LIONS INSIDER

Twentyman: Knee injury and lack of practice time has affected Titus Young's performance

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Young admits that the time away from the practice field – he missed practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday – has affected the chemistry with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

A lingering hamstring injury slowed down Titus Young in the early portion of the his rookie season last year. One year later it has to seem like deja vu for Young, who’s been slowed through the first four games this year with knee soreness.

Young admits that the time away from the practice field – he missed practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday – has affected the chemistry with quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“Not being able to go every single day has probably hindered the connection with me and Matthew,” Young said after practice Thursday. “It’s not as fluent as it normally is, but I feel like everything is a work in progress so I’m going to keep on working.”

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Young’s knee injury has certainly contributed to his slow start.

"Anytime you miss practice time when you're a young player, it's going to impact," he said. "But you have to persevere through it. He's worked very hard in rehab, and there's some days he's able to do more than others.

“But it certainly has had an impact simply because when you're a young player, the sync of the offense and things like that. He'll be a productive player for us. He's worked very hard and we'll get through that.”

Young caught a game-tying, 46-yard Hail Mary at the end of regulation in a Week 3 overtime loss to the Titans, but has just nine catches total for 117 yards and the one touchdown this season.

The Lions had some pretty big plans for Young heading into the season - and still do - expecting him to take advantage of some single-coverage looks playing on the opposite side of the field as Johnson.

That simply hasn’t materialized yet because of the knee problems.

As it stands right now, Johnson (29), tight end Brandon Pettigrew (23), receiver Nate Burleson (22) and running back Joique Bell (12) have more receptions than Young on the season.

"He’s been hampered a little bit,” said Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. “I think as he gets healthier and is able to be out there and work his timing and rhythm that will help.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Titus has a big game here in the near future, though. He’s one of those guys that gets some good matchup and some good looks.”

Stafford has seen those favorable matchups Linehan was talking about through the first quarter of the season and knows how important Young could be to the success of the offense moving forward.

“I think that obviously the more he’s on the field, the more reps we get together, the better we’re going to be together,” Stafford said. “But he has to do what’s best for him to feel good on Sundays and that’s totally understandable.

“But Titus is definitely a guy that during the bye week had a couple good practices. He’s a guy that we understand is getting a lot of the singles and we have to start making teams pay for that.”

Young said the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for him, and his knee.

“It was beneficial physically and mentally,” Young said of the bye. “In my case for the body, being able to be off your feet is always a good thing.”