The Detroit Lions will be without one of Matthew Stafford's most trusted and tenured targets on Sunday when they take on the New York Giants, as tight end Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) was officially ruled out on Friday.
"The contingency is to have the next two guys ready to go," Detroit offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "Joe [Fauria]'s been in the system all year. Dorin [Dickerson] has done a really nice job of picking up what we're doing. We've done extra tackle stuff before, so that's not new to us."
Fauria will likely assume the starting role in place of Pettigrew and already has seven touchdowns on the season. But the issue for Detroit isn't necessarily the production through the air, but their lack of experience and lack of success in both pass protection and run blocking. To counter that, there's a chance the Lions could go with offensive lineman Dylan Gandy in blocking situations.
In addition to Pettigrew, the Lions will also likely be without cornerback Darius Slay, who is listed as doubtful with a knee injury.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee), cornerbacks Chris Houston (toe) and Rashean Mathis (illness) are all listed as questionable.
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