MIKE O'HARA

O'Hara's Final Thoughts: Titus Young's future in Detroit remains unknown

Posted Dec 2, 2012

While the receivers were getting ready to play a game, Titus Young was nowhere to be seen.

Sunday morning scene:It’s two hours before kickoff for the Lions-Colts game at Ford Field, and Calvin Johnson, the NFL’s best receiver, is running routes with the rest of the Lions’ receivers.

That is nothing new. Johnson goes out early before every game to catch passes from Matthew Stafford. That’s part of what makes Johnson so great.

While the receivers were getting ready to play a game, Titus Young was nowhere to be seen. He was made inactive for the second straight game because of past behavior issues, and his status with his teammates took a nosedive for the worse when center Dominic Raiola unleashed a scathing rebuke of him in the locker room on Friday.

The Lions have four games left after Sunday, and Young’s future is unknown. Based on recent events, it doesn’t appear that he has one in Detroit.

With Young out, rookie Ryan Broyles starts again opposite Johnson. But will another receiver step up and make a play – like Mike Thomas did in the last game, with a touchdown catch against Houston?

Backus back: After missing his first game ever as a Lion against Houston on Thanksgiving Day, Jeff Backus was set to start at left tackle against the Colts. Rookie Riley Reiff played left tackle against the Texans and had a solid game.

Backus missed the Houston game with a  hamstring injury. It was not a surprise that Backus would reclaim his starting job, when healthy.

With the five starters intact, Reiff gets 20-20 snaps in a package that uses six offensive linemen. It has been effective in the run game and pass protection.

The right side: It wasn’t especially noteworthy that Texans lineman J.J. Watt started the Thanksgiving Day by sacking Stafford on the first play. Watt is one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers. He beat Gosder Cherilus with an inside move and was on top of Stafford before he completed his backpedal into the pocket.

What was more noteworthy was how few sacks Cherilus has allowed this season. Coach Jim Schwartz said it was only the second sack Cherilus has allowed in 11 games, and it might have been the first time Cherilus was beaten cleanly in a man-to-man situation.

“I think he’s had another one in there, but Gosder’s played very consistent this year,” Schwartz said. “Gos has been very, very good for us this year. He’s played the most consistent ball of his NFL career.”

Safety help: Louis Delmas is the inspirational leader of the defense, and having him back at free safety is a bonus. It will be only the second time this season that Delmas has started consecutive games.

Delmas missed the first four games while recovering from knee surgery, started the next three, and sat out three more before starting on Thanksgiving Day.

With Delmas at free safety, Ricardo Silva is starting at strong safety in place of Erik Coleman. That combination gives the Lions the most range of any safety combination on the roster.