Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford was without star wideout Calvin Johnson last week against the Green Bay Packers, and the results were predictably poor for the Lions offense. However, there is one good takeaway from a bad loss, and that’s Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew. After being mostly a non-factor through the first three games, Pettigrew has seen his role increase in the past two weeks due to injuries to Nate Burleson and Johnson, and he has certainly made the most of it. After hauling in seven passes for 54 yards in a good chain-moving performance against the Chicago Bears in Week 4, Brandon Pettigrew followed that up with another solid performance against a rival team with four receptions for 59 yards, including a huge play in third down to turn nothing into 25 yards.
Pettigrew’s performances haven’t been lost on Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan or Matthew Stafford. Linehan said, via MLive.com’s Kyle Meinke, “I really think (Brandon) Pettigrew has stepped up and been a real solid contributor for us. Matt (Stafford) has done a really nice job of leaning on him some too. As we move forward, I think it will help us over the long run of having these guys with bigger roles.”
A bigger role? Pettigrew does deserve that, as he’s caught just about everything thrown his way over these past couple of weeks. Again, that hasn’t been lost on Stafford, and I found it interesting that Linehan stated that Stafford has been “leaning on” Pettigrew. That statement is actually supported by this quote from Stafford, and Pettigrew is indeed a great safety valve option in the middle of the field for the Lions franchise QB.
“Pettigrew is the guy that I have the ultimate trust in. He’s a guy that came in with me. We were drafted together. He was a guy that was a focal point for me early on in my career, especially just anytime you got a great tight end as a young quarterback he can be your best friend.”
“We see the work that he puts in week in and week out, no matter what his role is in the offense. He’s ready for anything. The last two weeks have proved that. He’s a guy that has been asked to do more. He’s making plays for us.”
That’s some very high praise right there.