Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson teed up for big day in Carolina

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions should look to T.J. Hockenson often this Sunday

Entering their Week 11 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, the Detroit Lions‘ passing game has taken a massive hit. Not only is quarterback Matthew Stafford questionable for the contest due to a thumb injury, but three of his primary playmakers have already been ruled out for the game.

Following the release of the Lions’ final injury report on Friday, it was revealed that running back D’Andre Swift (concussion), wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip), and slot receiver Danny Amendola (hip) will all be sidelined on the road in Carolina due to injury.

While that leaves only Marvin Jones Jr. left out of the team’s normal starting receiving trio, reserves like rookie Quintez Cephus, Marvin Hall, and Jamal Agnew will have to step up in their place. But the biggest focus for Stafford might be his former first-round tight end, T.J. Hockenson.

The 23-year old Hockenson has looked much improved in his second season in Motown. The controversial eighth overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft has already exceeded the numbers he posted his rookie year. And he’s done so in just nine games. Hockenson currently leads Detroit in targets (53), receptions (36), and receiving touchdowns (5).

Detroit Lions could benefit where other tight ends have versus Carolina

Aiding Hockenson’s cause this Sunday is the fact the Panthers have been absolutely torched by opposing tight ends over their past two games. The duo of Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate racked up a combined five receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. In Carolina’s Week Nine matchup, tight end Travis Kelce recorded a whopping 10 receptions for 159 yards for the Kansas City Chiefs.

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T.J. Hockenson himself hasn’t been untouched by the injury bug this past week, as he was limited during practice sessions on both Wednesday and Thursday due to a toe injury. He was able to be a full participant on Friday and should be a full-go for Sunday’s contest in Charlotte, North Carolina.