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The Detroit Lions entered the 2018 season with an entirely revamped tight end room. Eric Ebron and Darren Fells both joined another team last spring and the team had to replace them. Enter Levine Toilolo (and Luke Willson) T.J. Hockenson Detroit Lions Jersey , a tight end with 74 career receptions in five NFL seasons. A tight end who played in one of the greatest offenses in the modern era, the 2016 Atlanta Falcons. Toilolo had a fairly quiet year in Detroit. He caught 21 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown, but low production was expected from the Stanford alum. Toilolo was primarily brought in to be a blocker. And a great blocker he was.The tight end finds most his success as a run blocker. He is great at getting low and driving defenders out of a gap. Toilolo is really strong and can push a defender all the way across the formation when he is asked to. He is a smart blocker as well, and rarely does he end up shoving the man that he is blocking into the path of the running back. He has great awareness, and when he is forced to go in motion to find someone to block, he usually is able to find his assignment in time to make a good block to support his running back.While Toilolo is very strong and has all the physicality anyone would ever need to succeed in the NFL, he is one of the stiffest players on the roster. He has virtually zero explosion, he is not at all agile and he is incredibly slow. There may be a few NFL tackles with better athleticism than Toilolo. This should hurt him a bit as a pass blocker, as tight ends are usually matched up against quick, agile and bendy defensive ends. Toilolo still manages to make it work, though. The tight end is often beat out of his stance by his opposition, but his footwork, football IQ and technique allows him to recover quickly enough to seal the edge anyways. This play against the New England Patriots is a good example.The Patriots rusher clearly gets the jump on Toilolo. The linebacker gets beneath the tight end and drives him back. Toilolo’s strength allows him to hold the block long enough to give Matthew Stafford a clean pocket T.J. Hockenson Jersey 2019 , though, and the play results in a touchdown.On this play against the Patriots, he is forced to hold a block in open space as he is lined up as a receiver. He is basically the only thing between a sack and a touchdown on this play, and he comes up big for the Lions. While his lack of athleticism does not detract from his skills as a blocker much, it kills any chance at contributing a large volume as a receiver. Toilolo had a few stand out games as a receiver last season, but when watching the games back, it feels more like the opposing defense was allowing him to. They were willing to let Toilolo have a huge day if it meant not letting Stafford find receivers like Kenny Golladay open downfield. While you can commend Toilolo for being able to get open and catch passes, the big days he had towards the end of the season seem to be more of an indictment of the tight end room’s failures to produce all season rather than an indication of the skill of Toilolo. In reality, Toilolo is a very slow, stiff route runner. He gets a majority of his work as a quick outlet for Stafford underneath. He rarely gets anything after the catch, and when he is forced to run a route deep downfield, he cannot get open against man coverage. This isn’t a huge issue, though. Toilolo was never supposed to be a big part of the Lions receiving game anyways.Does Toilolo have a future in Detroit?Toilolo is a player made to play for new Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. His ability as a run blocker should help the ground attack that Detroit really seems to be leaning towards and with question marks across the Lions offensive line at the moment White T.J. Hockenson Jersey , his ability as a pass blocker will be of great use as well. The tight end will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He signed a one-year deal worth $1 million last spring. Expect a contract for him this year to cost slightly more and maybe even have a few extra years on it. He will not be a starter going forward, and Detroit will still need to add an athletic receiving tight end, but Toilolo deserves another contract with the Lions. He was brought in to do one job, and he did that job really well.Unsung hero of the week: Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers Another week, another heartbreak for Detroit Lions fans. While Sunday’s matchup against the San Francisco 49ers was a tough loss, there was definite improvement over the showing we saw Monday night against the New York Jets. With that being said, it will be a little bit easier to hand out this week’s award for unsung hero of the week. The series highlights one player whose performance, be it throughout the whole game or in a single moment, played an important role in the Lions’ success but may not have been the most memorable.Unsung hero of the week: LeGarrette BlountLeGarrette Blount’s biggest highlight on Sunday came from the sidelines, shoving down 49ers linebacker Elijah Lee after a questionable hit on Matthew Stafford as Stafford ran out of bounds on a scramble. Blount was ejected from the game, the Lions were tagged with a 15-yard penalty that turned a third-and-2 into third-and-17, and announcers Chris Spielman and Thom Brennaman began talking about Blount’s uncontrollable anger that dates back to his college days. There’s no doubt that it was a poor decision by Blount to lash out and cost the team like that, but if you want to hear both sides of the argument the POD staff talks more about it on this week’s PODcast around the 20 minute mark. We’re here to discuss what Blount did right Youth T.J. Hockenson Jersey , however. While it was a rough day for Stafford until the fourth quarter, the ground game was uncharacteristically steady and sound throughout the afternoon. Kerryon Johnson stole the show with this 21-yard scamper around the outside, with the rest of his carries looking pretty ordinary. Blount was a little bit more consistent, however, steadily churning out 5-to-10-yard carries from early on in the game, even making positive yardage out of plays when he was swamped in the backfield. His best run, while not as big as Johnson’s, was the running that Blount does best.via GfycatFortunately for the Lions, Blount showed the same passion while running as he did when charging from the sidelines. That allowed Blount to hold it down until Johnson got into a rhythm later in the game. While Blount might have caught the most attention from his unsportsmanlike play, his play in between the tackles was noteworthy and uncharacteristically good for a Lions running back, and for that reason Blount earns this week’s honors. Who do you think had a quietly good game against the 49ers? Let us know in the comments.


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