Okay, Lions fans, I have to confess that I was a goof-off at camp today. Being surprised to see dear old friends and schmoozing players and coaches will do that to me from time to time.
Let’s see if there’s something that you can take away from my “day at the office” that turned into an office party.
It all started when the fans queued up across the street before practice. It was a pleasant morning, with a soothing breeze coming out of the north. I thought it odd that we’d be off premises today until the line started crossing the street.
There was Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, greeting fans, signing autographs and doing photo ops. Cool! We shook hands and then he was off to practice.
As we crossed the street, I asked him how he stayed so cool out there in all this heat. “Hah! I don’t!” he answered.
Once on the property, I ran into several friends from central Michigan. John “HaMMeR” Farrier; his wife, Renee; and, from Mlive Telway Raiders (long story), Pete Ledesma with son Logan. Hammer was in a wheelchair with an ACL.
'Tis the season, eh?
Once again, practice was held on the west field. After directing my friends to a primo vantage point, I scooted to the top of the bleachers, from which I would once again watch the DBs and LBs in position drills.
Your Daily Hammy Report
I did start with good intentions.
Dressed but not participating were RB Mikel LeShoure, FS Louis Delmas, DE Edom McClamm, WR Titus Young, CB Don Carey, WR Ryan Broyles, WR Terrence Tolliver and WR Jarett Dillard.
Position Drills: Defensive Backs and Linebackers
One of the big stories today was the return of MLB Stephen Tulloch to practice. The Lions were in pads today, and I think that wild horses couldn’t keep Tulloch away.
Tulloch looked sharp in agility drills and against the running backs later in one-on-one drills.
CB Jonte Green had his rookie moment when he made a nice adjustment to an intentionally poor pass but gathered the ball into his chest. DB coach Tim Walton had the opening that he was looking for and lit into Green: “Hey! You get those hands out there and grab that ball!”
Walton’s point is simple: Those who “gather” the ball as opposed to “grabbing” the ball allow a split second for a pass to be defended.
Green took his tongue-lashing well and didn’t repeat the faux pas.
1-on-1 Passing Drill
Calvin Johnson abused CB Chris Houston, but on Calvin’s next (and final) rep, it was Houston mauling Megatron. Touche!
Houston would remove the pads and be sidelined for the remainder of practice with an undetermined injury.
WR Maurice Stovall took three reps against CB Jacob Lacey, who never had a chance, even though he stuck to No. 80 like glue.
TE Brandon Pettigrew did one rep each against safeties Eric Coleman and Amari Spievey and won both matchups handily.
WR Patrick Edwards made a great adjustment on a deep toss by Hill after running away from CB Alphonso Smith.
Of 38 passes the QBs threw only seven incomplete passes (three on R.J. Archer), had three passes defended and threw no INTs.
The offense won 26 of 38 reps.
7-on-7 Full Pads
Fascinating. The Lions used CB Jacob Lacey at LCB with very poor results. On the right side, rookie Bill Bentley shared snaps with Amari Spievey, and both looked solid.
Next, the coaches used Alphonso Smith at LCB and moved Lacey to nickel. This combination clicked, with Bentley at RCB. It appears that Bentley may have found a home at RCB after a mediocre showing at LCB. Lacey was also more comfortable in the middle of the defense.
The Lions might be onto something here.
Matt Stafford and Shaun Hill were on fire today, hitting target after target. While there was contact today, it was kept to a minimum. Rookie LB Ronnie Snead left practice gripping a hamstring.
Special Teams: Punting
Punter Ben Graham was backed up against the end line but managed to drill two long punts that went out of bounds. Sweet!
I took a break here and went outside the gates for a smoke (my bad). I can hear his voice before I see him: “Hey, Mikey, I thought you quit!”
It was Lions.com and longtime Lions beat reporter Mike O’Hara. We had a great chat, and it’s always a blast to talk Lions with the dean of Lions writers.
Full-Squad Red-Zone Scrimmage
The boys in the trenches went after one another with malice aforethought. Good stuff, and my friends and I had a great view from the end zone. DT Corey Williams was back at RDT with the rest of the first-team front seven.
Louis Delmas stopped by to say Howdy and actually had a smile on his face. He’s been rather sullen and withdrawn for a couple of days, probably out of frustration at his "tweaky" knee.
I told him that it was great to see him with a smile on his face again. He grinned and said, “C’mon, man, I’ve always got a smile on my face!”
On offense it was Jason Fox at LT and Riley Reiff at RT. I have to tell you that these guys look as though they were born to play together.
Both were outstanding.
On defense MLB Tahir Whitehead continues to be an incredibly physical presence in the middle. Travis Lewis had a great pass breakup in the end zone. CB Bill Bentley was hyper aggressive at RCB.
The Randy Phillips UDFA Camp Stud Award: Early Returns
This year’s “Randy Award" looks to be coming down to the battle between WR Patrick Edwards and RB Stephfon Green, with Edwards in the lead by a wide margin.
In fact Edwards might have to pass on his all-expense-paid trip to the practice squad when he wins a roster spot.
An unprecedented achievement!
Wrap Up and Tomorrow’s Plan
Once again, apologies for having way too much fun today. Tomorrow I’ll be at Ford Field for the Coaches Kickoff, a Lions event formerly known as Lions Uncaged! There will be an autograph session prior to practice, a full practice session and a concert that follows.
I’ll try to behave myself and get some great insights. Until then, have a great one!