Six Points With Troy Walters

Lions wide receiver and returns specialist Troy Walters shared his thoughts on his fellow wide receivers, the outlook for Detroit and more in this exclusive interview.

Ed Thompson:  You're getting ready for your first season with the Lions, what have you seen so far that makes you feel like this is going to be a good fit for you?

Troy Walters:  Number one, Mike Martz's offense is very receiver-friendly. It doesn't matter if you're a big receiver or a small receiver. He's utilized smaller receivers back in St. Louis, so I think I fit in well there. It's an offense where you have to be in the right place at the right time, and that's the type of offenses I've been in with Indianapolis and Arizona.

ET:  Tell us a little more about how he uses smaller wide receivers to the advantage of the offense…

TW:  He probably has the most offensive brilliance that I've ever been around in terms of everything he does. His offense is really a matchup driven offense and he's able to utilize shifts and motions to create the matchups he wants. Usually the smaller guys are in the slot and will be going up against a number three or number four corner which you can take advantage of.

ET:  You adjusted to a new team with Arizona last year and then had to do it again this year with Detroit.  How difficult is that for you personally and professionally to make those kinds of adjustments?

TW:  The longer you've been in the league, the easier it becomes. For a rookie or second-year guy it's a lot tougher, but for me having been in different offenses I've been able to pick up offenses pretty quick. I just try to get the basics and put everything together where it makes sense.  The offense is somewhat similar to what we ran in Arizona.  Mike Martz takes it to another level, but some of the things we do are similar to what we did in Arizona, so that helped me a little bit. You have to sacrifice and take the time when you're not on the field to study the playbook and get in and watch film and really try to understand, because once you understand the offense you're able to go out there and play to the best of your ability.

Troy Walters
Scott Boehm/Getty Images
ET:  You had your best average in punt returns last year since your rookie season.  Is that an area you're going to be able to help the Lions with?

TW:  In order for me to make the team, I'm going to have to produce as a returner as well as a receiver. I think that's where I can add some value is being able to do both. The competition here in Detroit is pretty steep, but I feel like that's an area where I feel I can help the team.

ET:  Obviously the talent at the receiver position is also impressive with Roy Williams, Mike Furrey, and rookie Calvin Johnson…what's your opinion of those three receivers thus far?

TW:  I've been blessed throughout my seven years to be on talented receiving teams -- Minnesota with Cris Carter and Randy Moss and Jake Reed, then in Indianapolis with Reggie Wayne, Brandon Stokley, and Marvin Harrison, and then in Arizona with Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, and Bryant Johnson. So I'm kind of used to being around three great receivers and these are three great receivers.  Roy Williams, he's a Pro Bowler.  Mike Furrey led the NFC in receptions and he's just a great all-around receiver, great route-runner, has great hands, and he understands the offense.  And then Calvin Johnson, he's going to be something special. As a rookie to come in and grasp the offense and do what he does is amazing. He works hard and takes pride in that number two overall pick, and I guarantee he's not going to be one of those disappointments that Detroit has had in the past with their receivers. They brought in Shaun McDonald who's familiar with the offense, so we're probably the deepest receiving corps I've been around.  It's some stiff competition and that brings out the best in all of us.

ET:  There's some buzz that the Lions have the capability of being a much better team this year.  Are you getting that sense of confidence in the locker room?

TW:  Definitely.  It's not what they had last year, but they said they changed the culture. They got rid of some guys who really didn't buy into it and anytime you're going into the second year with a new coach you really understand his philosophy and the way he does things. This is the second year in Mike Martz's offense, so I think offensively we'll be better than we were last year because everyone will be more familiar with the offense. That's exciting, but potential is only potential. You still have to go out there and click on the field. At Arizona last year we had potential, but we didn't make the plays and weren't smart and so forth. So you still have to make the plays and go out and work hard and execute and then good things will happen. I think everyone around here in the locker room is looking forward to this year and really changing things around and putting Detroit back on the map.


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