The 2013 Detroit Lions should have a shot to surprise their critics in a big way, if all goes according to plan. Bringing in Reggie Bush to add another exciting dimension to the offense was one of the offseason’s biggest moves and extending quarterback Matthew Stafford has to give him an extra bode of confidence going into this year.
It helps that the team has the best wide receiver in the game right now, Calvin Johnson. Of course he will be the focal point offensively, but Bush along with guys like Ryan Broyles and Brandon Pettigrew will absolutely get their chances.
Going into training camp, the Lions will specifically need to see more out of Pettigrew. Throughout his career, Pettigrew hasn’t lived up to the expectations Detroit had for him when they drafted the 6’5” tight end out of Oklahoma State. Out of his four seasons, he’s had two relatively solid years going over the 700 yard receiving mark, but last year was especially mediocre.
The size and speed that Pettigrew brings to the position should give him an advantage over fellow tight end Tony Scheffler, but it has seemed to me that Scheffler has been the more sure-handed option at times. I am in no way suggesting that Scheffler is a better player — that is absolutely not the case. I am, however, looking at Scheffler as putting in a bit more effort on a play-by-play basis.
Over their careers, Scheffler has had a much bigger yards per catch average than Pettigrew — 12.5 versus 9.9. That tells me that Scheffler has to be putting more effort into his game on a daily, weekly and yearly basis, thus extending plays further than they may have gone had he not made the extra move.
Many people had huge expectations for Pettigrew coming into the league, but so far he hasn’t quite gotten there. The play of Stafford should determine part of the outcome in 2013 for his tight end, but during training camp Pettigrew will need to show up more focused than ever.
This may sound like a bunch of generic mumbo-jumbo, but if I’m a Lions fan I am sincerely hoping that Pettigrew can kick it up a notch this season and it will begin with his attitude and work ethic this summer.
Showing the coaches that he can perform consistently and at a high level in training camp is where it’s going to have to start. He’s got quite a bit of talent all-around, but gearing up for a much-anticipated season in Detroit is his priority right now. Camp will be a big-time teller if Pettigrew has what it takes to take it to the next level or if he will continue at this pace.