The Detroit Lions are depending on a big season from tight end T.J. Hockenson, and after a big offseason, the player is starting to look primed to hold up his end of the bargain.
Hockenson has come into camp motivated and looking to make gains toward becoming one of the best tight ends in football, and after a new highlight-reel play, he could be making the case to do just that.
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After practice on Tuesday, August 3, the Lions Twitter account posted a great highlight from practice which showed Hockenson making a tough catch in the corner of the end zone. He juggles the ball, stays with it and appears to make what would be considered a very impressive touchdown.
Here’s a look:
This is the type of play the Lions want to see out of Hockenson this coming season. The team needs him to be a prime red zone threat, and catches like this will help get that done.
T.J. Hockenson Focused on Improvement: ‘I Want to Be a Lot Better’
Though Hockenson had a solid season in 2020, he wants to take even more steps toward becoming elite in the league. Speaking at training camp on July 31, Hockenson talked honestly about his desires to improve upon what he has already done in the league in order to help round out his game.
“There’s always ways to get better. I want to be a lot better than I was last season. I think that’s every player’s goal, though. Looking at the film from last season, yeah I had a Pro Bowl, but it’s not near where I could be or where I want to be. Blocking-wise, route-wise, there’s some thing I tried to clean up through the offseason that’s showing up out here that we’re just cleaning up and trying to get ready for a good year this year,” Hockenson explained to the media.
Part of that improvement could be driven by the fact that Hockenson is now settling in and more comfortable with his surroundings in the Motor City.
“I think the longer you’re in this league, the longer you see different things. I think that comes with comfortability. I see different faces but I see new faces. I’ve ben with the organization for three years now. Just being able to see Sheila (Ford Hamp) out here and Mrs. Ford, all these guys, Rod and all the guys in the front office. The first two years you’re learning everybody’s name. Now you know the core guys on the team, and it’s nice to be comfortable with that,” he said. “You’re not really thinking about everything rather than just football which is nice. First two years are tough, first year is real tough. Everything is new. The city is new. Going into year three, I got my same place, I got things established here in the city of Detroit. Stuff I don’t have to worry about outside of football. I think that is the biggest thing for young guys, being able to grow up in that situation.”
Now that Hockenson has roots, he can set his sights on becoming great and taking off. If he has a big season, these factors could prove to be an important reason why.
Hockenson’s Career Stats
There is simply no understating the importance of Hockenson to the Lions in the future moving forward in 2021 and beyond. The team hasn’t gotten much of anything from any of the other tight ends on their roster the last few years, and while he hasn’t had the most dramatic statistical impact thus far in his career, Hockenson has easily been one of the team’s top rookies in 2019 and 2020 and a player capable of impacting both the run and the passing games.
During his rookie season in 2019, many fans were upset with Hockenson for not making a bigger impact on the game. He had only 367 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year which is not the statistical impact that many people expected from him as a top selection for the team. 2020 was a major bounce back from that, though, and Hockenson put up 723 yards and 6 touchdowns to rebound well.
Clearly, Hockenson is on the right track to being thought of as one of the best players in the league at his position. With big plays like this coming down the pipe, the sky could be the limit for Hockenson.
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