Lions miss Riddick, but won't use it as an excuse

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Theo Riddick has five touchdown receptions this season, all coming in the red zone. In the past three games, one where he was limited and two he missed with a wrist injury, the Detroit Lions have put it in the end zone three times on 12 trips inside the 20.

It’s not fair to say it’s a direct correlation, but the Lions clearly miss Riddick, one of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s favorite weapons. One year after setting the franchise record for receptions by a running back, Riddick is actually averaging more targets and receptions this season.

“He’s a unique talent,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s a guy that obviously is very, very difficult to cover. He makes you think about, when he’s on the field, what you’re going to do with him. ...With that being the case, sometimes they have to look at their game plans a little differently when he’s out there.“





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Beyond the production, the Lions have missed his infectious energy.

“He’s got a great mentality on game day, too,” Stafford said. “When he’s not out there, you can notice it, he’s a guy that loves to play, loves to have a bunch of fun while he’s playing, so I know it’s tough for him in the last couple games.”

Still, don’t expect the Lions to use Riddick’s absence as an excuse for their offensive struggles.

“I don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about what we don’t have because I think that’s a built-in excuse,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “There’s no excuse for us not winning, OK? I want you to understand that first and foremost.

Twitter: @justin_rogers