For better and worse, Calvin Johnson dominates the discussion of Detroit wideouts. Megatron has battled a knee injury which clearly inhibited his play in a couple of games and caused him to miss the Green Bay game.
Even at less than 100 percent, he's still one of the most dynamic players in the NFL today. The catch over triple coverage in the Cincinnati game is one of the highlights of the season. He finished the first half of the season with the 329-yard gem against Dallas, the second-most receiving yards in a game in NFL history.
This has not been his best season, but Johnson is still playing at a level to which few can reasonably aspire. Without him, this offense is lost.
Unfortunately, the rest of the cast has struggled to match Johnson. Losing Nate Burelson to the broken arm has produced ripple effects which the offense has really struggled to overcome. Burleson was off to a fantastic start, with 19 receptions on 23 targets in the first three games.
Kris Durham has stepped up his play and at least looks like a viable NFL wide receiver, but he's in over his head trying to fill the Burleson role. I consistently note his excellent run-blocking, an attribute which has improved across the board for this unit.
Ryan Broyles is nothing short of a major disappointment in the slot. He never looked comfortable on his surgically repaired ACLs, and now, according to Lions beat writer Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Broyles is out for the season with an Achilles injury.
Patrick Edwards showed little before he was cut. Kevin Ogletree has played reasonably well in limited duty since being picked up in midseason, and Jeremy Ross looked somewhat promising against Dallas. One of those two will need to step up to replace Broyles.
Overall, the play of the wideouts beyond Burleson and Johnson has been ineffective at best and a real hindrance at worst.