While the revamped Detroit Lions’ offense is projected to be more run-centric in 2019, one insider believes this Motown receiver will have a break out year.
Last offseason, the Detroit Lions made a heavy investment in their running game after finishing the 2017 regular season with the worst rushing attack in the NFL for the second time in three years. That commitment seemed to continue this offseason with the hiring of Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator (OC).
Bevell, who is a former OC for both the Minnesota Vikings (2006–2010) and the Seattle Seahawks (2011–2017), is known for his run-first offensive mentality. Under his scheme, running backs like Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch have had Hall of Fame careers. Now, Bevell appears to be bringing that same run-centric style to the Motor City.
Despite the incoming change of offensive philosophy, this is still a Lions’ passing game that ranked sixth in the NFL just two seasons ago. And despite entering his 11th NFL season, 31-year old quarterback Matthew Stafford is still in his prime. And Bevell would be a fool not to utilize Stafford’s immense talents as well.
Although 2019 first round tight end T.J. Hockenson figures to soak up several of Stafford’s targets this upcoming season, one league insider still believes it will be third-year wide receiver Kenny Golladay that really shines.
"“Golladay had one of the quietest 1,000-yard receiving seasons last year. Golladay has shown improvement year over year, slowly but surely becoming Matthew Stafford’s favorite target. Now, he heads into his third pro season as the team’s top wideout, and I could see him recording 1,200-1,300 receiving yards this fall.”"
A third-round selection out of Northern Illinois in 2017, a hamstring injury hindered Golladay’s rookie season. Still, the statuesque 6-foot-4, 213-pound receiver showed glimpses of brilliance posting two-touchdown performances in both his preseason and regular season debuts.
Last year, Golladay took his game to another level, leading the team in targets (119), receptions (70), receiving yardage (1,063) and tied veteran receiver Marvin Jones for touchdown catches (5). His improved play allowed the Lions to move on from longtime leading receiver Golden Tate, whom Detroit traded to the Philadelphia Eagles midseason in exchange for a 2019 third round selection.
The Detroit Lions figured to be a more balanced team in 2019, with a bigger emphasis on running the football. But opposing defenses also know this and could stack the box in an attempt to stop the run and the budding star that is running back Kerryon Johnson. If so, that could open things up for Detroit’s passing game and it’s Kenny Golladay who could end up posting a Pro Bowl-worthy performance as a result.