Monthly Archives: June 2019

Custom T.J. Hockenson Jersey Large

Rookie moment.

Early in practice Thursday, the Detroit Lions are working on red-zone situations in what’s essentially a five-on-five drill. It’s running backs and tight ends mostly on offense against linebackers and safeties on defense.

A couple plays into the period, first-round pick T.J. Hockenson gets loose for what should be an easy touchdown.

Hockenson, the eighth pick of the draft, is wide open in the back corner of the end zone with no defender in the picture.

Matthew Stafford rolls right and lofts a pass Hockenson’s way. It’s not the sharpest pass, it’s a hair behind the tight end, but it’s one that should be caught 100 times out of 100.

Hockenson, though, tries to one-hand the catch and the ball glances off his fingers and falls harmlessly to the ground.

We’re not allowed to report conversations we overhear at practice, but let’s just say, even from my perch 80 or so yards away, Matt Patricia was none too happy.

Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay warms up during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
99 Photos
Detroit Lions mandatory minicamp: June 4-6, 2019
Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay warms up during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.1 of 99
Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia works with the defense during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick watches drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions defensive linemen go through drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford takes the snap from center Frank Ragnow runs the offense during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions offensive line coach Jeff Davidson works with players during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterback Tom Savage goes through drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick goes through drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford runs the offense during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions linebacker Christian Jones goes through drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hands off to C.J. Anderson during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterback Tom Savage goes through drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterback Connor Cook throws during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions receiver Danny Amendola goes through drills during minicamp Thursday, June 6, 2019 at the Allen Park practice facility in Allen Park, Mich.
Detroit Lions running backs Zach Zenner, left, and Ty Johnson, right, during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford goes through drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions running back Zach Zenner watches drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, right, instructs players during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions offensive lineman Taylor Decker watches drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions quarterbacks Connor Cook goes through drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni on the field during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson takes a handoff from quarterback Connor Cook during practice Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions receiver Danny Amendola goes through drills during minicamp practice Thursday, June 6, 2019 in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson catches a pass during practice June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions receiver Jermaine Kearse makes a catch during practice Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford runs the offense during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions president Rod Wood talks with owner Martha Firestone Ford during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Tom Savage goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia works with linebacker Jahlani Tavai during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hands off to running back C.J. Anderson during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions linebacker Jahlani Tavai goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions defensive back Tracy Walker walks off the field after minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions GM Bob Quinn, owner Martha Firestone Ford and team president Rod Wood talk during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia takes questions before minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia watches during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Tom Savage goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Tom Savage goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia watches during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions linebacker Jahlani Tavai goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Connor Cook hands off to running back Mark Thompson during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running back Zach Zenner catches passes during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford goes through drills during minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions linebacker Jahlani Tavai goes through drills during minicamp Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the Allen Park practice facility in Allen Park, Mich.
Lions linebacker Devon Kennard walks off the field after minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia and Detroit defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson walk off the field after minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia takes questions before minicamp on Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions wide receiver Jordan Smallwood catches passes during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola catches passes during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running back Theo Riddick goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running back C.J. Anderson goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running back Kerryon Johnson goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Tom Savage hands off to Mark Thompson during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford watches drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford watches drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions wide receiver Travis Fulgham catches passes during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Connor Cook go through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running back Theo Riddick goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions linebacker Devon Kennard talks with reporters after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia talks with running back Kerryon Johnson after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell works with players after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia watches players run after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions defensive tackle P.J. Johnson goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions linebacker Jahlani Tavai goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions linebackers move to the next drill during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions defensive tackles P.J. Johnson and Ray Smith go through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running backs go through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running back Kerryon Johnson goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan and quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Tom Savage run to the next drill during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hands off to running back Kerryon Johnson during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford watches drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Connor Cook watches Tom Savage during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Connor Cook goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Connor Cook goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions wide receiver Danny Amendola watches drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running back Mark Thompson goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions running back Kerryon Johnson goes through drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions tight ends Logan Thomas, left, and T.J. Hockenson watch passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterback Connor Cook goes through passing drills during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions tight end Michael Roberts talks with reporters after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Connor Cook walk off the field after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell runs off the field after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia talks with players after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions offensive linemen run after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions offensive linemen run after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions coach Matt Patricia watches players run after minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Lions defensive backs move to the next drill during minicamp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Allen Park.
Next Slide
Hockenson will be a fine player in time. There’s a reason the Lions took him No. 8 overall, and he had some good moments during mandatory minicamp this week.

But he’s also a rookie, one the Lions aren’t just going to hand a starting job to.

Hockenson spent most of minicamp working with the second-team offense. Oh, he got his share of No. 1 reps, but he usually came into drills after Jesse James and sometimes Logan Thomas and Jerome Cunningham and Michael Roberts, too.

The Lions have one week left in their formal offseason program (two for rookies) and I certainly expect Hockenson’s role to increase once training camp rolls around this summer. He’s too good a player, and the Lions spent too significant a resource on him, to predict anything else.

But as Patricia has tried to increase the level of accountability on his roster, know that, that goes double for this year’s first-round pick.

Detroit Lions tight ends Jesse James (83) and T.J. Hockenson (88) listen to quarterback Matthew Stafford during practice in Allen Park, Thursday, May 30, 2019.
Detroit Lions tight ends Jesse James (83) and T.J. Hockenson (88) listen to quarterback Matthew Stafford during practice in Allen Park, Thursday, May 30, 2019. (Photo: Paul Sancya, AP)

Lions minicamp is in the books and I wouldn’t read too much into anything that happened. Yes, there were too many flags, and the offense is clearly still figuring itself out. But we’re still three months away from games that matter and by that time – barring something totally unexpected – Darius Slay, Damon Harrison, Trey Flowers, Justin Coleman, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay all should be on the field.

Here are some final observations from Thursday’s practice and this week’s minicamp:

• None of the aforementioned six players did any team drills this week, and Slay and Harrison remain away from the team in contract disputes. I didn’t see Flowers, who’s returning from offseason shoulder surgery, at practice Thursday – he was expected to attend the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl ring ceremony Thursday night – but Golladay and Jones looked fine running routes on air with trainers and Coleman once again did position drills. None of those players seems to be in any jeopardy of missing training camp.

• Newly signed receiver Jermaine Kearse didn’t do much team work in his first practice as a Lion, but he did work with the first-team offense during an installation period at the beginning of practice and should get plenty of run this summer as the Lions try and figure out what he has left. When Kearse wasn’t on the field Thursday, he was often by Stafford or offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell trying to digest what was happening.

• I’ve mentioned Danny Amendola and Chris Lacy in past observations, but the bubble receiver who’s been the most consistent during open practices this spring has been Andy Jones. He made a nice leaping catch at the goal line in a seven-on-seven drill early in practice Thursday and seemed to be on the receiving end of a lot of Stafford targets. He’s a good blocker and better special-teams player, he can play gunner in punt coverage. If I had to pick a fourth receiver right now, he’d be the guy.

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• Two other receivers who opened a few eyes at the end of practice Thursday were former Old Dominion teammates Travis Fulgham and Jonathan Duhart. In a team period late in practice, Fulgham, a sixth-round pick, scored a jump-ball touchdown when the first-team offense was on the field for one fourth-and-goal snap from the 8, then made a diving catch in front of Jamal Agnew later in the period. Duhart, who signed as an undrafted free agent, made back-to-back impressive grabs near the sideline, going over the shoulder against tight coverage from Marcus Cooper for one and then diving towards the sideline for another.

Old Dominion receiver Travis Fulgham was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.
Old Dominion receiver Travis Fulgham was drafted in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. (Photo: Old Dominion)

• Truthfully, I’m not sure the Fulgham touchdown would have counted in a game. Devon Kennard was in on Stafford pretty quick for what looked to me like a sack, but coaches let the play go and when the offense scored, the defense dropped down for a set of push-ups for losing the period.

• The Teez Tabor chronicles continue. Tabor continued to work with the first-team defense in Slay’s absence and bounced back after a rough Wednesday. He broke up a fade pass to Fulgham in the end zone and intercepted a long Stafford heave to the rookie a period later.

• Laying odds now, I’d say Agnew will be this team’s punt returner come fall (which of course means he makes the team). He showed his shakes in one special-teams drill Thursday when the Lions simulate a return as two gunners charge in from 20 or so yards away. Agnew pulled off a nifty spin and reversed field that had his teammates oohing and aahing.

• If not Agnew, Amendola is the your likely punt returner for 2019.

Detroit Lions’ Quandre Diggs reacts after intercepting a pass during the second half against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis.
Detroit Lions’ Quandre Diggs reacts after intercepting a pass during the second half against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis. (Photo: Matt Ludtke, AP)

• We mentioned this on the wrap-up video we shot, but the Lions do seem to be forcing more turnovers this spring. I’m not sure if that’s due to the new offense being choppy or defenders being more comfortable in Year 2, but it’s definitely noticeable. In fact, Quandre Diggs opened practice with an interception of Stafford in a nine-on-seven pass period (no defensive tackles or offensive line). That pass was intended for James, and Diggs started the very next period by breaking up a pass to Logan Thomas. He could be in for a very nice season.

• Two final notes to end it: Miles Killebrew had a nice pass breakup on a Connor Cook pass to Brandon Reilly early in practice, and the offensive line rotation was largely the same as on Wednesday, with Joe Dahl playing left guard and Oday Aboushi right guard with the first-team offense. Graham Glasgow played some center with the second-team offense after repping at guard most of the spring.