Monday, August 24, 2020

Observations: Lions TE T.J. Hockenson shines with pair of impressive touchdowns


Updated Aug 22, 7:08 PM; Posted Aug 22, 7:08 PM

Carlos Osorio
Detroit Lions training camp, August 22, 2020
Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson catches during a drill at the Lions NFL football camp practice, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Allen Park, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
By Benjamin Raven |
ALLEN PARK -- Stop me if you've heard this one before, but T.J. Hockenson is having one heck of a good week at training camp.
Hockenson shined for the Detroit Lions, who ditched the pads for the first time of the week on Saturday. The second-year tight end raised concerns with his ankle earlier in the week but has produced at a rate that it’s getting easier to believe him when he says he’s 100%. Last year’s eighth-overall pick caught two touchdown passes during red-area drills, with one from Matthew Stafford and the other from Chase Daniel.

On the first, Hockenson made a tightly-contested catch with cornerback Amani Oruwariye in coverage. The two collided at the point of the catch, sending Hockenson’s towel shooting into the air like it fired out of a t-shirt cannon. He then turned to the sideline and powered home a Gronk Spike in celebration. Lucky for you, the Lions were rolling for this play:

His second score came on a roll from Daniel, which set up some more time for fun in the end zone.

Hockenson didn't just shine during this drill, as his one-on-one reps against safeties Tracy Walker and Jayron Kearse have been highly entertaining. The tight end got the best of both on Saturday, absolutely burning Walker with a fake inside before quickly flattening his route. Walker had nothing but praise for Hockenson's move: "I seen that (expletive) coming, too!"

Hockenson’s release and ability to seal a defender stand out through the first couple of days. He looks more physical, and the connection with Stafford is jumping off the page.

"He loves the game of football. He's a simple guy, just wants to go out and play ball and block and catch and you know, be a tight end," Lions coach Matt Patricia said of Hockenson earlier this week. "Those guys are a little bit different anyways. I think you can hopefully feel that from him, his excitement from that today. I think knowing T.J., last year and kind of where he was in the draft and all that, there's a lot of pressure.

 "It's a lot of pressure for a first-year guy, and certainly -- you know, come out the gates with a great game and then just a little bit, up and down, the injuries and all the rest of it. I think for him he just feels like, 'OK, you know what, I'm settled in. It's the second year. Let me see if I can just try to get better. Let me see if I can improve and let's just go have some fun. So, it's good to see that. You can really tell on his face. Certainly, you know, his hair looks good. So, he's ready to roll."

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