FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Compare the stat line between Justin Hardy’s rookie season of 2015 and this year and the similarities jump out. Hardy hauled in 21 passes in each season and improved on his 194-yard first year by just nine yards to 203.
But stat lines don’t tell the entire story, and they surely won’t answer the question on how Hardy went from zero to four touchdowns in 2016.
“It’s been one of my strong points that I like to work on,” Hardy told Morning Show host John Fricke. “My hands are one of the things I can hang my hat on. Just working on that as much as I can, and everything else, it carried over from the offseason to now.”
Not only does Hardy trust his hands, but it seems as though Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan does too. Hardy caught one touchdown pass against New Orleans and fell just out of bounds or he would have had another.
Another area of growth for Hardy has been in the number of times he’s been targeted. In the 10 games prior to the bye week, Hardy was thrown toward 13 times. In the six games after… 18. And Hardy’s number of receptions jumped dramatically from one per game to 1.8 per.
Take a listen to the rest of Fricke’s interview with Hardy. The Atlanta receiver talked about his play of late, moving forward into the playoffs and Ryan for MVP: