The Detroit Lions have seen injury impact them plenty the last two years, but rarely have they seen a player rebound faster than wideout DJ Chark.
Midseason, Chark was looking like a player the Lions could let walk easily in free agency. From then to now, however, his resurgence has been impossible to miss within Detroit’s top ranked offense.
After a fantastic December, Chark has gotten himself back on radars across the league. Very quietly, the numbers are excellent for both Chark and the Lions. The team’s PR account recently showed how good Chark has been over the month, and he’s easily a top three receiver in the league during that span.
“Among all NFL players in December, Lions WR DJ Chark was: t-1st in games w/90+ rec. yds. (3). 2nd in rec. avg. (19.9). t-5th in 25+ yd. receptions (4). Among all NFL players with 25+ catches this season, he is t-3rd in rec. 1st down % (80.0). 4th in rec. avg. (17.3),” the site tweeted.
It’s looked for a few weeks as if Chark could be making a major case to stick with the Lions, and these numbers only serve to help prove why that should be the case. Seeing his ability to stand out in multiple important categories is significant to Detroit.
There have been few receivers better than Chark overall in the league during this stretch of games in December. Oftentimes, it’s not about how a player starts but rather how they finish.
For this reason, the Lions have to consider bringing Chark back into the fold for the 2023 year.
DJ Chark Coming Into His Own With Big Games
Perhaps the best example of what Chark can bring to the team came during a Week 13 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chark’s former team.
Chark would finish with 98 yards on the game, and achieve a measure of revenge against his former team the Jacksonville Jaguars. All day long, he was a dependable receiver for the Lions, and made the kind of plays the Lions had been hoping for with the deep ball.
From there, Chark has gone on to have a few more other fantastic games. He posted a 94 yard, one-touchdown game against Minnesota. Then, he collected a 108-yard performance against Carolina in Week 16 with a few fantastic catches.
Detroit’s offense has explosive potential when Chark is going well. He was only signed to a one-year deal last offseason, but with these big games right after re-appearing on Thanksgiving with a score, the pass-catcher could be coming alive at the right time to earn himself another look in Detroit in 2023.
Lions Should Consider Keeping DJ Chark
The biggest question Brad Holmes will have to answer regarding Chark this offseason revolves around who the real player might be.
Is Chark the injury-prone guy who started the season by dropping a few passes, then getting dinged up and having to be shelved? Or is he the guy who has surged down the stretch and looked like a major piece within Detroit’s offense?
There’s something to be said for comfort, and Chark seems to fit in well with the Lions roster as well as Jared Goff. It’s more than possible the injury problems to start the year were simply a fluke, and bad luck for a Detroit team that’s had more than its fair share this season.
When he is on, Chark seems like an easy 80-100 yard pass catcher most weeks. That’s big production for a Detroit offense that has needed some of the deep ball jolts he has been able to provide. Since he’s come back, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of big plays Detroit’s offense generates.
Chark may not be the sexiest name on the market this year, but he already fits Detroit and knows the scheme. As Holmes has done in the past, he should simply bet on Chark again for 2023.