Opportunity knocks for receivers Broyles, Thomas and Robiskie

Posted Nov 20, 2012

Lions trio of young receivers putting in extra work with the expectation of bigger roles this Thursday.

After Monday's walkthrough practice at Allen Park, receivers Mike Thomas, Ryan Broyles and Brian Robiskie stayed after practice and worked with backup quarterback Shaun Hill running routes and getting better acclimated to the offense.

"It's a way to get them caught up and keep myself in it too," Hill said Tuesday of the extra work with the receivers on Monday. "It's a way to get new guys who come in throughout the year to get them reps and get me reps too and teach the offense at the same time."

That extra work for all three of those receivers could pay dividends come Thursday vs. Houston, as all three expect to have bigger roles with Titus Young inactive for disciplinary reasons.

Rookie Ryan Broyles has the most potential to see his numbers increase because he's already built a rapport with quarterback Matthew Stafford having worked with him since the offseason. Broyles has proven to be a reliable weapon over the last month since taking over for Nate Burleson, who broke his leg at Chicago.

Broyles has been thrown to 18 times and has 15 receptions.

"Every time I throw him the ball, he makes a play," Stafford said of Broyles. "Maybe I should throw it to him some more."

Thomas and Robiskie are still trying to catch up. Thomas was acquired via trade with Jacksonville less than three weeks ago and Robiskie was signed as a free agent at the end of October.

"At this point, for me and Robiskie and some of the guys just getting here, the more the better," Thomas said of getting extra reps after practice in preparation for Thursday. "You really can't have enough. As many opportunities as we can have to game plan it in our mind and walk through it in our mind is good for us."

Thomas has yet to catch a pass for the Lions, but that's likely to change Thursday. Stafford said he was good in space and that's where the Lions will try and get him the ball this week. He's worked both inside and outside during his five-year career and thinks there's a lot of opportunities in this offense to make plays given more opportunities.

"With No. 9 (Stafford), the ball can go anywhere and I don't think one position is highly touted over the other," he said.

Robiskie is expected to be active for the first time since the Seattle game Oct. 28.

"It's exciting anytime you have an opportunity to contribute to the team," he said. "The door has been opened and me and Mike and Broyles all want to take that opportunity to help this team get a win and get back on track."

Even when Young was playing, the Lions weren't getting the kind of production they needed on a consistent basis from the No. 2 guys. Calvin Johnson is hopeful the current shakeup will provide them more consistency outside of his production.

"I'm looking forward to Broyles getting a larger role," Johnson told "It's been fun seeing him progress throughout the season coming off his ACL. Being a rookie and having been through that, seeing him come through the growing pains, he's coming on up so it's good to see that.

"Mike (Thomas) has some experience so it will be good on Thursday to get him out there, somebody with some wheels as well as (Brian) Robiskie. Giving him a chance to earn a spot and get some plays. It's going to be fun to play with these guys and be out there leading them along."