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By targets, Burleson third option in Lions' passing game

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Posted Nov. 19, 2011 @ 10:59 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

The one constant in the Lions' passing game is WR Calvin Johnson, who is going to get his targets and receptions on a weekly basis, and rightfully so. Thereafter, TE Brandon Pettigrew will also get plenty of opportunities, too; he's the second-most targeted player on the club behind Johnson. Both players are on pace to be targeted more than a season ago. Nate Burleson, the other starting wideout, provides a solid possession target for QB Matthew Stafford. In an interview with PFW this week, Johnson said Burleson was "savvy" and noted his run-after-the-catch ability. Through nine games, Burleson, the third-most targeted player on the club like a season ago, was on pace to be targeted just slightly less per game than he was a season ago, but he's had 16 passes thrown his way in the last two games. Asked about Burleson's production and whether it was down from a season ago, head coach Jim Schwartz told reporters this week that the Lions had to make "good decisions" on whom to emphasize in the offense, based on what the defense was doing. Said Schwartz: "That's the most important thing, to score points and, you know, move the football. And if we're doing those things, whether somebody has one catch or 10 catches really doesn't matter."

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