NEWS

Offseason Move No. 7 - Lions Trade for TE Tony Scheffler

Posted Jul 7, 2010

The offseason move voted as No. 7 by the fans is the trade for tight end Tony Scheffler.

Scheffler, known for his receiving ability, had a tough transition from his role under Denver’s previous head coach, Mike Shanahan, to the current head coach, Josh McDaniels.

"I hope (I can do) some of the same stuff in Detroit that I was able to do with Coach Shanahan," said Scheffler. "I kind of got away from it last year in Coach McDaniels’ new scheme out there in Denver. But I love to catch the ball and stretch the field.”

He was happy for a fresh start in Detroit and the ability to move close to his hometown of Chelsea, Michigan.

“It’s been great,” said Scheffler of his first impressions of the Lions. “A great group of guys that just want to win. I think everybody’s out here working hard. It feels good to come back home and be a part of a great organization that really does want to win.”

Scheffler’s first three seasons were spent in Shanahan’s system and he put up solid numbers each year. After an 18-reception season his rookie year, he had 49 in 2007 and 40 in 2008, finishing with 549 and 645 receiving yards, respectively.

He also had 12 touchdowns over that span.

“I was not expecting the Scheffler trade,” said quarterback Matthew Stafford. “When that happened, it was obviously a lot of fun for me to get another guy like that that can run and catch the ball like he can.”

The three-way trade also came as a surprise to Lions fans due to the fact that it dealt linebacker Ernie Sims to Philadelphia.

But the rationale behind the move was giving Detroit another option for Stafford that would force defenses to stay back in addition to drawing attention away from players like wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

“You can get a lot more single coverage when you add guys like Nate (Burleson) and Bryant (Johnson) and all these receivers that we have,” said Johnson.

“Then the tight ends we brought in like Tony and Will (Heller) – when everybody’s doing their (job) it makes it a lot easier on everybody else.”

Stafford showed he could get the ball out quick throughout his rookie season, finding outlets in tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who had 26 catches with Stafford under center, and running back Kevin Smith, who had 41.

“He’s a great guy and a heck of a quarterback,” said Scheffler of Stafford. “It’s really something to be a part of a team with a young quarterback with a live arm and a great feel for the game. I was able to play with Jay Cutler in Denver and came up with him – there are a lot of similarities.

“You can tell when a quarterback has command of the huddle, the respect of the guys and Matthew definitely has that here.”

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