Schroeder the odd man out?

Bill Schroeder

It was generally felt that once the smoke cleared, third-year receiver Scotty Anderson would be the odd man out of the Lions receiver rotation. Bill Schroeder, however, may find himself in that very position. Lions' insider Mike Fowler evaluates the Lions' receiving core, including Schroeder.

(ALLEN PARK) - It was generally felt that once the smoke cleared, third-year receiver Scotty Anderson would be the odd man out of the Lions receiver rotation.

Detroit moved agressively to re-stock the position, drafting second overall they selected all-American Charles Rogers to be their No. 1 guy. A year earlier they signed unrestricted free agent Az-Zahir Hakim, who has been plagued by injuries including a serious hip injury. They lost their most reliable wide receiver, veteran Johnnie Morton to Kansas City and signed Green Bay receiver Bill Schroder, two moves that were heavily criticized.

But, maybe there are second thoughts.

While Anderson hasn't set the world on fire, he's competed and played well in spots. Rookies Rogers and David Kircus show plenty of promise for the future. Az-Zahir Hakim had arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday, but is expected back in time to be a solid No. 2 receiver next to Rogers. Shawn Jefferson has been sure handed if seldom open, and Schroeder, well, has been Schroeder. The dropped passes have continued to plague the veteran at least as often as the occasional flashes of brilliance he displays.

Schroeder has breakaway speed and the ability to make catches in the seams, but that didn't prevent him from becoming 'persona-non-grata' in Green Bay after a not so private falling it out with Hall-of-Famer in waiting Brett Favre.

Favre was ticked that on several occasions Schroeder had pulled up on catchable balls, leading directly to interceptions and then exhibited one of the biggest faults a receiver can ever display on the football field, "alligator arms."

That term is used to describe when a receiver who, rather than take a hit to catch a ball with outstretched arms, instead pulls his arms back into his body to protect himself and lets the football whiz on by. Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman admitted that he saw what Favre saw, and that Schroeder would be evaluated. Schroeder was released at the end of the season.

Lions fans saw this behavior first hand by Schroeder in last year's opening day pasting by the Miami Dolphins. Then head coach Marty Mornhinweg blasted the veteran after a zero catch performance when he pulled up at least twice on catchable balls.

"It's obvious he pulled up," Mornhinweg said about Schroeder. "There's no question about that, and it won't happen again. I'm not going to talk about specific plays and neither should the player. Quite frankly, we had a little discussion about that. The very best thing to do when you screw something up, the first thing you have to do is admit you're wrong -- No. 1 -- and then move on. Get it corrected and move on."

But despite the public dressing down, the receiver continued to pull up on balls on an off-an-on basis all season. That is the frustrating thing about this very talented player. Schroeder is virtually unguardable in practice, but is far less productive on game day when the hits are live..and hard.

Fans were all over the veteran last season when he dropped catchable balls, and pulled up on others, something he repeated in last week's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

At age 32, Detroit may have just had enough of Schroeder's ups and down, especially if a few reliable receivers appear on the waiver wire next week.

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