The saying implies that you can't really make any conclusions regarding the production of the upcoming season because of training camp, and for the most part, it's true. The players weren't living in pads, they were running through pretty basic plays in full-team time, and for the most part, the intensity level was completely different than an average NFL Sunday.
It's training camp.
All that being said, though, camp is not as meaningless to the public as one would think. Here are my thoughts and revelations:
Matthew Stafford is Better Than Kellen Moore
Before you go on to whatever you're going to be doing next, let me explain...
Of course the quarterback picked No. 1 overall in the NFL draft is going to be much better than the one who wasn't even selected, so what's the point of stating something so obvious?
As obvious as the statement is, I found it incredibly profound when watching both players. The difference between a franchise quarterback and a backup is staggering.
It was amazing to watch the zip Stafford throws the ball with. It was always in a perfect spiral. For a football fan, there could not be a more beautiful sight—and this was just watching him play catch. In team action, he was able to almost effortlessly toss 20-yard outs from the opposite hash on a line. It was incredible.
Meanwhile, Moore's balls were flopping in the air, and he had nowhere near the strength or poise that Stafford possessed. That's to be expected from an undrafted rookie quarterback, but it's worth pointing out for a few reasons.
Detroit—you finally have the guy, so appreciate him while he's here.
There are multiple teams in the NFL that don't have a quarterback who can carry their franchise, and for a long while, the Lions were amongst that group. Those days are gone, and you can tell that Stafford makes all the difference with this team.
It still remains to be seen if he can produce like a superstar on a consistent basis, but let's take a moment to recognize the difference between him and a guy like Moore and how much of a difference that makes for the Lions.
Suh Looks Fit
There's little doubt in my mind that the Lions' defensive success is predicated on Ndamukong Suh having a much better season. He needs to make a lot more tackles and get after the quarterback more effectively in 2012. He also needs to be more disciplined.
He's been talking the right talk this offseason, and he impressed me with how good he looked at training camp—physically.
He seemed to be slimmed down a bit, and perhaps, a little more toned, but he's still the same imposing figure, which is scary to think about.
We'll have to wait and see if that impacts his on-field performance and in which way. Either way, his first impression of 2012 with me was a good one.
Megatron is Unfair
You already know this one if you watched Calvin Johnson at all in 2011. I'm just reiterating it.
It's almost as if the Lions have an unfair advantage with how good he is, and he definitely stands out as a superstar, even in camp. He makes tough catches look easy and impossible catches look possible.
He's fun to watch.
The NFL is King
The very fact that you can get people to wake up early on a Saturday morning to watch a practice in the middle of summer goes to show you just how popular the NFL really is.
Football is in the air and we're craving the NFL like the addicts we are, and it's awesome.
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