Allen Park — In his short time with the Lions, wide receiver Kevin Ogletree hasn’t done much to draw attention to himself.
Last season, Ogletree played four games with the Buccaneers before being cut. The Lions acquired him and he played the final 12 games, registering 13 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown.
But during training camp this season, Ogletree has raised some eyebrows, getting most of his reps with the first team alongside receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate and tight ends Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew.
“(He’s) quick, resourceful, really has a good understanding of the position and works at it,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “(He’s) quiet, hardly says a word. I really like what we’ve seen from him. He’s been catching the ball consistently.”
In five seasons, Ogletree has started just four games. But with a new staff, he has a clean slate and has a new opportunity to make an impression.
For Ogletree, the key has been relaxing and not putting too much pressure on himself to perform.
“Training camp is where you draw that positive energy and attention,” he said. “Every time you’re in there, just leave an impression, be noticed on film. No matter what group you’re running with, you want to be noticed in a positive light.”
He started his career with the Cowboys, playing four years and totaling 57 catches for 730 yards and four touchdowns playing alongside players like Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten.
It’s a similar construction to the current Lions offense, with good young talent at each of the skill positions.
“For the most part, people are still going to pay some attention to Calvin,” Caldwell said. “He’s one of those guys that draws a lot of attention. Other guys can certainly help us solve a little bit of that problem because Golden on the other side as well as some inside presence.
“We also have our tight-end corps is a great presence on the inside. I think it’ll be a factor.”
With all that attention focused on the other receivers, Ogletree could be poised to have a breakout year, but he noted there isn’t any extra pressure internally to produce beyond last year.
“It’s not anything other than the normal pressure,” he said. “We’re the offense; we’re supposed to apply the pressure on the defense.”
He’s also looking to take advantage of the chance he’s getting by spending more time mastering the plays and ensuring he’s living up to the expectations Caldwell and the staff are placing on him.
“It would be selfish of me not to bury myself in the playbook and the task at hand,” Ogletree said. “I’m just staying focused. It’s going to be very competitive and the type of environment I like to thrive in.”