LIONS INSIDER

Durham's size brings another dimension to Lions' offense

Posted Dec 11, 2012

With Nate Burleson out with a broken leg, Ryan Broyles’ season over with an ACL injury and Titus Young on injured reserve with knee troubles, the Lions gave second-year receiver Kris Durham an opportunity Sunday in Green Bay.

The NFL is all about making the most of opportunities. When injuries come up – and they always will – the players who make the most of their opportunities in those situations will find themselves with steady work.

With Nate Burleson out with a broken leg, Ryan Broyles’ season over with an ACL injury and Titus Young on injured reserve with knee troubles, the Lions gave second-year receiver Kris Durham an opportunity Sunday in Green Bay.

A fourth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2011, Durham played three games and finished the season on injured reserve after shoulder surgery. The Seahawks cut him after training camp and he was signed to the Lions' practice squad Sept. 2.

When all the injuries and discipline issues hit their receiving corps, the Lions signed Durham from the practice squad to the active roster last week and he made his first start Sunday, finishing with four catches and 54 yards on nine targets.

"First time out, did a really nice job,” Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of Durham. “He's been around, has a little synergy with Matt (Stafford). He was able to make a couple plays. We left some out there, but for his first go, I was pretty happy.”

Durham will have three more chances to make himself part of the Lions' plans for 2013. He has good size (6-5, 216) and ran in the 4.4-seconds range in the 40-yard dash at the combine.

“He brings another dimension with size,” Linehan said. “I know he builds speed so that the more he can extend a play, the faster he is. That's not uncommon for tall receivers.

“The other guys in our offense prior to him had other dimensions, but the one thing that he has that's exceptional is he's on the plus side of 6-5. He can make plays up in the air. I think the one play he made, the one-handed catch, is just kind of our first taste of some things I think he can do.

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"Obviously it's his first game in a uniform for us and we're just scratching the surface. He had asked me where the (X position receivers) warmed up for pregame warmup ... he had never been to pregame starting. I gave him credit for being able to go out and produce knowing he didn't have a big background.”

Durham played 78 snaps Sunday – only Calvin Johnson played more (81) from the receiver position – but Durham admitted after the game he left too many plays on the field.

“When you play with a guy like (Johnson) the coverage is always going to role his way,” Durham said. “I was just blessed to get a lot of opportunities and I came down with a few. There are still some that I left out there that I should have made.”

If Durham can corral a few more of those passes he let slip away Sunday over the next three weeks, he could put himself in a position to help a team looking for an outside receiver to pair opposite Johnson.