Jeremy Ross wants to be more than just the return man

Posted Jun 11, 2014

So far this offseason, wide receiver Jeremy Ross has been getting an increased number of reps in the slot, even some with the first-team offense.

Jeremy Ross became one of the best return men in the NFL for the Detroit Lions the second half of the season last year, averaging 29.3 yards per kickoff return and 15.5 yards per punt return, including a touchdown doing both.

Jeremy RossWR Jeremy Ross (Photo: Detroit Lions)

Ross doesn’t want to just be a return man for the Lions, however. He wants much more.

The Lions have a new offensive coordinator and a new scheme and Joe Lombardi has already said publicly he’s been impressed with Ross – the receiver – so far this offseason.

Ross has just eight career touches on offense (six receptions and two rushes), but seven of those came last season after the Lions promoted him from the practice squad.

So far this offseason, Ross has been getting an increased number of reps in the slot, even some with the first-team offense.

“There is a role for him, there’s no question about that because he’s catching the ball well,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of Ross. “You saw him there a couple times (Tuesday). He can run with it, obviously, when he gets it in his hands. He makes good decisions, so it’s a good, competitive situation.”

Ross, like a number of Lions players on both sides of the football, is benefiting from a new coaching staff. There were no preconceived notions on players’ abilities from the new staff. Everyone was afforded a fresh start, and Ross is taking advantage.

“They don’t really know too much about anybody here beside Calvin (Johnson) and Golden (Tate),” Ross said. “So it gives me an opportunity to really show what I can do.”

Teammates have certainly taken notice this offseason.

“Ross has been great out there,” said fellow receiver Calvin Johnson. “He’s having a great offseason. He’s catching everything. He’s smart. He knows what to do. He’s in the right place at the right time.”

Ross seems to have both the punt and return duties on lockdown for this upcoming season. He has good size (6-0, 215) for the slot and terrific run-after-the-catch ability.

“He’s athletic and this guy wants to be good,” Caldwell said. “He has infectious enthusiasm. He had it then (when the two were together in Indianapolis in 2011) and has it now.

“He’s always got a big smile on his face and is ready to go to work. His body has changed. He’s matured since the last time we saw him several years back. I think you’re going to see that kind of maturity continue to develop within him. I think he’s going to be a real fine player one day.”