With all the focus in Detroit on the running game,Kenny Golladay‘s potential to back up his breakout campaign with another big season is getting lost in the murk.
TheLionsreceiver is coming off a 70-catch, 1,063-yard, 5-TD breakout season in 2018. The 25-year-old has his sights set on more in 2019.
“I for sure, like any receiver would say, I can be a 100-catch guy,” Golladay said,via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “But I’m not just going to demand the ball every play just so I can get 100 catches. I’m going to do whatever I need to do to help the team.”
A third-round pick in 2017, Golladay has developed intoMatthew Stafford‘s go-to target. The 6-foot-4 wideout possesses the size, speed, athleticism, ball-tracking ability and hands to win against all defenses. In 2018, Golladay generated a 56.7 percent contested-catch rate, per Pro Football Focus, tied for fifth among receivers with at least 20 such targets withMichael Thomas— who just signed a massive contract.
Golladay believes he’s just scratching the surface.
“The game’s just starting to come to me a little bit better,” he said. “First year, bugged by the injuries, and second year it was a lot better but still started off a little shaky last year but I feel like I picked it up and I just want to keep building on that.”
The talent is there for Golladay to be an explosive playmaker in his third season. The question as we enter preseason is whether there will be the opportunity. TheLionsemphasized they want to run the ball more this season, which will curtail his prospects. Detroit also hasMarvin Jones, who still played well when healthy last season, and slot receiverDanny Amendola. They also draftedT.J. Hockensonand signedJesse Jamesto bolster the tight end post.
Coach Matt Patricia also pointed out that now Golladay will have to beat more coverages designed specifically to slow him down.
“For us it was how do we just get him in good positions,” Patricia said. “We’re kind of running out of different ways to do that, so it becomes even more difficult as we go forward. I think defenses are going to be dialed in to where he’s at work, what’s he doing, what he does well. So that’s going to be a hard (thing this year) where he’s going to see coverages that he’s never seen before and that’ll be a big challenge for him from that standpoint.”
Golladay owns the talent to be a 100-catch player. Whether he reaches those figures will depend on a myriad of factors out of his control.