T.J. Hockenson’s season has already gotten off to a rough start in terms of injuries, but the Detroit Lions will be happy to see him avoid another bad one.
Late in Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, Hockenson was smacked hard in the back while running a route. The play wasn’t a helmet to helmet hit, but Hockenson did hit his head and neck enough for the team to worry about another potential concussion. He was pulled from the game and examined as a result.
The good news? According to Matt Patricia, Hockenson isn’t in any trouble for another concussion. He’s sore, but the back took most of the damage on the scary looking play.
The fact that Hockenson avoided another concussion this early in his career is significant. The Lions will no doubt watch him this week, but Hockenson looks to have avoided a major problem just a few weeks after taking a scary fall and sustaining a concussion.
Lions Attempt to Explain Fourth Down Play
While the Lions could have used Hockenson on the rest of their failed final drive in the fourth quarter, the players who were involved maintained after the fact that any of them could have made a play in order to save the game.
Instead of sulking after the fact, Marvin Jones, who had some massive plays on the afternoon, admitted that he wasn’t all that frustrated with not being on the field, as he understood it was part of the game plan in the moment that the team wanted to run.
“It is what it is. We got a plethora of plays that we can get to, and that was the call. It doesn’t matter who’s out there, we all expect to make the big play,” Jones said after the fact to the media including Fox 2 Sports.
Wouldn’t human nature lead a competitor to be frustrated if not bitterly disappointed in such a spot? Not so, says Jones.
“That’s just what it was. That’s a situation that was not in my control. We trust all of our guys,” he said.
On the day, Jones had a gaudy 126 yards and 1 touchdown on the day and made some great catches. Even if he is being a team player and towing the company line afterward, there’s no telling the damage he could have done in such a position in the red zone.
Fellow tight end Logan Thomas, who was targeted on the play, was more frustrated with his own inability to get something done in crunch time given the trust placed in him by the coaching staff.
“Bev has extreme trust in all of us. Every single one of us has got to go make a play and I was dialed up and it ended up coming to me so I’ve got to make a play,” he told the media including Fox 2 Sports. “Everybody on the field is entrusted with a job, and just got to go do so.”
As a whole, Thomas was an intriguing player to be targeted. Hockenson was receiving medical attention, but Detroit had Jesse James and elected to target Thomas, a converted quarterback. He’s made some catches for Detroit this year, but in terms of this situation, he’d be the last man anyone would expect Detroit to target in a clutch situation.
T.J. Hockenson’s Role With Lions
There is simply no understating the importance of Hockenson to the Lions right now. The team isn’t getting anything from any of the other tight ends on their roster, and while he hasn’t had the most dramatic statistical impact, Hockenson has easily been the team’s top rookie in 2019 and a player capable of impacting both the run and the passing games.
Safe to say if Hockenson was able to play the end of the final series, the play could have ended up a lot different. The Lions will be happy that he is not in serious injury trouble and at risk of sustaining yet another concussion in his young career.