Notebook: WR production, Young to have surgery

Posted Dec 5, 2012

The Lions signed Lance Long, who was with the team in the preseason, and promoted Kris Durham from the practice squad to take the place of Ryan Broyles and Titus Young, who were both put on injured reserve on Tuesday.

When the Lions lost Ryan Broyles to a knee injury early in the first quarter last week, it put a serious ratchet in their game plan.

Outside of Calvin Johnson's 13 receptions and the one catch Broyles made on the play he got hurt on, the only other wide receiver to catch a pass was Mike Thomas, and it was for minus-1 yard.

The Lions signed Lance Long, who was with the team in the preseason, and promoted Kris Durham from the practice squad to take the place of Broyles and Titus Young, who were both put on injured reserve on Tuesday.

The Lions are expected a little more production out of the complimentary receivers this week.

"We expect to operate at full capacity on offense," Schwartz said. "We'll bring Kris Durham up to the active roster. Brought Lance Long in, he made a lot of plays for us in the preseason. Mike Thomas is one more week in the offense and (Brian) Robiskie has been here.

"All those guys have credentials; all those guys can make plays. We have (a) quarterback that can get them the ball. We expect all those guys to play and play well. Last game we played we didn't get very much production out of our wide receivers. I mean Calvin (Johnson) does what he does but we didn't get a whole lot of other contributions. I expect this game we'll even do better than we were last game."

Durham is a big receiver (6-6, 216), with good speed, who averaged more than 20 yards per reception his senior year at Georgia.

"He had some injuries in college and you know it's a great opportunity for guys like that," Schwartz said of Durham. "We've seen (RB) Joique Bell who labored on practice squads for a couple years and was sort of waiting for an opportunity and when he did he made the most of it. And that's what a guy like Kris Durham, Brian Robiskie and possibly even Lance Long, that's what their task is."

Durham said he's just happy for the opportunity.

"I'll bring whatever it is they want me to bring, whether it's special teams, offense, catch 10 balls, catch no balls, block for Calvin, block for the running backs, I don't really care, I want to win," he said.

Durham has played every receiver position for the Lions in practice and on the scout team. He also spent time with Stafford at Georgia and said there are times when Stafford has reverted back to some terminology they used at Georgia to help him understand a route concept or a specific play.

There are a number of plays Stafford has put into the Lions offense from the Georgia playbook, according to Durham, which has also been helpful.

Long has been working out in Macomb over the last 12 weeks trying to stay ready for this opportunity. He caught seven passes for 97 yards in the preseason for the Lions.

"Some of (the offense) is a little new and it's been a little while, so I'm a little rusty," Long said. "But for the most part I know a majority of it."

The Lions ended the Titus Young's tumultuous season Tuesday when they placed the second-year receiver on injured reserve.

Schwartz said Wednesday that Young is likely to have surgery on a knee injury that plagued him all season.

"Yeah, most likely," Schwartz said. "Yes, unless he doesn't show up for it."

It was a telling comment for just how much confidence Schwartz has lost in the talented, yet troubled, receiver.

"Very similar to Jason Fox last year with his knee," Schwartz said. "(It's) something that's been on the radar since the spring and we'll move on without him."

Young has been sent away from the team three times in the last year for disciplinary reasons.

Schwartz was asked if he would stay in contact with Young beyond his rehab.

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there," he replied.

The NFL Network is airing a documentary tonight at 8 p.m. on the football career of Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders and his decision to retire at the height of his career following the 1998 season.

Schwartz has a connection to Sanders and that season. He was a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens, whom the Lions played Week 17, in what ended up being Sanders' last game in the NFL.

"It's one of those weeks that you don't sleep very well the whole week because you lose about ten pounds because there's no scheme that can really stop him," Schwartz said. "I think that it's rare nowadays that guys retire when they're at the top of their game. I think there is something to be said for guys that walk away on their own terms. Jim Brown did it, Barry Sanders did it. It's pretty good company."