New running back Reggie Bush is going to help both as a runner and receiver. So would tight end Brandon Pettigrew returning to his 2011 form.
The Lions are hopeful that getting receivers Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson back healthy will make a difference, too.
Burleson is recovering from a broken leg and Broyles a second torn ACL.
Broyles, in particular, has a chance to really fill that void this season. A second-round pick last year, he has an opportunity to be a breakout performer from last year’s draft class. He was just coming into his own with a six-catch, 126-yard performance the prior week to tearing his ACL vs. the Colts.
He seems ahead of schedule in his rehab, already taking part in the team portion of practice in mini-camp.
“I’m not surprised because I see him on a daily basis,” Johnson said Tuesday of Broyles’ recovery. “We see his progression. He’s looking good and moving around good.”
The Lions thought Broyles, who finished his college career with 349 catches for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns, was a steal in the second round of the 2012 draft. If not for the ACL injury, he might have been a first-round pick.
When 100-percent healthy, the Lions are expecting him to make a first-round type of impact this season. And so is Johnson.
“He has a good feel for the slot,” Johnson said. “He has a good feeling on how things are moving in there and he does good in there. He did a lot of that in college and he learns fast. He’s a smart kid and I expect more of that from him when he’s out there.”
That’s good news for both the Lions and Johnson in 2013.
Tags: Calvin Johnson, Ryan Broyles
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 14 Comments »