Jones, Williams Will Lead Martz's New "Show"

The first time the Lions hit the field for their public training camp session will be the first time the fans will get to see the Detroit version of "The Show" the new offense being installed by offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

ALLEN PARK - The first time the Lions hit the field for their public training camp session will be the first time the fans will get to see the Detroit version of "The Show", the new offense being installed by offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

Make no mistake, you will be excited.

While Martz plays no favorites and uses the players that produce, early on it is apparent that two players have risen to the forefront and are likely to stay there: wide receiver Roy Williams and running back Kevin Jones.

Williams has taken to Martz's offense like a duck takes to water, so much so, that the two seem enamored with each other to a fault. Williams told me after a minicamp session that he was in awe of Martz. "I'm like, where did you get these guys from," Williams said he asked general manager Matt Millen. Williams used the word, "unstoppable" when he talked about the offense.

When asked if he thought Williams was special, Martz smiled and said, "I do. Roy's one of those guys that it doesn't take very long to be around him to see (he's special). If you've watched practice out here at all it's not hard to figure that one out. I think he could be very effective.

The third-year wideout from Texas has separated himself so much from the pack that he is the clear and away #1 receiver and will likely play the role that Isaac Bruce played in St. Louis as the split end who runs the deep out patterns.

Williams grasped the concepts quickly and could be seen speeding through the routes, breaking with precision and grabbing the high tosses he favors from quarterback Jon Kitna, who loves Williams' willingness to go over the middle and make the tough catch. "He doesn't mind exposing himself for a minute" said Kitna.

While Charles Rogers seemed to be catching up to Cory Bradford and Mike Furrey who were slightly ahead of him for one of the other starting receiver positions, it appears only injury can slow down Williams.

Just as impressive knifing through the line of scrimmage, making the cut around the end and especially catching the ball out of the backfield has been Kevin Jones.

Jones looks like a star in waiting, ready to be showcased in an offense that suits his immense talents. And give him credit for putting in the extra work catching the football this offseason. Jones loves the 'work-til-you-drop' philosophy of head coach Rod Marinell. "For me, I've always been that way," said the likeable Jones.

His improvement in catching the ball has been stunning. While he isn't Marshall Faulk-like just yet, he is the kind of durable back who gets better with more touches that Martz desires. Jones is a true bellcow ready to take on 25-35 touches in a game and produce.

"He's done a great job with [catching the ball]. They put him on the JUGS machine, I guess about the last two months, Wilbert (Montgomery) has, and he's very comfortable catching the ball right now. He's really a well-rounded back. In the protections he does a nice job of breaking down and taking guys on, he understands it. There's a lot for him to learn. When you're the premier ballcarrier, you kind of have a role as that, and then you kind of (think) "we'll get somebody else to do those (other) things. We don't do that with him, he has to do it all and he's accepted that very well."

His progress has been so impressive that last year's competition, Artose Pinner who regularly split time with him, appears to be an afterthought and a longshot to even make the squad. Veteran Arlen Harris has supplanted Pinner as the backup and even longtime Lions veteran Cory Schlesinger appears to be an odd-man out as Jones looks to become the next super star back in the line of Billy Sims and Barry Sanders.

Whether any of this translates into more wins for the Honolulu Blue and Silver remains to be seen, but there will be two guys who get to be the focal point of the Lions offense for better or for worse. If they can stay healthy, here's betting on the better part.

 


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