Because of their personnel and the attacking philosophy of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, the Detroit Lions' base offense this season will be a two-tight end formation.
One of the keys to that strategy, though, is having two tight ends who can catch and block. Brandon Pettigrew was a first-round draft choice last year because he is capable of doing both. Tony Scheffler, though, has earned his reputation in the league as an excellent receiver, not blocker.
Scheffler, though, knows that he'll have to improve his blocking skills for the Lions' offense to click. The reason is because Linehan wants to dictate the action to the defense. If the opponent is in a nickel defense, Linehan will keep the tight ends on the line and run. If the opponent runs its base defense, Linehan will split one or both tight ends into a slot position and throw.
For that to be effective - and to keep the nickel defense off the field - the Lions need to prove they can effectively run the ball. If they can't run it, the defense will stay in the nickel all the time and eliminate Detroit's matchup advantage.