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T.J. Hockenson: Jared Goff 'Understands How to Win'

Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson values his friendship with new signal-caller Jared Goff.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson has developed a close relationship with quarterback Jared Goff on the field, but it is their friendship off of the field that has been rewarding for the third-year tight end. 

"Jared's a great dude," Hockenson shared. "Just a genuine guy that cares about his teammates. He's more my age. It's really cool to have that kind of aspect of off the field friendship." 

Through training camp, Goff has expectedly been analyzed heavily, and will continue to be a focal point of supporters his first season playing under center. 

For Hockenson, Goff is not just another average quarterback who the team brought in to replace a veteran.

"He's played in the Super Bowl for a reason. He's won playoff games," Hockenson said. "He's done all this for a reason. It's not like it's just a quarterback. That's Jared Goff, who is a winner and has played well in this league for years. I think having that throughout the offseason and having him -- like I said, I flew out to California a few times and threw with him and kind of just got that rolling. A guy like that just understands the league and understands how to win. I think he's just trying to bring that culture to Detroit."

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Taylor Decker injury

For the Lions' offense, they could already be forced to rely upon reserves to step in and perform this Sunday against the 49ers.

Left tackle Taylor Decker missed Thursday's practice and could be forced to miss the season opener.

"Yeah, obviously Taylor is one of those guys who has been a captain the last couple years and just a guy you feed off of, but on the same hand, it's next man up," Hockenson said. "Matt Nelson is a good player. He's been in it with us the last couple years, so I think he's ready for the challenge."

Inherently, players are all to familiar with injuries, and the Lions have been forced to deal with their fair share the last couple of seasons. 

"Football is one of those games where it's next man up. You can't really think about stuff like that, you just have to move on," Hockenson explained. "Obviously, Taylor is a great player and we'd definitely love to have him. When he comes back, whenever that is, we're going to keep rolling."

Detroit could look to a player to fill in at left tackle who stepped in last season and had success against a division rival. 

Hockenson commented, "Matt Nelson, he blocked (Chicago Bears linebacker) Khalil Mack last year, so I think we'll be all right up front. I'm not really worried about it."