Detroit Lions’ T.J. Hockenson building chemistry with Jared Goff: ‘He’s a great dude’

Detroit Free Press
How’s this for chemistry between T.J. Hockenson and Jared Goff?

As Hockenson was speaking with reporters Saturday about the bond with his new quarterback, Goff walked behind everyone on his way to the locker room — but not before Hockenson spotted him and gave him a shout out.

“Hey, JG!” Hockenson said, interrupting his own answer.

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JG and Hock. It almost sounds like a 1980s buddy cop television show. The Detroit Lions are hoping they have a hit of their own between the quarterback and the Pro Bowl tight end. It’s early, but after just four training camp practices, there seems to be a good connection between the two.

And that’s not an accident, because they practiced together in Los Angeles during the offseason and became friends in the process.

“He’s a great dude,” Hockenson said. “Love hanging out with him. I think just building that rapport throughout the offseason, throughout training camp is huge for both of us.

“But just being able to be friends off the field helps, you know? Just being able to talk different situations, different coverages and just seeing what our guys are doing.”

One example of that came Saturday when Goff and Hockenson connected on a touchdown in seven-on-seven during a red-zone situation.

“Our guys are doing a good job disguising stuff and not really tipping things off,” Hockenson said of the offense. “So we’re trying to work through that and work through open safety, split safety, single safety, all that stuff. It just comes with reps and things to do.

“It’s a new offense. We’re still trying to clean some stuff up and figure some things out. But we’re moving in the right directions every day and I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Goff never had a Pro Bowl tight end during his five seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, so having an elite weapon at the position will be something new for him.

“Yeah, he’s going to provide a mismatch for sure,” Goff said Friday, “especially when we can get into 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends) and then get a linebacker on him or a safety. Any time we can do that — stretch him out, get him out wide and move him around — is going to be good. He’s got a rare skill set, so I’m excited to play with him.”

Lions coach Dan Campbell, who played tight end for 10 seasons, also sees the chemistry developing between the two players as well as their potential.

“I have seen that,” he said. “I think that’s one thing that JG has not really had is a good receiving tight end that he can kind of let go to work and trust that, ‘All right, if the matchup’s there, I can go to this guy.’

“I think Tyler Higbee at the Los Angeles Rams is a damn good tight end, believe me… but Tyler’s job description is a little different than Hock. Hock’s got to be able to block, but I think Hockenson can be a real mismatch in the pass game. That’s really where I think he can excel, and you can feel Jared wants to go to him now. He sees it. So I do see that rapport.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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