The spotlight on this week’s Detroit Lions game film changes things up a bit. Instead of focusing on an individual player, the Week 9 edition takes a look at the whole tight end room and how it fared in the 15-9 win over the Green Bay Packers.
It was the first game after the Lions traded TJ Hockenson. Detroit replaced Hockenson with a combination of Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra and James Mitchell. The trio maxed their contributions on the stat sheet, combining for three receptions on four targets, eight yards but two touchdowns.
The methodology for rating the movie here is quite simple. Games where the player wins their individual match or correctly performs the role on play earn a plus; plays where he loses his match or does the wrong thing gets a minus. Not all games earn a grade.
With three different players in this one, we’re going to split them up.
The fifth-round rookie played the fewest shots of the bunch, accounting for just 13 reps. However, he made the most of it.
Mitchell had three positives in the receiving game without a blemish. His touchdown reception showed excellent release and spatial awareness, as well as confident hands. Along with having to slow down less in his return lanes, Mitchell looked very impressive in the passing patterns. He fulfilled the role of forming the peloton very well where Hockenson was usually at his best. As a blocker, I had Mitchell for a clean win and a loss, splitting the plus/minus ratio.
Overall, that’s four pluses and one minus in 13 hectic snaps for the big rookie. Based on his game, I would expect to see more of Mitchell in the passing game over the rest of the season.
Wright saw the lion’s share of the action. He was on the field for 50 of Detroit’s 62 offensive snaps.
He had two passing targets in the game and got a plus on the first even though he failed to catch. Wright had a clear early cover win, but he wasn’t Jared Goff’s main read on the game. end zone and Goff threw the ball. If Goff gets to Wright earlier, he was open for a potential TD. His other target came on an on-screen pass which the Green Bay defense read beautifully and broke up the pass.
Most of Wright’s work has come as a run blocker, and he’s had a mixed bag of a day in that capacity. I found three pros and four cons in running block game. One of the downsides came on a holding penalty which he absolutely deserved. He put in a lot of reps as a back tackle in the running game, which doesn’t leave much room for a straight win or loss.
As a catcher, Wright earned two pluses for winning on his routes and one minus for not making a clean break and being concealed on a play where Goff could have started. That puts Wright at five pluses and five minuses.
The practice squad call played 16 snaps. His first came in a full-back role in the first practice and earned Zylstra one of his two game blocking advantages.
Zylstra played almost exclusively online at TE and didn’t stay once as a blocker on passing plays, which was fairly common with Hockenson’s use this season in Detroit. As a run blocker, the No. 84 took the win on his lone FB snap and split a pair on run blocker.
As a receiver, it’s a big plus to win:
no andre swift…
not amon-ra st. brown…
not jamal williams…
Shane Zylstra, everyone! pic.twitter.com/8pWSKWafPz
— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) November 6, 2022
Three pluses, one minus on the game for Zylstra.
All in all, it was a solid game for the Lions TEs. The group’s final tally was 12 over and seven under. It was more in line with the value of TE’s role in Ben Johnson’s offense, especially in the context of Mitchell being a Day 3 rookie who missed the entire offseason with a knee injury and Wright and Zylstra as starters. undrafted free agents in their second season.