(ALLEN PARK, MI) -- Almost lost amid the hoopla over Joey Harrington's fine preseason performance Saturday evening against the Cleveland Browns was this statistic:
S. Anderson: 5 catches, 59 yards receiving, average 11.8, long 32 yards, 1 TD.
This is the kind of productivity that the Detroit Lions thought they would get out of second-year pro Scotty Anderson when they drafted him in the fifth round out of Grambling State University last year.
After all, Anderson had broken nearly every receiving record in school history and had finished his collegiate career with 195 receptions for 3,334 yards and 35 touchdowns -- easily eclipsing the marks of former Bengals' standout Trumaine Johnson.
Anderson had shown good speed and great hands, but if there was a question mark, it was that he had done it against Division I-AA competition, albeit a school with a pedigree as great at Grambling State.
So when Anderson struggled much of last year, there were quiet whispers of, "I told you so." Anderson caught just 12 balls, despite starting four games and playing in nine total. Yes, there were flashes, like the 69 yard bomb that Anderson caught in the Lions first win of the season against Minnesota, but even Anderson felt he could do more.
"I don't want to come in and just play OK," said Anderson. "Everytime I get a chance I want to make it happen.
"Last year was a learning year -- a rookie year -- but that's gone. It's my second year, [that's] usually the break out year so I have to come out and just play."
Anderson wasn't happy with his play against the Ravens during the Lions first pre-season contest, and was very candid about his need to improve.
"I didn't want to come out of the game, and on some plays I should have put forth more effort," said Anderson. "But other than that it was OK. I looked at the film, and it shouldn't be that way, so it should be better next week."
Does Anderson feel that with two inexperienced quarterbacks on top of the depth chart that he has to be more of a leader, especially in route running and putting himself in position to make more plays? "They're ready," said Anderson. "It's just a matter of time. That's what the pre-season is for is to get ready and work on the things were not 100% at. We've got two young guns and Ty [Detmer] watching over them. I just feel like they're ready."
Anderson, though, is adamant about his contribution to the team. He is determined to play a bigger role in the wide receiving corps production despite the presence of Germane Crowell, and newcomers Bill Schroeder and Az-Zahir Hakim.
"I just want to help the team every chance I get so that we can put some "W's" on the board."