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Inside the Numbers: Refuting Titus Young’s Odd Theory That He Never Saw the Ball in Detroit

January 24th, 2013 at 10:48 AM
By Max DeMara

Yesterday, Titus Young took to Twitter, breaking his elongated silence since being exiled from the Detroit Lions in late November for bad behavior.

"Like I said I never been selfish but if I'm not going to get the football I don't want to play anymore," Young tweeted yesterday, for some reason doing his best Keyshawn Johnson impersonation.

Not going to get the football? Obviously, like most self-centered wide receivers, Young perceives a lack of targets have been his biggest problem in Detroit. Actually, that's far from the truth. Once again, Young is content to blame everyone but himself for his own shortcomings. Luckily in this case, some decent statistics tell no lies about his production.

In 2011, his rookie season, Young was targeted 84 times, collected 607 receiving yards and scored six touchdowns. The Lions relied on him for big touchdowns in games against Denver, Oakland and Minnesota which helped them score important victories. For a player earning his stripes in the league and paying his dues, those statistical results weren't half bad.

Last season, before his frustrating and random disappearance, Young was likely on pace to either duplicate or surpass his 2011 totals. Through only 10 games played, he was targeted 56 times for 383 yards and four touchdowns. In Young's final two games, he was targeted a grand total of 12 times and scored a touchdown, though the receptions and higher yardage totals were not there. That's a clear sign of a sharp drop off in focus.

During his first two seasons, Young had 140 total targets. In his first two seasons in the league, Calvin Johnson had 246. Between the two, that's only a difference of 106 passes. Young was never brought into Detroit with designs of replicating or duplicating Johnson's production. He's a statistical anomaly. For a growing number two receiver, Young's numbers are just about right.

So clearly, the problems began in Young's head first and then manifested themselves all over the field. He saw the ball, blew opportunities and trust was soon abandoned by the staff due to his issues. Young wanted to be a similar star to Johnson immediately when that was never the plan. Instead of putting his head down and going to work as a number two receiver and valuable member of the offense, Young remained immature and pouted despite the fact he was actually getting the ball as much as he should.

For someone who's allegedly never been selfish, Young's Twitter statement referenced earlier did include four separate mentions of the word "I."

Don't mess with the numbers.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Calvin Johnson, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, NFL, Titus Young

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