Why Detroit Lions' Chris Lacy is having a big month at wide receiver
When it comes to a receiver like Chris Lacy, there are the obvious attributes. He’s a big body at 6-feet-3 and 206 pounds.
Then there are the not-so-obvious attributes. Like what he does in practice on the scout team to make the Detroit Lions’ starting defense improve every week during the season.
“Well, ’cause honestly, to tell you the truth, man, he made me a better player,” Lions Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay said Sunday, “because he was on a lot of scout teams (last year) and he was playing the No.1 receiver, I was following him. He works me every day, I work him every day, so my goal was just to know I’m going to push you little man. Like, I want you to be a player for us. And he pushed me.
“He did a great job at it and I guess it’s paying off for him right now real big. It’s paying off for me, had a great year thanks to him and then the scout team, without them I wouldn’t be nothing, and them guys really just be working.”
There’s almost no higher praise that Lacy can receive. He was an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State in 2018 and claimed by the Lions off waivers from the New England Patriots in May 2018. He spent most of last season on the Lions’ practice squad, helping players like Slay improve. He was signed to the active roster Dec. 22 and played in the regular-season finale.
With receivers Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay missing time or being limited this spring and during training camp, Lacy has seen more of a workload. In the preseason opener, after Jermaine Kearse went down early with a broken leg, Lacy got a little more playing time.
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“That’s what I’ve been working for,” Lacy said. “One guys goes down, the next man’s got to be ready to step up.
“I just try to work on being the best player I can be every day. I don’t really focus on pressure. Just trying to be the best teammate I can be.”
Lacy played 33% of the offense snaps against the Patriots, catching the only pass thrown to him for 10 yards.
“I feel like we got some good work,” he said. “It was the first time going against somebody other than our own teammates. So just getting out there and competing.”
On Sunday, he turned in what might have been the catch of the day when he was back out at practice getting in more good work — and letting Slay get in some good work, too.
Lacy made his catch when he lined up against Slay and ran a slant. David Fales threw a quick pass into tight coverage and somehow Lacy came up with the ball and turned upfield.
“He was so lucky,” an exasperated Slay said, “because I tipped it and it hit his hip and he caught it on his hip.”
Lacy couldn’t explain the acrobatic catch any better than Slay, other than to say he tries to maintain consistent effort.
“Every time I’m out there, I’m trying to make plays,” he said. “So whenever I can, I try to make it.”
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Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.