Lions: On Brandon Pettigrew's drops

I liked what I heard -- er, read -- from Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew this week. As Tim Twentyman of the Lions' website writes, Pettigrew has pledged to rectify the series of negative plays he made last season.

"I can't put what I did [last year] on anyone else," he said. "I take it upon myself to fix the drops or missed blocks, the plays that weren't made, the fumbles. That's on me and I take it upon myself. It's my problem to fix."

Pettigrew fumbled four times in 2012, losing two of them, and dropped eight passes, according to ESPN Stats & Information. When converted to a percentage via targets, the chart shows that Pettigrew had the third-worst drop percentage among NFL tight ends. In fact, his rate of 8.2 percent was the 10th-worst among all pass-catchers in 2012.

Pettigrew had only fumbled once in his previous three seasons, but I think it's important to remember that drops have been a career-long issue. Drop totals can be subjective, but ESPN Stats & Information had him with six in 118 targets in 2011 and nine drops in 104 targets in 2010.

Overall, Pettigrew's 23 drops over the past three seasons are the third-highest total among NFL pass-catchers over that period. The only players with more are receivers Wes Welker (26) and Brandon Marshall (24). Together, they have been targeted on 300 more passes than Pettigrew.

Meanwhile, his drop percentage over the past three years is 7.2 percent, the fourth-highest in the league.

We all know Pettigrew is a strong blocker, and when he is able to secure the ball, good things usually happen. But drops have without question held him back from being an elite tight end, and it's good to know he realizes it and is doing his best to address the problem.