions for 57 yards in the Super Bowl win against the Falcons. He worked like crazy to seek validation for his ability and earned it on the biggest stage, though it didn’t change him.

Chris Hogan

“Was my name out there more because I got to play in the Super Bowl? Sure,” Hogan said. “But at the end of the day, my work ethic is never going to change. In my mind, I’m still a practice-squad guy, and on Tuesdays I could be moving on to another team. That’s my mentality. It’s been ingrained in me since I started in the league, and that’s never going to change. I think that’s why I’ve been able to be successful, my work ethic, keeping my head down, working as hard as possible, putting the team first.

“I just wanted to do whatever I could to get on the field, make plays whenever they come my way, and that has helped me throughout my years in the league.”

Hogan has that “it” factor in these moments.


“I stick to what I do and what got me here,” Hogan said. “My preparation and stuff throughout the week is important to me. I know the more I’m able to study the guys I’m going against, or study the game plan, that will enable me to go out there and play as fast as I can, especially in big games. You’ve got to put in that extra time, and I know that. I think that’s what has helped me go into these (playoff) games to play good football.”

In 2016, Hogan had 38 catches for 680 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season. This season, he hauled in 34 passes for 439 yards and a career-high five scores despite missing seven of the final eight games because of a shoulder injury.

It’s natural to wonder if the shoulder hampered Hogan’s effectiveness in playoff victories against the Titans and Jaguars, but the reason might actually be more complicated. Hogan ran a creative route through two defenders to catch a 4-yard touchdown pass for his lone reception against the Titans in the divisional round. In the AFC championship game, he only caught two balls for 20 yards while usually covered by Jalen Ramsey, one of the league’s premier shutdown cornerbacks.

Don’t be surprised if Hogan plays a far greater role against the Eagles, who frequently use cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills in off coverage. Hogan could get chances to run lateral routes and take advantage of that cushion, working the middle of the field.

He noted the caveat, though. The corners provide that cushion of 6-to-8 yards because they like to attack the ball, so it’ll be vital to execute perfect routes.

“You’ve got to study the film,” Hogan said. “Those guys are taught very well, and they’re playing that technique for a reason. They’re going to do the things they do really well. You’re going to have to be very precise with your route running. They’re going to drive on the ball. You can’t be sloppy on your routes. You could have a good play, but it’ll be a bad play if you’re sloppy and lazy. We’re going to have to be on point with everything we do as far as route running, specifically.”

The extent of Hogan’s shoulder sprain hasn’t been disclosed, but Hogan was grateful that Coach Bill Belichick didn’t place him on injured reserve. Now he can bury those bad injury memories with a Super Bowl explosion.

“I worked really hard to get back to this point. Their trust and belief in me that I was able to be part of this football team and help this team win, it means a lot to me,” he said. “What I’ve done in the short time I’ve been here, two years, I’ve worked really hard and care about this team and the guys in this locker room. It’s an amazing opportunity.

“It’s hard to believe we’re going back to another Super Bowl. Guys play their entire careers without ever going to one, and I’m going to one in back-to-back years. I’m very grateful for the opportunities the Patriots have given to me the past couple years.”

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