Kenny Golladay feels like he’s starting over again, even at such an early stage in his career with the Detroit Lions.
Golladay is on a steep upward trend going into his third season. Behind him already is a promising rookie year in 2017 and a quantum leap in 2018 when he showed he had the potential to be at No.1 wide receiver.
Gollalday’s goal for his development in 2019 seems modest and encouraging at the same time.
“Pretty much picking up where I left off – point blank,” Golladay said Tuesday. “I don’t want to become complacent.”
Golladay didn’t show any signs of being satisfied last season. In 15 games, he led the Lions in receptions (70) and receiving yards (1,063), with five touchdowns and an average of 15.2 yards per catch.
It was a significant improvement over what Golladay had accomplished as a rookie, but not altogether surprising.
As a largely unheralded third-round draft pick out of Northern Illinois, Golladay gave flashes of what was to come in a season shortened by injuries to 11 games: 28 catches, 477 yards, 17.0 yards per catch and three TDs.
What he’s done in his first two seasons has made for a nice start to Golladay’s career, with a realistic projection that he could be the Lions’ lead receiver.
A process of elimination forced him into that role last year. Golden Tate was traded after seven games, and Marvin Jones Jr. went out for the season with a knee injury in the ninth game.
Golladay had 31 catches in his last six games. He did not play the final game at Green Bay because of an injury.
“I knew I was going to get more time without Golden and Marvin,” Golladay said. “At the same time, we had guys who were making plays in those games.”
There’s a new learning curve for everybody on offense this year with a change in offensive coordinators. Darrell Bevell has taken over with the departure of Jim Bob Cooter.
They’ve barely started the learning process because of NFL rules governing offseason workouts. The Lions are limited to conditioning drills in Phase One of the program.
They can be on the field with coaches in a limited capacity beginning next week in the Phase Two period that covers the next three weeks.
Golladay hasn’t had any in-depth discussions with Bevell because of the rules restrictions, but those are coming.
“It’s going to be a learning process for everyone,” Golladay said. “That goes for anybody on the offensive side of the ball – just like the defense had to do last year (with a coordinator change). Everyone on the offensive side is going to have to do the exact same thing.
“I don’t even know all the plays. I don’t know where he sees me at right now. We’ve met maybe once or twice. It was good – happy to be with each other and help this team win.”
At 6-4 and 213 pounds, Golladay has had success as a big-play receiver because of his strength and ability to win 50-50 balls. He has come down with some balls that looked like they might be interceptions.
About one quarter of his snaps last year were in the slot. That added a dimension to his game, but it increased his preparation time.
“It just took a lot of meetings with Coach Prince (wide receivers coach Robert Prince) – just learning the playbook more,” Golladay said. “Since it’s a new playbook this year, it’s more film room time, more meeting time.
“Just breaking down every position and learning every position so when they do want to move me around to create a matchup, it’ll be easier for me.”