Lions hoping someone they already have steps up to replace Josh Reynolds

Hope is not a great strategy most of the time, but the Lions are hoping someone steps up to fill the void left by Josh Reynolds.
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After a rough NFC Championship Game performance, and perhaps reading into his words afterward as a sign he didn't care about it (which was not the case), many Detroit Lions' fans easily said goodbye to Josh Reynolds when he signed with the Denver Broncos.

The actual weight of Reynolds' loss can be debated. But there's no denying he was a solid veteran receiver who had chemistry with Jared Goff, and the Lions are hoping someone else can develop that same level of trust with the quarterback. With all the other offensive weapons there are, someone who can take advantage of the matchups Reynolds did feels very important.

According to Fantasy Points, Reynolds was eighth in the league in yards per target against man/single coverage last season (10.86 YPT; minimum of 40 targets). He was actually tied for seventh, with George Pickens apparently getting the edge based on more targets in those situations.

Lions are hoping someone asserts himself to replace Josh Reynolds

Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams are locked in as the Lions' top two wide receivers right now. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Kalif Raymond and second-year man Antoine Green are the top candidates to be the No. 3 receiver right now, and it doesn't seem the Lions are looking at a possible outside addition at all. If someone is added, it feels likely to be a camp body.

At OTAs this past week, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson talked about the impact of losing Reynolds.

"That was eye-opening during the self-scout period, to be honest with you, was he was an explosive play waiting to happen," Johnson said. "A number of his receptions were big plays for us. So something we’ve talked about with this skill group, those opportunities go elsewhere now, and we need guys to step up and rise to the occasion just like he did."

"It might be someone that didn’t have as much production last year, say an Antoine Green or a Peoples-Jones or some of the guys that we had on the scout team," Johnson said. "Or it could be some of the other guys. Maybe it’s another carry for David Montgomery or (Jahmyr) Gibbs or it’s another target for (Sam) LaPorta. It could be — we might have to spread it out that way. So, that’s what we’re trying to find out here this springtime and in training camp is not just who the guys are that we’ll hang our hats on, but also how we distribute those carries and those targets as the season goes."

Reynolds led the Lions, and was top-20 in the league, last year in yards per catch (15.2). His 64 targets were fourth on the team, and his five receiving touchdowns were third on the team. The question over how that production will be fully replaced remains, and it truly won't be answered until the season starts.


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