Big games from his skill position compatriots can explain much of the downturn in production for Lions receiver Kenny Golladay over the last two games.
Without the team’s leading receiver going forward, though, the emerging second-year threat should have a chance to validate his early season hype.
With Golden Tate off to Philadelphia in a trade-deadline deal Tuesday, Golladay will need to be more of a focal point for an offense — and team — hoping to find consistency in a roller-coaster season.
Golladay has 30 catches and 477 yards through seven games, but has three catches on three targets for 49 yards in the last two. He had averaged 5.4 receptions and 85.6 yards per game through the first five.
“I know it’s boring because I say it about seven different times a year, but in reality, we’re going out to play the game,” Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said Tuesday in a conference call a couple hours before the Tate trade was announced. “We’re going to throw it to who’s open, we’re going to throw it to certain one-on-one matchups if the defense dictates that.
“Kenny’s still playing good football.”
So have other Lions, though, as running back Kerryon Johnson rushed for 158 yards in the Oct. 21 win in Miami. Then last weekend, Marvin Jones had seven catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-14 loss to Seattle.
“There’s just a different attention that gets put on players throughout the course of a season,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said before the trade was announced.
“He’s one of our best players. He’s going to see a lot of coverages and gonna get some different attention based on game plan.”
Miami and Seattle gave more premium attention to Golladay in the form of cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Shaquill Griffin.
“We’ve just got to keep working to just keep growing and developing him as a player, and us an offense,” Patricia said. “It’s probably a little bit of a combination of everything.”
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.