Hope. Sometimes it’s all we have. So if there’s any justice in this world, Jim Schwartz will continue Titus Young’s punishment next week by putting his name behind Ryan Broyles’ on the Lions’ wide receiver depth chart. We know you’re mad, Jim, especially after losing today on a call that’s so embarrassing it made the simultaneous catch botching look tame by comparison, but leave Broyles out of it.
All he did was come within 14 yards of Calvin Johnson’s total receiving yardage today on two fewer receptions.
Broyles finished with six receptions for 126 yards during Detroit’s 34-31 overtime loss to Houston, impressing with both his speed, and his vision to find open space and navigate around traffic. Three of those catches were of the deep-ball variety, with Broyles hauling in Matthew Stafford passes that ended in receptions of 25, 37, and 40 yards. He had seen only limited action while playing behind Johnson and Young prior to today, but that deep-threat ability had already been showcased, as Broyles had five catches of 20 yards or more despite just 19 targets. Today on 11 targets he started to creep up on his total receiving yardage over his previous five games (181 yards).
Young, meanwhile, has been both a malcontent douche off the field, and far less productive with his targets on the field. While capitalizing on the absence of Johnathan Joseph today, Broyles averaged 11.5 yards per target. Last week, Young turned six targets into just one catch for 24 yards, and after a two-week explosion following Nate Burleson’s season-ending injury (181 yards and two touchdowns between weeks 7 and 8), Young has since descended significantly, with only 79 total yards over the next three games at 4.3 yards per target.
That’s downright miniscule, and it’s a chasm of productivity that should dictate more targets for Broyles next week, whether they come through more deployment in the slot, or simply an increased usage in a time share of some kind with Young. Either way, Broyles’ production will clearly decline from what we saw today due to Young’s presence next week, but at the very least he can maintain highly reliable flex-play status, maybe becoming a sort of Josh Gordon/Chris Givens clone while catching deep balls, and only deep balls.
Whatever works. What matters is how easy it is to make Broyles yours, as he’s currently owned in just 1.3 percent of ESPN leagues, and 21 percent in Yahoo leagues.
Times are still tough out there, guys. Give this man a job.