With question marks at WR, Lions hope Breshad Perriman-Antwaan Randle El reunion pays off
Almost everything about the Detroit Lions receiving corps is a mystery, down to first-year position coach Antwaan Randle El. New coach, new scheme and, for the most part, new players.
The questions extend to the incoming personnel. How will Tyrell Williams bounce back after missing last season with a shoulder injury? How quickly will rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown be able to contribute? And will it ever come together for Breshad Perriman, the former first-round pick who is joining his fifth team in as many seasons?
Randle El, who played nine seasons before joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a low-level offensive assistant two years ago, has no problem taking the glass-half-full approach when assessing the situation.
"I guess the disadvantage would be if you couldn't bring in guys who help you out, but we've done that, in terms of bringing in guys who can not just fill roles but come in and play and be productive," Randle El said. "For me, I would see that as an advantage, because we've been able to do that in terms of bringing guys in.
"The other advantage would be you start from the ground level, in terms of putting in a new offense, for me learning it, and then being able to teach it. Then bring in a guy like Breshad Perriman, who I had in Tampa in 2019. That helps out, because obviously he knows how I teach. That's another guy from off the books, so to speak, where you don't have to learn the ins and outs of how everybody learns."
Randle El's preexisting relationship with Perriman brings a known commodity to the overall pool of uncertainty. And it's worth noting, no one got more out of Perriman than Tampa Bay in 2019, where he caught 36 passes for 645 yards and six touchdowns, all career-high marks.
As Randle El describes it, Perriman just kept showing up that season when the Buccaneers needed a play.
"'We got to find ways to get him the ball because he kept showing up," Randle El said. "Wide open here, wide open there. So that's what we kept doing. And then obviously later in the season, those (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin) went down and he just kept playing well. So it's really about figuring out ways to get him the ball.
"One of the biggest attributes is his speed. Then his speed and height together, him being able to go up and get the ball, and then being able to keep the defender on one side and catch the ball on the other side, he's proven he can do that down the field. So with that vertical threat and his speed, it certainly helps him."