The Detroit Lions are getting what they expected from All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson and mate Nate Burleson, but not much else from the rest of their wideouts.
They're not all that concerned.
"The first two games I had some shots and haven't really hit them yet," quarterback Matthew Stafford said Wednesday. "If those opportunities arrive, hopefully we can hit 'em."
Johnson had eight of Detroit's 19 catches during Sunday's 27-19 loss at San Francisco, while Burleson and Titus Young had just one each. Johnson has 205 yards on 14 catches and Burleson has 80 on his seven, but Young (two catches) is the only other receiver to catch a pass two games into the season. Rookie Ryan Broyles, a second-round pick, was available for the game but did not play.
Burleson said he understands fans want to see more of an aerial attack — Stafford set a team record with 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns last season — but added defenses were paying attention, too.
"That is our strength, but in this league you have to be versatile," he said. "We can't force the pass all the way down the field if teams are playing zone defense on us. A lot of teams aren't going to give us a chance to exploit one-on-one coverage."
Stafford has just two touchdown passes — none to receivers — and four interceptions so far. He assumed responsibility for the offense's slow start Wednesday.
"The biggest thing teams are doing is testing our patience as an offense," he said. "We're trying to be patient and that's something we've got to continue to work on and I have to continue to work on as well — just taking what the defense is giving me and picking and choosing the time to take shots and, when we do take 'em we have to hit 'em."
Sunday's trip to Tennessee could be a tonic for the Lions (No. 13 in the AP Pro32). The Titans (No. 28) have given up 72 points and more than 400 passing yards in a pair of lopsided losses.
Detroit also could get a boost from the addition of running back Mikel Leshoure, who will make his NFL debut after serving a two-game suspension.
"He's a versatile back and he's going to be great for us," Burleson said. "Not just running the ball but catching the ball."
NOTES: CB Drayton Florence underwent surgery Tuesday to repair the broken forearm he suffered at San Francisco. Schwartz said Florence suffered the injury during the third quarter but didn't tell team medical personnel until the end of the game. Schwartz was not sure if the team would place the 10-year veteran, who was signed just before the end of the season to bolster an already injury depleted backfield, on short-term injured reserve. . CB Chris Houston, who's missed the first two games with an ankle injury, said Wednesday he's "definitely" going to be ready to play at Tennessee. . The Lions claimed CB Jerome Murphy off waivers Tuesday. He played the first two games of the season with New Orleans.
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