As every Lions fan knows,wide receiver Calvin Johnson had a record breaking season last year. Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s record for most receiving yards in a single season. Johnson recorded 122 receptions, 1,964 yards, and 5 touchdowns. That being said, it is expected for Calvin to have tight coverage. With Johnson being double and triple covered, quarterback Mathew Stafford needs to work around that and trust his other receivers. This year, things are looking good with his options.
Nate Burleson is a reliable option as long as he can stay healthy and make more appearances than last year. Last season, Burleson only played in 6 games, and finished the season with only 27 receptions, 240 yards, and 2 touchdowns. In 2011, Burleson finished the year with 73 receptions, 757 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Despite his 2012 season, Burleson has proved to gain some yards after the catch in previous seasons.
Another option that the Lions have been introduced to is Ryan Broyles. Broyles only played in 10 games in 2012, recording 22 receptions, he finished the season with 310 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hopefully he will be a bigger threat this year to take some pressure off of Johnson and increase his stats a little to prove he can be trusted to go up and snatch a ball when he is needed most.
Kris Durham is another wide receiver trying to become a factor with the Lions. His 6-6, 216 pound body is believed to be an advantage. Only playing in 4 games in 2012, Durham finished up last season with 8 receptions, 125 yards, and 1 touchdown. Being the tallest receiver on the Lions roster, this years training camp he has been trying to prove he can be a redzone threat. He caught two great back to back touchdowns this training camp over cornerback Domonique Johnson. “With my height and my size, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get up and get some balls,” he said. He will definitely make the number 4 or 5 receiver spot.
Even though Reggie Bush isn’t a wide receiver, he is still a huge receiving option. Bush has great hands and he is also fast. When he makes a catch, he is a threat to take it to the endzone. In 2012, Bush played with the Miami Dolphins. He played in all 16 games, and ended the year with 35 receptions, 292 yards, and 2 touchdowns. With Bush’s skill and athleticism, it takes needed pressure off of Johnson and Stafford. I believe Reggie Bush will be a huge factor for this offense if he holds onto the ball.
Tight end Brandon Pettigrew struggled last year with holding onto the ball with 8 drops and 4 fumbles. In 2012, he played 14 games and finished with 59 receptions, 567 yards, and 3 touchdowns. He has potential to be a top tight end if his stats improve and holds onto the ball. That’s exactly what Brandon Pettigrew has been working on this training camp.