One of the more important matchups Sunday in Cleveland will be the Lions safeties and linebackers on Browns dynamic tight end Jordan Cameron.
Cameron ranks third among all tight ends with 366 yards on 33 catches and his five touchdowns are second only to Jimmy Graham’s six for New Orleans.
"He might be one of the harder matchups I’ve faced in a long, long time," safety
"He’s knows how to fake an opponent out, with not just speed, but with his head movement. The film don’t lie. He’s got five touchdowns and is the leading scorer for them. This week is definitely a big challenge."
Cleveland offensive coordinator Norv Turner helped make Antonio Gates a Hall of Fame caliber tight end in San Diego and it looks like he’s working on his next protégé in Cameron.
"I think Norv has done a great job and been able to do things in getting Jordan the ball," Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said in a conference call. "I think that he’s really grown as a player. He is understanding the game better and is getting opportunities and he is making plays."
The Lions know they’ll have their hands full with Cameron (6-5, 245), who caught two touchdown passes against them in a preseason game earlier this year.
"The thing about these tight ends these days is they’re so big," safety
"When you hit guys like that, it’s like hitting an offensive lineman, so they don’t fear being hit. They go across the middle of the field and they just want the ball thrown their way because they feel like they can make any catch."
With the start that Cameron has gotten off to, Lions defenders know that his confidence has to be sky high, and it’s their responsibility to keep him in check.
"You have to always know where he’s at and you have to play to your leverage," Quin said. "You have to be physical and you have to go up and attack the ball.
"You also have to recognize the times he has leverage on you and just go make the tackle. He may catch it, and get a first down, but I don’t care. I have to get him down and we can line up and play again."
That might be the biggest key with Cameron. He’s going to get his catches, but limiting the big play from him is key.
"He can catch six or seven passes and have a good day," Quin said. "But in that fourth quarter, you catch an interception on third-and-six and win the game, you had a great day."
BROYLES' INCREASED ROLE IN OFFENSE
Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has always been aiming for a mid-October date when he felt receiver
Well, it’s mid-October.
"This is about the time, this week, is the time we were looking at," Linehan said of Broyles, who's coming off two ACL tears in as many seasons.
"I think he’s ready for a full load now as far as what you want to do as far as bringing a guy back. He is right on track and we have been real happy that he has got this time to progress. Certainly if someone else’s availability isn’t available he will be leaned on a little bit more."
PETTIGREW AND STAFFORD
"It’s just him knowing that I’m going to be where I’m supposed to be when things aren’t going right on the backend," Pettigrew said of his chemistry with Stafford. "I try to be where I’m supposed to be in case everything goes bad and just be there.
"It’s been a building process for us since we’ve been here right after the 0-16 season. It started with just that, being together, and just grinding through the bad years."
Pettigrew has caught 11 Stafford passes over the last two weeks with the Lions dealing with injuries at the receiver position and Stafford has leaned on Pettigrew to make plays more recently.
"Pettigrew is the guy that I have the ultimate trust in," Stafford said Tuesday. "He’s a guy that came in with me. We were drafted together. He was a guy that was a focal point for me early on in my career, especially just anytime you got a great tight end as a young quarterback he can be your best friend.
"He’s ready for anything. The last two weeks have proved that. He’s a guy that has been asked to do more. He’s making plays for us."
GANDY THE RECEIVER?
Speaking of players wanting to make plays.
No fear, though, reserve guard/center
Gandy has played that extra blocker role for the Lions this season and he’s been an eligible receiver at times. Amazingly, he has yet to be targeted.
"I’ve been lobbying for a while to get my role extended," Gandy said. "We’ll see what happens.
"I just think that we’re really neglecting a deep threat in our offense, so we’ll see if they wise up."
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Gandy was then asked the last time he caught a pass.
"Irrelevant," he said.
Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has heard the ploys by Gandy and says he’s taking it under advisement.
"Dylan Gandy says he can catch," Linehan said. "I’ll try that. He snaps the ball good. He holds on to it (laughs).
I’m guessing Fantasy football owners won’t be clamoring to the waiver wire this week to pick Gandy. Just a guess.
-- The Elias Sports Bureau has changed Ziggy Ansah’s sack in Green Bay to a half sack and a half sack for