Allen Park — For the first time in his NFL career, tight end Tim Wright was inactive Sunday.
In 2013, he played all 16 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and last year with the New England Patriots, he appeared in every game, too. Yet, in Week 1 with the Lions, Wright was among the seven players who did not dress for the game as they went with Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew as their only two tight end options.
In Week 2, though, Wright could play a big role as Pettigrew is dealing with a hamstring injury. Pettigrew missed practice Wednesday, which makes his availability for Sunday’s matchup at the Minnesota Vikings uncertain.
Wright said he’s not sure exactly sure why he was inactive, but he trusts the Lions’ coaches. He doesn’t know if being with the Lions for just a couple of weeks played a role in the decision, but thinks he’s done well to learn the scheme since being traded to Detroit by the Buccaneers on Aug. 31.
“I feel like I’m picking it up,” he said. “Now that my role may be picked up a little more, whatever they throw at me, I’ve just got to digest it and apply it to the game.”
When the Lions traded for Wright, it seemed like his most likely role would be as a red-zone threat because of the presence of Ebron and Pettigrew, but he said he’s been working on every aspect of the tight end playbook in practice.
If Pettigrew misses the game, the Lions likely will use a sixth offensive lineman as a blocker at times because Ebron and Wright aren’t stellar blockers. But the Lions rotate all of their skill position players, so Wright certainly would have some opportunities.
As a rookie in Tampa Bay, he had 54 catches for 571 yards and five touchdowns, and last year he had 26 catches for 259 yards and six touchdowns for the Patriots. Not playing Sunday wasn’t a completely foreign feeling, though.
“I redshirted freshman year in college (at Rutgers), so it kind of felt like that a little bit,” he said. “But it was cool, though, just seeing how the culture of the team was on a real game day.”
TheMMQB.com has a story about Wright’s early NFL experience this week. He’s been traded twice and played for five different offensive coordinators in two-plus seasons.
The writer, Robert Klemko, discussed Wright’s story in last week’s Lions Lowdown podcast.