Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Rising/Falling: Detroit Lions Week 4
By Michael Rothstein
Here’s a weekly look at who or what might be rising or falling with the Detroit Lions each week.
WR Ryan Broyles: The receiver stays on this list for the second straight week after seeing playing time against Washington on Sunday for the first time this season, catching three passes for 34 yards. With Nate Burleson breaking his forearm in a Tuesday morning car wreck, Broyles will now be leaned on to have even more of a role and more value to the Lions, who will need a consistent third target behind Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush.
TEs Joseph Fauria and Tony Scheffler: The other benefactors of Burleson’s injury are going to be the two tight ends currently splitting snaps behind Brandon Pettigrew. Both have decent-to-good size and speed and the ability to catch the ball. Fauria is especially intriguing here because at 6-foot-7 he becomes a large target both in the red zone and perhaps the middle of the field for quarterback Matthew Stafford.
DE Devin Taylor: The rookie defensive end has only been active for one game, but when Jason Jones was put on injured reserve, his role became extremely important. He has extreme athleticism and understands what it is like playing on the same line as an unquestioned star. Last season, he was the defensive end opposite Jadeveon Clowney. Now, he’s on the same line as Ndamukong Suh. Watch for him to see some time on an otherwise stacked defensive line.
WR Nate Burleson: The 11-year veteran is on this list for obvious reasons. He is out for a while after breaking his forearm in a most bizarre way -- getting into a car crash while trying to save a sliding pizza box from his seat. The injury also disrupts what had been a strong start to the season for him. He was leading Detroit in receptions (19) and was coming off a 116-yard game against Washington -- his best as a Lion. Now, he’s on the bench for a while.
CB Darius Slay: This is Slay’s second straight appearance here and it is mostly because he ended up getting benched Sunday against Washington. Still maintain he is going to be a really good cornerback one day, but he played zero defensive snaps against the Redskins. Not a good sign for his immediate future.
RB Mikel Leshoure: It just doesn’t look good for the former Illinois running back receiving any playing time in the near future. He was active for the first time Sunday against Washington when Bush was injured and he didn’t play a snap. Joique Bell was the featured back, Theo Riddick spelled him and Leshoure -- who has handled his lack of playing time well publicly -- still didn’t play. Barring major injuries or upheaval, it is just tough to see him finding any role in the Lions offense.