The Detroit Lions’ Brandon Pettigrew was officially ruled out for their upcoming game against the New York Giants due to an ankle injury suffered in the loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. Despite underperforming the entire season for the Lions, Pettigrew is still their third-leading receiver this year with 41 catches. Not only is he their leading tight end, but he is also a big tight end, and Pettigrew was a substantial blocker when was needed on run plays. Yes, that’s right, tight ends still block sometimes. Other players will have to step up against the Giants to fill in the gap left by Pettigrew, but thankfully, there are some worthy candidates.
Both tight end Joe Fauria and newly-added Dorin Dickerson will likely see more action in Sunday’s game against the Giants. Dickerson has seen little action, but has proven he can make catches. Fauria, despite being maybe the worst touchdown dancer in the history of the NFL, nonetheless, makes touchdown catches. In fact, he’s huge in the red zone. He’s reeled in seven touchdowns out of 12 catches. Now, with Pettigrew out and few solid options at third receiver, Fauria will have to contribute more, especially on first downs, where the Lions like to get short-yardage passes to the tight ends.
Losing Pettigrew is not great at the end of the season, but it’s certainly not the end of the world. We’ll see what Fauria and even Dickerson can do against the Giants. Maybe the Lions will find their true tight end of the future? Regardless, whoever steps up needs to do it now, or the Lions will be done.