Posts tagged with “matthew stafford”

Pettigrew’s Value

Sunday, 8 August, 2010

The past two seasons have been rough for the Detroit Lions, to say the least. After going winless in 2008, the Lions only won two games in 2009, which was franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford’s rookie year. Even though the team’s recent record has put them at the bottom of the NFL hierarchy, there is no shortage of talent in Detroit, and second-year tight end Brandon Pettigrew will be a big part when the team turns it around.

One of the best gifts a team can give a young quarterback is a big target who can be a reliable receiver over the middle of the field. Stafford has that in Pettigrew, who caught 30 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games in his rookie year before tearing his ACL late in the season. Before his injury, Pettigrew had some big games, catching seven balls for 70 yards and a touchdown in a week nine loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and six catches for 72 yards and a score in a thrilling 38-37 win over the Cleveland Browns in week 11. Reports indicate that Pettigrew has started practicing again, and is working his way back to full participation.

If he can stay healthy and move past the ACL injury, he can have a big sophomore season. With superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson being the focal point for defenders, and Nate Burleson joining the Lions after catching 63 passes for 812 yards with three touchdowns for the Seahawks last year, Pettigrew should get plenty of looks. If rookie running back Jahvid Best has a productive season, the Lions could boast a dangerous assortment of weapons. The Lions did also add tight end Tony Scheffler from the Denver Broncos, who is a solid tight end, and will take away some looks from Pettigrew, but the Lions should give Pettigrew a good amount of opportunities to produce.

Both Pettigrew and Stafford were rookies last year, and they will struggle and grow together. Being at the same stages in their careers should call for good chemistry between the two as they mature, which will result in Pettigrew being a go-to guy for his quarterback for years to come. At 6’5” and 265 pounds, Pettigrew is big enough to take the hits he’ll receive. His size is especially important when you consider the AFC North defenses he will be going up against. The Packers, Vikings, and Bears all have physical and intimidating defenses, so size on offense is an important advantage.
There’s a lot of work to be done before Pettigrew can become a top NFL tight end, but his numbers will improve along with his team. As Stafford works to develop into a consistent NFL quarterback, and the team finds the leaders who can get them out of their losing years, Pettigrew can assert himself as a threat. It may or may not happen in 2010, but Pettigrew is a player worth keeping an eye on, and can be a smart draft pick if he plays well early this season.