The Detroit Lions are counting on three players to make up for the loss of receiver Nate Burleson.
Second-year pro Titus Young and rookie Ryan Broyles take a big step up the depth chart at receiver. And tight end Tony Scheffler should get more chances to catch passes from the slot, beginning Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
“Anytime somebody goes down, someone has to step up and I just happen to be the one that has to step up for the team,” Young said Wednesday.
Detroit added depth by signing former Cleveland Browns receiver Brian Robiskie when it placed Burleson on injured reserve with a broken right leg. Burleson is a graduate of O’Dea High School in Seattle and played for the Seahawks from 2006-2009.
Young and Broyles made the most of their opportunities while the Bears focused their efforts on preventing Calvin Johnson from making big plays after Burleson was hurt in the Monday night loss at Chicago.
Young, a former star at Boise State, had six receptions for 81 yards. Broyles made the first three catches of his career for 51 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford.
“Nate means a lot to us and will continue to in the future, but one of the few bright spots coming out of that game was the fact that Titus had a little bit of a breakout game and Broyles got his first catch, got his first touchdown,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. “We’ll spread that around. We’re not just going to plug one guy into Nate’s role. It’s going to be Titus in some ways and Broyles in others. It’s going to be Tony Scheffler in other ones.
“There will be increased opportunity for those guys.”
Robiskie was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars last month. He had 39 receptions for 441 yards and three touchdowns over three seasons in Cleveland. The Browns drafted the 6-foot-4, 212-pound receiver in the second round in 2009.
“Hopefully we can get him up to speed right away,” Schwartz said.
PLAYERS SAY NO TO TAGLIABUE
The players’ union and the four players suspended in the Saints’ bounties case filed motions to have former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue removed from hearing their appeals.
They asked in U.S. District Court in New Orleans that Tagliabue recuse himself because of a conflict of interest and asked for a neutral arbitrator to be appointed by the court. The NFL said it would oppose Tagliabue stepping aside.
The players and their union contend Tagliabue should be disqualified because of his employment by a law firm that has handled bounty-related matters for the league and represented current commissioner Roger Goodell in Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s defamation lawsuit against him.
The hearings are scheduled for next Tuesday, subject to any court rulings.
Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams will serve 30 days under home arrest for driving under the influence but not until after the season. … Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, the team’s leading tackler, was placed on injured reserve because of ligament damage in his right big toe, an injury that will require surgery. The team signed veteran linebacker Ernie Sims to take Lee’s spot on the roster. … The Panthers placed linebacker Jon Beason on injured reserve because of knee and shoulder injuries and claimed cornerback James Dockery off waivers from the Browns. … Browns offensive guard Jason Pinkston has been released from the hospital after being treated for life-threatening blood clots in his lungs. He has been placed on injured reserve. … Officials will be using pink penalty flags for Sunday’s Dolphins-Jets game as part of the NFL’s breast cancer awareness month.
TAMPA BAY (2-4) AT MINNESOTA (5-2)
5:15 P.M., NFL NETWORK
LINE: Vikings by 61/2.
KEY STATS: Minnesota is looking to go 5-0 at home, and Tampa Bay has lost nine in a row on the road. … Tampa Bay has won five in a row against Minnesota. … Minnesota is 1-10 in its past 11 prime-time games.
THE BUZZ: Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, is tied with Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch for third in the NFL in rushing yards with 652. They’re 7 yards behind league leader Arian Foster of Houston and 6 yards behind Alfred Morris of Washington. Tampa Bay’s defense, however, will make Peterson earn his yards. The Buccaneers are third in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (76.0) and first in yards allowed per rush (3.1). If it turns into a passing game, Bucs QB Josh Freeman has been much hotter than the Vikings’ Christian Ponder. In his past two games, Freeman has a passer rating of 119.0, throwing for 748 yards and six touchdowns, with one interception. Ponder passed for just 58 yards on Sunday against Arizona, was intercepted twice and had a passer rating of 35.5.
THE PICK: Vikings, 23-19McClatchy news services