2013 Detroit Lions Training Camp Lowdown: Tuesday, July 30
It’s that time again; I’m off to my day camp. Don’t worry, I’m properly supervised and promise to be on my best behavior.
Your Tuesday Report
An absolutely sparkling morning! Not a cloud in the sky and negligible winds.
Another huge crowd is on hand for this, the second public-invited Lions training camp session.
Let’s get to work!
Warmups: The Hammy Report
DT Nick Fairley was a bit tweaky this morning, but much improved. I have to put DE Izzy Idonije on hammy probation. Everyone else behaved themselves—even TE Michael Williams.
I concentrated on the 16 DBs that were able to practice today. CBs Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood were inactive (hamstrings) and CB Ron Bartell was nursing his right shoulder.
The players are in pads today! Woohoo!
What a different looking group these DBs are. Last year, CB Chris Houston was a mid-sized CB. This year, he looks like papa Smurf. He’s the shortest DB on the team at 5’11”.
The usual stuff here; agility drills followed by backpeddle-breakdown into coverage techniques followed by backpeddle-transition into run support techs.
I don’t need a program to separate the corners from the safeties. Those safeties have far higher ‘peddles, but they’re more explosive in transition.
CB Darius Slay was the exception. His transition into run support was extremely quick and explosive. He’s growing on me as a three-way threat: A cover corner who looks like he can play man-press as well as man-cover.
While all of this was going on, I spotted K David Akers punting! What?
Anyway, another player who got my attention was safety Terrell Johnson. His work in press coverage was a treat!
Oh, and rest assured that as soon as Chris Greenwood resumes practice activities, I’ll give him the once-over and provide you with all the details.
One-on One Passing and Pass Defense Drill
Every year, an unheralded receiver seems to just kill it in one-on-one drills. This year’s drill darling is Cody Wilson, who punked CB Houston twice before sashaying off to receive kicks out of the JUGS machine.
Wilson has just put himself in the running for the 2013 Randy Award.
The DBs have to play man-cover on the wideouts. Who do you think was the star for the defense?
Who else but Slay, who won mano-e-mano matchups with WRs Nate Burleson and Terrence Austin. Great job by the rookie, who looks like your starting RCB presumptive.
I’ll be watching for some Houston payback and a couple of Austin-Slay matchups as well.
Kick Return Duties
The kickoff return duties seem to be down to a three-player race. WR Wilson, WR Austin and WR Patrick Edwards.
We won’t know until preseason who will prevail. However, all look capable of fielding the ball cleanly in a couple of camp sessions with virtually no wind.
LLB Travis Lewis joined MLB Stephen Tulloch and RLB DeAndre Levy when the ones took the field. Lewis no longer looks like a lost child out there, but was caught out of position on a couple of reps.
When it was the second team’s turn, it was Corey Greenwood at LLB, Lewis at MLB and Tahir Whitehead at RLB. Lewis actually looked more comfortable at MLB while Whitehead looked more like an NFL LB.
CB Bill Bentley looked great in the nickel role. Better by far than any other option thus far.
Chinese Fire Drill
Seven-on-seven drills were abruptly halted for a hurry-up FG try of 32 yards. Players scrambled on, and off the field as the 13 second countdown was barked out.
Akers missed, wide left with two seconds remaining. He did make two subsequent kicks, but that miss wasn’t good for morale.
Chinese Fire Drill Part Two
No sooner had Akers’ last attempt split the uprights the horn blew. “Second team field goal unit now!”
The countdown commenced. Havard “Kickalicious” Rugland calmly settled in and…..
Nailed it! The place went nuts!
Rugland would go three-for-three, boosting his confidence and the confidence of players, coaches and fans.
Special Teams Segment
Today, the DBs worked a “gunner” drill. One would lineup in the gunner role on punts. Two DBs opposed him. It was their job to get the gunner out of bounds rather than slowing him up at the line.
I like the concept. Once a gunner runs out of bounds he can’t be the first to touch the ball—by rule.
Full Team Segment
The players were in pads and while the hits on skill position players was restrained, the hitting in the trenches was robust.
The O-line first team reps went to Riley Reiff (LT), Rob Sims (LG), Dom Raiola (OC), Jake Scott (RG) and Corey Hilliard (RT).
Both Scott and Hilliard jumped the snap count on one play. Otherwise, they were money.
RB Mikel LeShoure looked more assertive today, hitting the point of attack with good power and control. He’s almost back, folks.
RB Montell Owens looked like a nice power running option. RB Joique Bell took the reps with the twos.
TE Michael Williams was a beast of a blocker on those OLBs.
T Jason Fox took backup snaps at LT. OG Derek Hardman was kicked outside to RT. OC Rodney Austin and OG Larry Warford looked solid in relief.
Newsflash! TE Brandon Pettigrew hasn’t dropped a single ball!
Head coach Jim Schwartz was again in the middle of the action, looking like an H-back at times. When he was behind the defense, Schwartz occupied the spot reserved for the umpire.
Speaking of observations, my apologies for the poor quality of my photos. The iPhone is a wonderful device, but I’m going to have to upgrade to a real camera next season. One with a barely legal telephoto lens!
Plans for Thursday
I get the day off tomorrow as there is no practice. I’ll be back Thursday morning for a close look at either the RBs or LBs. It mostly depends upon which field will be used for team segments.
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