LIONS INSIDER

Brandon Pettigrew fits into new offensive scheme

Posted Feb 10, 2014

Pettigrew is one of the most versatile tight ends in the NFL as a blocker and receiver

Brandon PettigrewBrandon Pettigrew (AP Images)

Joe Lombardi has brought the New Orleans offense with him to Detroit as its new offensive coordinator.

In the Saints offense, tight end Jimmy Graham has flourished into one of the most elite weapons in the NFL.

Now Graham is a unique talent, obviously, but the tight end position will continue to have a prominent role in Lombardi's offense in Detroit, and it appears free agent Brandon Pettigrew could be in those plans.

Pettigrew, who was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Lions, is an unrestricted free agent in March.

The Lions will have to decide in the coming weeks if they want to invest in him long term, place the franchise tag on him, look to draft a tight end or turn their focus to Joseph Fauria, Michael Williams and the other tight ends on the roster.

"I think it's important to have a guy that can block the point of attack," Lombardi said of the position. "Then you want a guy that can be a pass receiver, so you're always looking for those well-rounded guys.

"But again, I've never been in the mode of (wanting) to find exactly what this player is and then you have to go find him for me. Go find the best player you can."

The Lions already have one of the most versatile tight ends in the NFL in Pettigrew. He's a terrific blocker at the point of attack and has 70- and 80-catch seasons under his belt.

Fauria turned out to be a terrific threat in the red zone for the Lions last season (seven touchdowns) and Williams' biggest asset is his ability to block. Neither player, however, combines both traits into one player as well as Pettigrew, 28.

"You want a guy that's a great blocker and a great receiver, obviously," Lombardi said. "Those guys are rare and hard to find, so you give us good players that can do something well, we're going to find a way to use him."

"What I really learned in New Orleans is it's about personnel. You know, scheme's important, what you do is important, but how you're doing it and who you're doing it with is most important."

"Don't tell me what a player can't do, tell me what he can do. So, when we get our offense together, we're going to find out what these guys do well."

When it comes to Pettigrew, he does a little bit of everything well. There's value in that.