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Tuesday open thread: Goff aside, which Detroit Lions player needs to step up?

We know the quarterback has to play better, but who else is underwhelming?

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Just about everyone can agree that Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff needs to play better right now. The offensive struggles are not all on his shoulders—there are many culprits to Detroit’s passing game issues—but he certainly bears some of the blame.

However, there are plenty of issues all over the roster, and while there are some positives, too, the reality is this team is 0-5. They may have come close in a couple of games, but for the majority of each contest, the Lions have looked like the inferior team. In every game but one (vs. Packers) the Lions have been outgained on a yards per play basis, often by large margins.

All of that is to say the Lions need players to step up. It’s clear Lady Luck isn’t on their side right now, so they have to create their own luck with better play. But who on this team is capable of stepping up?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Which Lions player outside of Jared Goff needs to step their play up?

My answer: T.J. Hockenson.

Listen, I get it. Hockenson can only make the plays given to him. The Lions don’t have a lot—or any—other receiving threats on their roster to draw attention away from him. To put it bluntly, he’s going to have to work harder than the average tight end to get open and make plays.

But Hockenson shouldn’t fear bracketed coverage, defenses should fear him. The fact of the matter is that the Lions don’t have any other choice than to get Hockenson more involved, because he’s the only playmaking receiver on the roster right now, especially with the injuries to Quintez Cephus and Tyrell Williams. Eight catches for 74 yards in the past three games simply isn’t anywhere near enough. Those should be close to the numbers he’s doing every week.

Maybe it’s not fair to expect that much of Hockenson. In fact, I know it isn’t. Not many skill position players are going to succeed when they’re the only legitimate threat to the defense. But the Lions are out of options. They need him to carry this pass offense.

And that goes for offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, too. His primary job needs to be scheming up creative ways to get Hockenson in space.

Your turn.

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