It has been an interesting off-season for second year wide receiver, Jaelen Strong. Strong is coming off of a 2015 season which saw him slowly progress into a potential piece of the offense, one with clear upside. Many have written off Strong with the additions of two rookie wide receivers but that is far from what the Texans are expecting to happen.
Strong came into OTAs in top shape, looking sharper in routes and catching the ball with confidence. He was easily one of the Texans on last year’s roster who made notable gains over the off-season and, from the early eye test, looks primed for a nice jump in year two.
Even teammate and good friend DeAndre Hopkins has taken notice of the work ethic Strong has put in.
“Jaelen’s been working all offseason, even during what he was going through, he was working,” said Hopkins on Strong.
Plenty of the questions that surrounded Strong heading to this season revolved around an incident in Arizona where he was arrested for possession of marijuana. Strong is in limbo and feels that the experience is one he can learn from, but now he waits for the verdict from the NFL on his potential punishment.
Hopkins talked about what he saw from Strong shortly after the incident occurred.
“The next day that that happened to him I’m pretty sure I talked to him and he was talking about going to work out, so that really didn’t affect him at all,” said Hopkins explained about his teammate. “I knew it wouldn’t, but he’s coming out and he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder for sure.”
His start to OTAs has been solid and he will be a factor for the coaching staff to get on the field and into the wide receiver rotation by the season’s start. Already developing a relationship with Brock Osweiler, Strong is making sure he is doing everything he can to be part of the offense.
He dedicated himself to controlling what he can and that goes back to last season after the NFL Draft, when he came into rookie mini-camp out of shape. He was to the point where he could not finish practice and missed majority of OTAs and mini-camps due to nagging injuries. Strong learned over the course of the season how to be a professional and how cut his weight from 237 to 211 lbs. during the season was part of his learning process.
Strong is making sure that the slow start from last season does not happen in 2016.
“Just working hard every day. Coming to work ready every day and putting time and effort in every day, so I can go out there and be prepared,” explained Strong. “Week 1, we play against the Bears and be the best player I can for Coach (Bill) O’Brien and the Houston Texans.”
Strong is in good position to be part of the new look offense in 2016 and he has already shown his growth as a player and a professional in the NFL in just over a year.
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