Lions’ Sam LaPorta Reveals Recipe to Early-Career Success

Sam LaPorta

Getty Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta opened up about his early career success in an interview with Fox 2's Dan Miller.

Depth at wide receiver was a significant concern for the Detroit Lions during the summer. But one way the Lions have been able to overcome that apparent weakness is with rookie tight end Sam LaPorta.

In the first eight games of his career, LaPorta has posted 43 receptions, 434 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. He’s the first tight end to reach those totals in his first eight games in NFL history.

In an interview with Fox 2’s Dan Miller on November 9, LaPorta revealed how he’s been able to experience that success early in his career.

“[The Lions] didn’t really allow me to be a rookie,” LaPorta told Miller. “Right away, they kinda just threw me into the fire, which is a good thing for the team and for my own individual performance.”

In the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, LaPorta played 58 offensive snaps, which was 83% of the team’s snaps on offense. He’s lined up for at least 50 snaps every game this year and started six contests.

That early trust has resulted in LaPorta turning into one of the key cogs in Detroit’s offense this season.


Sam LaPorta Starring as Rookie for Detroit Lions

The rookie tight end has made an impact since the season opener. He caught 5 passes in each of his first two games for a total of 102 yards.

Then in Week 3, he took off against the Atlanta Falcons. LaPorta received 11 targets, catching 8 of them for 84 yards and a touchdown.

Since then, LaPorta has 4 touchdowns in the last six games. He’s surpassed the 50-yard mark four times during that stretch as well.

Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is the most irreplaceable pass catcher in the Detroit offense. He leads the Lions with 57 catches and 665 receiving yards. But LaPorta is quickly becoming nearly as productive.

The tight end is second on the team in receptions and receiving yards. He also leads the Lions with his 4 receiving touchdowns.

LaPorta’s 434 yards from scrimmage is fourth for Detroit behind only St. Brown and running backs Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery. Only Montgomery has more total touchdowns.

It’s easy to see now that the Lions were correct to trust LaPorta with early playing time, but a lot of NFL teams don’t love playing rookies a lot in September.

In LaPorta’s case, though, it was certainly the right call, and the Lions are benefitting greatly.


LaPorta Not Dwelling on Early Success

Lions head coach Dan Campbell spoke multiple times ahead of Week 10 about the team needing to continue to get better. Lions quarterback Jared Goff expressed that desire in front of reporters on November 7 as well.

LaPorta shares the same attitude.

“In football, it’s always the next play. If you get too hung up on your performances — your good or your bad — it really just affects how you play going into the future,” LaPorta told Miller. “It’s cool to acknowledge those things, those statistics, but you kind of have to move on quickly.”

Miller pointed out that LaPorta is currently ranked in the top 5 tight ends in catches and receiving yards this season. But it sounds like LaPorta won’t be satisfied unless he stays in the top five for the entire campaign.

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