Throughout training camp, one of the Detroit Lions’ most impressive receivers was Ryan Broyles.
Coming off another devastating injury, Broyles did everything that was asked of him and more in rccovery, and finally looked poised to make the kind of impact a second round pick should make on the field.
Except once the season began, Broyles found himself behind the eight-ball again. Despite an injury to Calvin Johnson that could have helped him see the field consistently, Corey Fuller was getting love as a young option, Jeremy Ross saw passes and Golden Tate became the unquestioned leader of the group.
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As has often been the case in his career, Broyles sat on the sidelines as a scratch.
Thursday, in a radio interview on 97.1-FM, Lions’ coach Jim Caldwell may have finally shed some light on Detroit’s decision making with Broyles most of the year. The reason that Broyles never sees the field according to Caldwell? He plays essentially the same role as Golden Tate.
Never mind that Tate has been one of the most effective weapons the Lions have featured, or that Broyles, when healthy and utilized, looked as if he could be a difference maker for the offense. There’s been no public discussion on if Broyles and Tate could co-exist, just this admittance that position similarity may have led to a decreased role.
If Caldwell and company are going to stick with this line of thinking, they must cut bait with Broyles and deal him while he has value. There’s no question that when healthy, Broyles is an impact player in the making. If the Lions don’t think he can maintain health or value, why are they keeping him around? Tate is one of the more consistently durable players in football, so it’s not as if having Broyles for injury security is a must.
If the Lions don’t think (Broyles) can maintain health or value, why are they keeping him around?
Certainly, someone who’s a body double for Tate should be expected to command some value on the open market.
Earlier this season, Broyles expressed some frustration at his role in Detroit by venting on Twitter. No matter what type of team player he is, a brave face can only be maintained for so long. Broyles has done everything expected of him and been a model citizen only to not receive the benefit of the doubt from the organization. Regardless of any personal opinions on the receiver, that’s tough to watch.
When the season ends, Detroit must decide if they have a role for Broyles and either elevate him or trade him. A constant gray area is unfair for a player who’s worked hard amidst adversity and tried to make an impact when possible. Thursday’s late season admission from Caldwell did nothing to help matters.
Broyles needs a chance somewhere, and the time is rapidly approaching for the powers that be to decide whether or not Detroit is the appropriate place.