NFL coaches pleased, but pushing for more from Nuk Hopkins, Andre Ellington

The Clemson Sports Blog

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley (14) hands off to running back Andre Ellington (38) against the Denver Broncos  during a pre-season NFL football game on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley (14) hands off to running back Andre Ellington (38) against the Denver Broncos during a pre-season NFL football game on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Neither Houston's Gary Kubiak nor Arizona's Bruce Arians have been shy about putting the ball into the hands of their freshman playmakers during the first two weeks of the NFL season, including former Tigers DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Ellington.

Both coaches are looking for more, however.

"It was fun to see," said Kubiak, after Hopkins' back-to-back overtime catches lifted the Texans past the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. "To see a guy, especially in such a tough situation, make all the big plays he made at the end of the game. He was our offensive player of the game.

"But I think the most encouraging thing is you watch the film and, God, there is so much room for improvement. For us, as coaches and for him as a player, we’ve got to hang onto the good things he’s doing and we’ve got to fix the mistakes and some of the things he’s struggling with offensively.

"But I think those things will come and confidence can only help them come even faster.”

Hopkins caught seven passes for 117 yards in his second NFL start, setting a team yardage record for a rookie. He became the first NFL rookie in seven years to make a game-winning touchdown catch in overtime.

Ellington figured prominently for the Arizona Cardinals both in the running and passing game. He had a 16-yard run, and caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carson Palmer.

Ellington, whose rookie teammate - former Tiger Jaron Brown - also caught a pass, said it feels good to have earned the trust of the Cardinals' coaching staff.

"It makes me feel great - it shows me that all the work we've put in is paying off, giving him (Arians) the trust he has in us," said Ellington.

Arians said he's looking for more intense attention to detail, from rookies and veterans alike.

"We’re not thinking enough," Arians said. "Our attention to detail on offense is very lacking. We just had a long meeting about it. There are no ‘little things.’ You hear a lot of coaches say, ‘It’s the little things.’ There are no little things. Everything is a big thing.”

Crezdon Butler, Marcus Gilchrist Back Together: The San Diego Chargers have announced the signing of third-year cornerback Crezdon Butler, who will join former Clemson teammate Marcus Gilchrist in the team's secondary.

A former fifth-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Butler has also played for the Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals and Buffalo Bills. He played in six games last season for Buffalo, primarily on special teams. He had five tackles, five passes defensed and an interception for the Bills during the preseason, and was among the final players released by the club.

Butler played in a total of 13 games during his first three years in the NFL, but missed most of the 2011 season after dislocating his ankle.

As a three-year starter at Clemson, Butler played alongside Gilchrist on a unit that ranked among the top 15 in the country in pass defense each year. Butler's 243 interception return yards rank second in Clemson history. He made 40 straight starts for the Tigers.

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Comments » 2

lhaselden writes:

It is fun to watch those guys succeed ..... shows the coaching and the conditioning at clemson is at least up to par if not excellent...

rsb8931#286014 writes:

I love to hear coaches talk. They over analyze everything. Kubiack says there is so much room for improvement regarding Nuk. Wonder what he is talking about. I would love to hear some specifics on how to improve on Nuk Hopkins. Kubiack talks like he is a slacker and needs to practice harder. Give me some specifics that will make Nuk better. Let's hear them. Put them in a bullet list format so the world can see.

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