In a season filled with more disappointment than enjoyment for the Detroit Lions, wide receiver Kenny Golladay has stood out as one of the few bright spots for this team all season.
Sunday against Green Bay, Golladay has a chance to put a real capper on a terrific third season in the NFL. The former third-round pick out of Northern Illinois leads the team in receptions (62), yards (1,118) and touchdowns (11). His 11 touchdown grabs are currently the most in the NFL.
Golladay is the third alternate for the Pro Bowl at wide receiver in the NFC, and he's solidified himself as one of the bright, young pass catchers in the game with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
With 82 receiving yards on Sunday vs. Green Bay, Golladay will join Calvin Johnson and Herman Moore as the only players in franchise history to reach 1,200 receiving yards with at least 10 touchdowns in a single season. He'll join Johnson as the only players to accomplish the feat in their first three seasons in the NFL.
And yet Golladay thinks this is only the beginning.
"This is only the beginning, really," he said in front of his locker Thursday. "You know, still growing. I feel like I'm still getting better. I'm getting more and more confident each and every game and I feel good."
Despite a monster season, one where Golladay produced despite having three different starting quarterbacks, he believes he's on a path to continue to grow as a player and be even better moving forward.
"You can never just stop working and paying attention to your body," Golladay said. "And also just the mental standpoint. You have to make sure your head is together as well. It is a long season, tough season, it takes a toll on your body and your mind. But those two work hand in hand and just staying on top of that."
Golladay is entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2020. He's a likely candidate to start talking long term.
"We haven't talked about it," Golladay said of future contract talks with the organization. "I'm sure we will the next few months or so. Everything will work itself out. I'm very grateful to be here. (Detroit) definitely took a shot on me and that would be a good way to repay them."
WAGNER BACK AT PRACTICE
Starting right tackle Rick Wagner returned to practice Thursday in limited fashion. He's been battling a knee injury that's kept him out of the last two games. Wagner left Detroit's Week 14 loss in Minnesota and hasn't played since.
Second-year tackle Tyrell Crosby has started in Wagner's place the last two weeks with mixed results.
We'll see Friday what Wagner's status for Sunday is, but the Lions could use all hands on deck Sunday against a Packers' defense that ranks in the top half of the league in sacks (40).
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019.
Speaking of the Packer pass rush ...
Za'Darius Smith recorded 3.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, five quarterback hits and a season-high eight quarterback pressures in Green Bay's Monday night victory over the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Smith now has 13.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss on the year.
Preston Smith, who plays the other edge for the Packers, has 12.0 sacks and 11 tackles for loss on the year.
Smith & Smith have quickly become one of the best pass-rush duos in the NFL, and the Lions will have their hands full with the pair Sunday. The duo combined for 2.5 sacks and three tackles for loss in the first matchup with Detroit Week 6.