In the Detroit Lions’ never-ending search for someone to assist Calvin Johnson in the passing game, the front office continues to overlook a glaring weakness has plagued the team's "not-so-good hands" receiving corps.
The Lions need a reliable threat at tight end.
It's painfully apparent that Captain Potential, Brandon Pettigrew, is not the answer. Detroiters know all too well that, at times, the shaky-hand behemoth couldn't catch a cold in the dead of winter.
Sometimes it's tough to determine which is more egregious—his inability to consistently catch the football or the mental mistakes and costly penalties he is prone to making. The clip below is a classic two-for-one example of how he can compound his mishaps in a not-so-funny comedy of errors.
In fact, the 6'5", 265-pound Pettigrew would be better served putting on an extra 25 pounds and sliding on down the offensive line using his quick feet to block for Matthew Stafford, et al.
The fact that Stafford's safety outlet is on pace for 78 catches is more a function of being force fed the football and doesn't reflect how many dropped passes he's had. He's also had three fumbles, befuddling given his size and strength. Moreover, Pettigrew is on pace to get into the end zone exactly two times for the season (he has one touchdown in eight games).
The bottom line is the Lions need better tight end play and Pettigrew is not the answer.
Detroit's other tight end, Tony Scheffler, may be a better receiving option (21 TDs and more than 2,800 yards for his career), but seems to be having trouble getting open and into the end zone. The 6'5", 250-pounder is on pace for a 36-reception, zero-touchdown season—which would be a shame because his end zone dances are awesome.
I mean, you have to root for a guy who imitates a flash mob dance when he scores. But it's been a while since anyone has seen any of Scheff's swashbuckling moves.
The solution, I would argue, would be to pick up the phone and call ex-Hurricane and retired amateur stunt motorcycle rider, Kellen Winslow, who is a free agent right now following his requested release from the New England Patriots earlier this year.
If the 29-year-old son of a Hall of Fame TE can come close to his 1,106-yard, five-touchdown season in 2007, defenses would be hard pressed to stop Detroit's pass-happy offense.
It's true, the throughout Winslow's nine-year NFL career, he has had injury and attitude issues with Cleveland, Tampa Bay and New England, but he is worth the gamble if he can provide a viable option when Megatron is merely mortal.
The bottom line is the Lions need somebody to be a reliable receiver as the tight end position is the weakest link in an already weak receiving corps.