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Alex Anzalone: 'This City Deserves Winners'

Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone explains how matching up against tight end T.J. Hockenson makes everyone better on defense.

For the first few days of training camp, the Detroit Lions' roster was practicing without pads. 

It provided for routine practices, but one moment stood out for linebacker Alex Anzalone during Monday's practice. 

It is no secret that tight end T.J. Hockenson is in line for a significant amount of targets in 2021. 

On one play during practice Monday, Hockenson secured the reception, and was chased down by Anzalone, who then proceeded to shove Hockenson to the ground, drawing cheers from fans. 

Anzalone dismissed the increased physicality as “just football, just football,” when asked by SI All Lions, explaining that the play of the defense was intended to keep the energy level at the appropriate mark. 

“Any time we linebackers go against T.J., we’re going to get better. He’s obviously one of the more athletic tight ends in this league, but he’s also a complete tight end," Anzalone said. “There’s a lot of guys that are just receiving tight ends, and he’s not that. He’ll line up on the line, and he can block. He can do a multitude of things.”

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Like many, Anzalone is keenly aware the Lions and their fanbase are desperate to turn around their fortunes. 

“This city deserves winners,” Anzalone said. “From what I know, it hasn’t been like that in the past, and we’re just trying to turn it around.”

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