In the history of bright NFL ideas, a frustrated second-year receiver intentionally lining up in the wrong spot — repeatedly — ranks somewhere between “rehiring Art Shell” and “giving David Boston $47 million.”
Alas, that’s what Titus Young apparently did in Week 11. It was bad enough when we thought Young was accidentally — again, repeatedly — putting himself in the wrong position.
But to do so intentionally?
It’s the kind of misguided, crazed and Costanza-esque self-deluded protest that could only make sense inside the mind of a very petulant and very short-sighted young man.
What Young was hoping to accomplish, nobody knows. What he did accomplish was torpedoing the final drive of a winnable division game the Lions went on to lose, and knocking himself out of the lineup.
Although coach Jim Schwartz said Tuesday that Young may only “potentially” return this season, it appears he'll play in Week 13. However, he’ll do so as no better than the No. 3 receiver, and likely No. 4. If Young was hoping the Lions would have a “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” moment in his absence on Thanksgiving, what he got instead was “you don’t know what you’ve got until you bench the other guy’s sorry you-know-what and give the new dude a try.”
Ryan Broyles didn’t just hold his own in Young’s absence, he excelled. Not that it should be all that surprising. Broyles is the NCAA’s all-time receptions leader. That alone, of course, isn’t indicative of skill. But it tells you he certainly knows his way around a route or two, and can get separation.
Lord knows he’ll get plenty of routes in a Lions offense that throws the ball more than any other in the league. Broyles is going to get targets down the stretch, and if his track record is any indication, he’s going to catch them.
Young? He’ll get looks, too. Only they’ll be of mistrust. From his coaches, teammates, fans etc. You’re allowed to do a lot of things in sports. Whine, raise hell off the field, say stupid things to the media. But if there’s one thing you can never ever, ever do, it’s intentionally compromise your team’s chances in a wins-and-losses business.
Young did so, and it’s earned him a spot deep inside the “real-life” doghouse, and on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues.
While the Lions were “regaining” Young on Wednesday, they were losing Mikel Leshoure. He was absent from practice with an ankle injury. The severity is unclear. You can thank Jim Schwartz’s Soviet Russia-style injury policy for that.
What we do know is that Leshoure missed the overtime period of Detroit’s Thanksgiving loss. That, coupled with the fact that he wasn’t able to practice coming off a long weekend doesn’t bode well for his Week 13 status.
However, in a small glimmer of hope, the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky says he talked to Leshoure on Tuesday, and he said he was “fine.”
If Leshoure isn’t “fine,” the Lions will be left with only passing-down backs Joique Bell and Kevin Smith. While that would be great news for Matthew Stafford owners, it would be bad news for the Lions’ chances in a must-win game.
For now, owners should play things safe and assume Leshoure won’t suit up for the final week of the fantasy regular season. Bell would be a much stronger flex play than Smith in Leshoure’s absence.
Harvin-binger For Week 13?
Percy Harvin is one tough sucker, but he’s also only human. Out since suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 9, Harvin got in his first practice of any kind on Wednesday, but sounded like the dictionary definition of “limited.”
Per ESPN 1500’s Tom Pelissero, Harvin "looked himself going straightline,” but was limping badly coming in and out of his breaks. That can hardly be considered a surprise, as cutting is always the hardest thing to do coming off a serious ankle injury.
If Harvin’s history is any indication, he’ll do everything in his power to suit up against the Packers. However, it’s quite possible this week is just a warmup for a more realistic Week 14 return. Regardless, it’s now looking like owners can at least count on having their WR1 back for the fantasy playoffs.
Fine Day For Forte
Matt Forte? He’s doing just fine. At least in the words of coach Lovie Smith. Just three days after going down against the Vikings with an ankle injury, Forte participated in Bears practice, getting in a limited session.
It’s evidence that, 1. He’s avoided a high-ankle sprain. 2. He’ll probably play against the Seahawks.
Although we’ll likely be in for a bigger than usual dose of Michael Bush, you can count on Forte suiting up in Week 13. That is, provided he doesn’t wake up this morning with any unusual swelling or soreness.
49ers Starting Quarterback Quick Slants: It’s Colin Kaepernick. Surprise!
Quarterback/Pass Catcher Quick Slants: Greg Jennings (groin) is full-go for Week 13. Although he’ll likely be limited as he’s eased back in, he can be immediately slotted in as a moderate-risk, high-reward WR3. … Antonio Brown (ankle) is practicing in full. His fantasy status will depend wholly on who’s under center for the Steelers. … Which brings us to Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben got in a limited session on Wednesday, but it remains unclear which way the wind is blowing. An early guess? He won’t play against the Ravens. At the very least, that’s the prudent assumption for fantasy owners. … Miles Austin (hip, hamstring) held true to his word and “did something” in Wednesday’s practice, getting in a limited session. He’s 50-50 for Sunday. … Neither Michael Vick (concussion) nor LeSean McCoy (concussion) practiced Wednesday, and both are looking unlikely for Sunday. … Kyle Rudolph missed practice with a shoulder injury.
Running Back Quick Slants: Darren McFadden (ankle) returned to practice, getting in a limited session. Prepare for another episode of “As the McFadden Turns” this afternoon. … The same is true with DeMarco Murray (foot), who was also limited in his Wednesday return. How he responds today will be critical. … Jonathan Stewart (ankle) didn’t practice. … Time to rev the Rashad Jennings bus back up. … La'Rod Stephens-Howling (ribs) was surprisingly absent from the injury report.
Bizarre/Ultimately Meaningless Stats Of The Week: Cecil Shorts is averaging the second most yards per catch in the NFL, and has more receiving yards than Stevie Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace and Larry Fitzgerald, among others. … All it took for Justin Blackmon to move ahead of Hakeem Nicks on the yards leaderboard was Chad Henne, apparently. … James Jones has two catches over his past two games. Now Greg Jennings is coming back. … Among the pass catchers Danario Alexander has blown by in recent weeks are Kenny Britt and Kyle Rudolph. … Randy Moss still has fewer yards than Santonio Holmes. … Ray Rice is averaging 0.9 less yards per carry than Frank Gore. … Matthew Stafford’s longest completion this season is 57 yards. Kirk Cousins’ is 77. … Tom Brady has as many rushing touchdowns as Jamaal Charles and Matt Forte.