“All the work that I’ve been putting in, now I can just put it on the field,” said Broyles Friday.
He replaced Burleson at Chicago and recorded his first catch of the season and his first touchdown. He finished with three catches for 51 yards.
The biggest difference for Broyles this week as the Lions prepare for the Seahawks on Sunday is that he’s on the practice field knowing he’ll play and not practicing wondering if he’s going to play.
“It feels a lot better than what I was doing,” he said. “I came in every day and prepared like I was a starter and didn’t get my number called that much, but I still had to make every play count
“You have to (practice that way) because you never know when a guy is going to go out. About Week 4 they started putting me in and taking guys out when they needed a break, so I had to be prepared.”
Broyles is 11 months removed from ACL surgery and says the injury is completely behind him. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said the same thing Tuesday in his press conference.
“I think after the bye week we never really even consider him an injured guy anymore,” Schwartz said. “We haven’t limited his practice time. He very rarely even wears a sleeve out on his knee at practice. We just view him as one of the other guys.
He’s not just any guy anymore, though. Burleson was the team’s second-leading receiver and it’s now Broyles' turn to prove why the Lions took him in the second round of the draft this April.
Broyles was easily the most debated of all the Lions’ seven draft picks by fans and pundits alike. Some wondered why the Lions took a receiver so high in the draft already having
Schwartz said after the fact that the Lions took Broyles with the belief that he didn't have to contribute as much this season. That's no longer a luxury.
It makes Broyles the poster boy for the way Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and head coach Jim Schwartz approach the draft. Their philosophy is, and has always been, to take the best players available, because you can never have enough talent at any one position.
Broyles will get a chance to prove their philosophy right over the next 10 games.
“I think pretty much Broyles is going to play inside but we will use Calvin inside, we’ll use Scheffler,” Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of Broyles’ role moving forward. “Really Broyles and Scheffler are in the same position, might use their strengths more, what they do better. So you’ll see that. Maybe some Titus in the slot some.
“That’s what you’ve got to do, you’ve just got to pick up the slack. We talked about this week when we knew that Nate was going to be out that everybody had to pick up pieces of what Nate did for us including intangible things for us to move forward.”