The Detroit Lions might not have a star-studded wideout group, but they do have a hungry set of players that always try to find ways to prove themselves every time they are on the field.
Detroit’s pass catchers don’t have the biggest stature in the league, but what they do have is an ability to constantly try and make themselves better with growth. Most of the guys in this group are young, and like Kalif Raymond, capable of stepping up more in the future.
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So who does Raymond turn to in order to get that little bit better? Interestingly enough, it’s a teammate. Speaking with the media on Wednesday, September 29 in an interview posted to DetroitLions.com, Raymond admitted that he has a friendly rivalry with Amon-Ra St. Brown in terms of who can catch the most passes after practice on the jugs machine.
While Raymond might be spotted a lot on the practice field working, it was a lesson he was able to learn from a rookie player in St. Brown to help in pushing him.
“To be completely honest, the work ethic as far as how many jugs I catch actually came from Amon-Ra (St. Brown). He told me I caught 200 balls a day which is a lot,” Raymond admitted. “This offseason I challenged him. He caught 202 so I was like ‘alright, I’m going to catch 215.’ Every day I was catching jugs in the back of my head thinking he was going to catch jugs. So it was almost a challenge. ‘How many did you do today? 202, alright I did 203.’ I actually got that from him. Just doing that trying to be consistent. Making it a habit to get a little bit better every day I can. I may not catch 200 balls in practice but maybe I can see 200 balls, so that way when you get the one drop you have 199 reps on top of it getting it right so you can trust yourself.”
As Raymond admitted, the fact that both he and St. Brown are younger players helps in a major way, as does the fact that St. Brown is a major competitor who has a great worth ethic.
“That man, he’s a competitor, man. Not only that, he’s got incredible work ethic. To be honest, he helped me,” Raymond said. “I was around probably the 75 to 100 mark and he tells me he’s catching 200. I’m like ‘you know what, I appreciate that because I was selling myself short.’ Because he had such good habits and work ethic and dedication, he ended up helping me grow.”
Having multiple teammates set the right example is huge for the roster, and something for Lions fans to remember. It’s clear Raymond and St. Brown are a couple players with the right approach, and it could end up benefitting the roster in a big way moving forward.
Raymond Getting More Confident Within Lions’ Offense
Like many players, Detroit’s new offense has been a learning curve for Raymond, but only three games in, the wideout is already feeling things are trending in the right direction, both for himself and the team.
“I think it’s still continuing to grow. I told Dan (Campbell) I’m going to work short, immediate, deep, whatever you guys need from me I’m going to work at it,” he said. “It’s a lot more plays and reps that I’ve been getting, but I am glad I finally get to put the tools I’ve been training to put it out there on the field and see how it works out. It’s growing, every game. It’s a lot like this team. We’re growing, we’re getting better and better and better in an uphill battle. When it clicks, it’s going to snowball.”
Raymond’s last game with the Lions was his best game as a professional given he put up 68 yards receiving and managed to shake loose for a big gain late which set up a go-ahead drive for the Lions. As a whole, Raymond has collected 136 yards this season on 11 receptions, which is easily the biggest amount of production he’s seen in his young career.
Obviously, the more work he continues to do off the field in practice and the more comfortable he gets, the bigger plays he might be able to deliver for the team in the long run.
Raymond’s Career Stats and Highlights
The Lions added an intriguing player in Raymond this offseason and someone who can impact the game multiple ways. Raymond hasn’t had a major impact on the offense given his 369 yards and 19 career receptions. Raymond does have 1,549 yards in the return game, and though he was an undrafted free agent out of Holy Cross in 2016, he played with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, Giants and then Titans once again.
Raymond should figure to get his first crack at the receiving job, and given the fact that he has shown 4.3 speed as well as explosion as a deep threat, the chances of him making an impact could be great for the team in year one with the Lions.
Here’s a look at some of his best plays so far:
Clearly, Raymond has not scratched the surface with what he can do for the Lions, but the hope is he can continue to work hard and deliver for the team. So far, that hasn’t been a problem.