Is Detroit Lions WR Titus Young Ready to Break Out Despite Offseason Troubles?
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Titus Young picked the wrong year to go upside Louis Delmas' head.
Not that there was a right time for that, mind you, but scuffles happen in practice and OTAs. Most of the time it's barely a blip on the radar., but this year, the Lions are dealing with a season full of personal foul discipline issues and an offseason full of legal discipline issues.
Because of that, Young's cheap shot in practice is getting thrown into "discipline issues" with DUIs and drug use.
That's not fair, but that's how it is when your football team produces more legal-related news than football-related news.
In a roundabout way, that might work to the Lions' advantage in the long run, though. While everybody wants to talk about Young as a part of the Lions' offseason woes, he is quietly putting together an excellent offseason on the field.
Young was an inconsistent performer last season for the Lions, but he finished with a respectable rookie line of 607 receiving yards and six touchdowns, good for seventh and fourth among rookie wide receivers, respectively.
That's not bad, especially for a third wide receiver—but the Lions didn't draft Young to be a third wide receiver. They drafted him to stretch the field opposite Calvin Johnson and make big plays based on mismatches with the opponent's second cornerback.
With the kind of offseason he's having, it's easy to see Young stepping up to become a key component in the offense and take over the second receiver position.
Especially considering the second receiver from last year is willing to help him get there.
What should we expect from Titus Young in 2012?
Despite the fact that Young is effectively gunning for his job, Nate Burleson is playing the role of mentor to the young receiver.
Young's only real roadblock to becoming a top-end receiver is refining his route-running and separation ability, so having a veteran teach these things to him personally is only going to help him get there that much faster.
So it seems the stars are aligning for Young this season to have a big year, but he has to keep himself under control long enough to see it. I know you're brushing this off right now, because hey, I just said the practice scuffle was no big deal, right?
That's true, but this isn't the first instance of Young throwing an ill-advised punch, even in his last 12 months. He was also part of a stupid penalty party against the New Orleans Saints, effectively killing a drive by reaching in front of a ref to go upside the head of a Saints defender.
In fact, while his troubles have never been terribly severe or legal, Young has always been a bit of a problem child. He seems to have the classic "me first" mentality.
Considering he shares a locker room with two of the most unselfish receivers in the NFL, maybe he would do well to learn some of that while he's polishing his route-running.
If he does, the Lions could have their first pair of 1,000-yard receivers since the days of Herman Moore and Johnnie Morton.
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