The receiving corps of the Detroit Lions took another hit on Sunday, when a torn ACL ended Ryan Broyles’ rookie season. Broyles had been catching on as of late, and looked like he was developing a trust with quarterback Mathew Stafford. This is Broyles second ACL tear and is expected to return to the football field after he recovers, but this leaves the Lions extremely thin at the wide receiver position.
Detroit lost Nate Burleson to a broken leg in Week 7, and the organization has had a falling out with second year receiver Titus Young. Young is said to have been disruptive and detrimental to the progress of his team, and was not allowed to be on the sidelines for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.
This leaves Mike Thomas as the number two receiver out on the field with Calvin Johnson. Thomas, who had one catch for -1 yards against the Colts, was acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars via trade in Week 8 following the Burleson injury. The Lions are in a worse situation then they were back then, and with the trade deadline long past, the options for Detroit are going to be awfully slim.
Two options for the Lions are Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson. Both veterans are currently without a team, and by all accounts have been keeping themselves in shape, hoping for a phone call from a team with a late season need.
Obviously neither receiver would be the first option for the Lions’ coaching staff, but after Broyles went out, they were essentially down to two receivers on the field, and were even forced to line up their return man on several plays. Even with a week of preparation, this severely handicaps a high-powered Detroit offense that depends on designed spacing to limit the double and triple teams put on Calvin Johnson. Without many quality options, T.O. or Johnson might be the way to go.
The two former superstars have gotten a fair dose of humble pie this season. Owens was brought into training camp by the Seattle Seahawks and was cut before the final roster was completed. Johnson had signed with the Miami Dolphins, but a domestic violence charge ended his season before it had even begun. With reality slapping both diva wideouts in the face, it would not be a surprise to see them contribute without making a scene.
Calvin Johnson is going to need help on the field. Tight ends Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew can help to a certain extent, but the Lions need to add depth at wide receiver position. They need players out on the field that can keep defenses honest.
There are four games left this season, and while the playoffs may not be in the cards for the Lions this year, Calvin Johnson could make history by topping the record for most receiving yards in a season, set by Jerry Rice in 1995. Despite this being an individual record, the team should still do what they can to aid their star player in achieving this accomplishment, and the only way to do that is by giving him some help on the field.
As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures, and as crazy as this sounds, the Lions’ best option may be to give one, or maybe even both, of these former Pro Bowl-ers a chance.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.