Friday, September 25, 2020

Lions - Packers Unsung Hero of the Week: T.J. Hockenson holds it down


The sophomore tight end is becoming one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets.



Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images


The Lions are a mess, and the offense isn’t living up to the potential we all envisioned. The passing game has failed to pick up where it left off when Matthew Stafford was at the helm last season, in no small part due to Stafford simply not looking like himself.

On that note, Kenny Golladay has yet to play, and the Lions will need him around on Sunday to have a fighting chance against the fast-paced Arizona Cardinals. One thing has been consistent through two weeks, however.

Unsung hero of the week: TE T.J. Hockenson

Honorable mention: Frank Ragnow, but he won this last week. He has been the only other consistent thing through two weeks.

Back to Hockenson. He’s blossoming just like we all hoped. After the failed conducting of the Eric Ebron hype train, there was a lot of negativity and fear surrounding the selection of T.J. Hockenson in 2019. While I still think it was a reach, Hockenson is at the pace that a superstar tight end should be at entering their sophomore year.

Hockenson has accumulated nine catches for 118 yards and a touchdown through two weeks, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. When you see it on film, you truly appreciate how hard those stats were to come by. Hockenson has made snatches in traffic, earned yards with his new and improved muscular frame, and he’s been a security blanket for his quarterback, as a good tight end should be.

Hockenson has bullied defensive backs through two weeks and is learning to utilize his size in the way that the best tight ends do—something we shouldn’t take for granted since Hockenson had a nasty injury that ended his 2019 season after trying to hurdle a defender.

Hockenson is holding his own, and he’s continuing to grow week by week. Keep an eye on him for Bold Prediction of the Week, as he’s matching up against an Arizona Cardinals defense that he torched to the tune of 131 yards in his debut game as a rookie. If Hockenson keeps this up, he’ll be in the conversation for the “really good” tier of tight ends in no time.

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