By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi likes what he has seen so far from Kevin Ogletree, a six-year veteran wide receiver who appears to have established himself as number three at the position as the Lions head into the start of preseason.
Lombardi hesitated to label Ogletree definitively as the number three, but he spoke highly of him.
“I hate saying one, two, three,” Lombardi said – though he conceded that calling superstar Calvin Johnson the number one is an exception to the rule. “I think every player has a skill set, and when you call a play or you’re designing a play for a game plan, what skill set or what tool do I need for this play? I think Kevin shows that he’s got a skill set that can work very well in a large portion of our offense, but there will be times where there’s going to be another guy we’d rather stick there. I think he’s established himself as a guy that certainly has a great chance to be a productive member of our offense.
“He’s a good route runner,” Lombardi said. “If you come up on the line of scrimmage and try to press him one-on-one, he can get a release and get open. That’s an important thing to have. We like that from him.”
After joining the Detroit Lions a quarter of the way through the 2013 season, Ogletree had 13 catches – 10 of which went for first downs. Starting the 2014 season with the considerable benefit of having gone through the offseason with the Lions, Ogletree could have a significant impact for the team this year.
“Tree stepped in and played right away for us – I think we signed him on a Thursday and played a lot on a Sunday against Green Bay last year,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “His role kind of – it was tough to define last year just because of how late we picked him up, but he’s had a great offseason and looking for good things of out him in the preseason.
“He understands what position he’s going to be playing, where he’s going to be lining up, the things that we’re going to try and have him do,” Stafford continued. “Last year he came in and was kind of the spot fill-in for everybody, so I think it’s more defined for him this year, and he’ll be successful because of it.”
The Lions signed Ogletree to a one-year deal back in March.