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Notes: T.J. Hockenson vaults into the upper tier of NFL tight ends

Jared Goff and the running backs aren’t the only ones putting up fantastic offensive numbers.

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Back in July, our own Ryan Mathews said it’s time for Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson to show the world he belongs in the top tier of NFL tight ends. In a September mailbag, the guys wondered if a slow start to the year would be worrisome. The former eighth-overall selection came in, after all, with high expectations in 2022 from the national media.

But then last week, Pride of Detroit’s bold prediction artiste Hamza Baccouche said Hock would step up to take center stage against the Seattle Seahawks. The TEU Heavyweight Champ showed why he got the belt, and definitely won the reps when his number got called.

A career day in yards and touchdowns later, we have T.J. Hockenson on pace to fulfilling his potential like gangbusters:

Something interesting to point out about the 81-yard reception that Erik Schlitt referenced in the game ball thread for Week 4 was that the play “was expected to have just seven yards gained after the catch, but Hockenson’s ability to keep the play alive earned him an extra 68 yards beyond expectations—the most yards after catch beyond expectations in the NFL this season.” Improving on gaining yards after the catch was a very specific part of Hockenson’s overall game that Football Outsiders’ analysis in July said he needed to improve.

Hockenson was having a great year in 2021 before a thumb injury sidelined him in December, as evidenced by his 2022 Pro Bowl alternate selection even for the injury-shortened season. Is he back to form following offseason recovery? Sure looks like it. He’s fought back from injury before and performed at a high level, so it’s no surprise he’s doing well in the Lions’ potent 2022 offense.

Now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • Lions special teams coordinator Dave Fipp had a lot of praise and admiration for Bill Belichick and the kicking game units in New England on Thursday. Dave Birkett from the Detroit Free Press covered Fipp’s comments in an article posted Thursday.

  • Yes folks, the Lions are throwing it down the field this year:

  • Okay, this is pretty cool:

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