The Lions made a couple of moves yesterday. They released LB Alex Elkins and WR Devin Thomas. They signed UFA CB Brandon King, who was released by—of all places—Jacksonville.
Memo to Lions GM Martin Mayhew: Cease and desist signing Jaguars castoffs. They’re not exactly products of a top-flight organization.
Late yesterday, the Lions fleshed out their 90-player training camp roster with the signing of OLB Adrian Moten off waivers (Cleveland). At least it wasn’t another Jaguar!
Other than churning the contents at the bottom of the roster it was a quiet day in Allen Park.
Your Tuesday Training Camp Report
Temps in the high 60s. A morning shower left the air heavy with a negligible South wind.
Another great crowd on hand and the security people know me so well that they save me a primo parking spot. Thanks, all!
Ugh. Practice was on the West field. Poor eye angles and long distances were the rule. The good news is that the players are in pads.
Warm-ups: The Hammie Report
Now I know that DT Nick Fairley’s having fun, but man, you have to stretch those hammies.
DE Izzy Idonije is back, but took those hamstring stretches off.
I focused again on the linebackers, who were doing “mirror” drills for lateral agility. Again, nobody blew me away.
Next, they matched up for some practice in the new tackling techniques. This is part of the NFL’s “Heads Up” initiative. One LB was a ball-carrier. His counterpart had to execute the four elements of politically correct technique: breakdown, position, burst and rip. A technique that keeps the head in the proper position.
When properly executed, the rip should take a player off his feet, driving him back.
Finally, the linebackers did their “W” transition drill. Ashlee Palmer was the lone standout, keeping those pads low enough to please Rod Marinelli.
Meanwhile, the receivers were taking back shoulder passes. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was coaching up the DBs hard in man-press and man-cover techniques.
S Martavious Nelloms pulled up lame but returned to practice after some tape was applied to his left ankle.
One-on-One Passing and Pass Defense
QB Matt Stafford connected on his three reps (TE Brandon Pettigrew, WR Calvin Johnson and WR Matt Willis).
QB Shaun Hill had a tough go of it, throwing an INT to CB Domonique Johnson, who jumped Hill’s ill-advised pass into coverage. Next, Hill threw a deep ball to Chaz Schilens that was easily broken up by CB DeQuan Menzie.
Stafford returned, hitting WR Kris Durham and WR Michael Spurlock before WR Cody Wilson’s alligator arms caused a drop. CB Chris Houston got the best of Willis.
QB Kellen Moore threw completions to WR Corey Fuller, WR Terrence Austin, WR Mike Thomas, Schilens and WR Nate Burleson. A great period for Moore!
Stafford took some more snaps, throwing some poor incompletions to WR Calvin Johnson and WR Patrick Edwards. Cody Wilson was able to atone with a nice grab of yet another poor Stafford pass.
Hill’s next three reps were similarly unproductive. QB Thad Lewis took no reps during this period.
Seven-on-Seven: First and 10
The starters on defense were LOLB Ashlee Palmer, MLB Stephen Tulloch and ROLB DeAndre Levy. Houston was the LCB, Ron Bartell was at RCB, Glover Quin played LS and Louis Delmas played RS.
badly on two attempts to RB Reggie Bush.
Hill was perfect, hitting RB Mikel Leshoure, RB Joique Bell and WR Willis.
Stafford returned and finally settled down, throwing strikes to Calvin Johnson (twice) and hitting a wide-open Bush in stride.
Today, the linebackers looked like traffic cones. Not good.
Full Team Period: First and 10 From the Lions’ Two-Yard Line
The offense and defense changed sides. The offense was buried deep. The starters on the O-Line were LT Riley Reiff, LG Rob Sims, OC Dom Raiola, RG Corey Hilliard and RT Jason Fox.
The offense did a credible job on strong running by RB Theo Riddick, Leshoure and Bell. Riddick had another great day running between the tackles.
When Hill took over the QB duties, DT Ndamukong Suh was the first to greet him with a bull rush sack, splitting the double team by OC Darren Keyton and RG Leroy Harris.
DE Jason Jones was finally back on the field.
Chinese Fire Drill
Here we go! K David Akers lined up the 32 yarder, but it never left the atmosphere. A block, perhaps?
Next, holder Sam Martin tried a fake. His pass was intercepted by S Glover Quin. Akers made one from about the 50-yard range.
Then, it was K Havard Rugland’s turn. His hurry-up effort was good. His fake, featuring P Blake Clingan fell incomplete to TE Matt Veldman.
Rugland’s 50-ish try was short.
Special Teams Punting: Gunner Drill
Designated gunners were defended by two players. At the snap, it was RB Steven Miller, CB Ron Bartell and WR Cody Wilson who beat the jam. Players who got mauled were WR Willis, WR Fuller, WR Austin and (what?) TE Michael Williams.
Receiving punts out of the JUGS machine were RB Bush, WR Edwards and RB Miller.
Full Team Period: Move the Chains
Again, Stafford had a poor performance. I’d characterize it as indifferent. WR Matt Willis limped off the field with an apparent ankle ding. He shook it off and continued.
Full Team Period: Punts
I have to tell you that neither punter had a great day. Now, this might be how the drill was designed. I only know that no punt went beyond 40 yards.
Special Teams Period: Seven-on-Seven Skeleton Drill
The interior lines went at it in order to get some work on releases and jams. Special Teams scut work.
Randy Award Update and Poll
The polls are still open so get out there and vote! C’mon! This isn’t the Detroit mayoral primary, its something really important!
TE Joseph Fauria has jumped out to a 340-248 vote lead. RB Steven Miller trails with 246 votes.
It’s been a vintage season for UDFAs in Detroit. There has never been so much undrafted talent on a Lions training camp roster and I’d like to think that senior personnel executive Brian Xanders had a hand in acquiring this great stable of UDFAs.
If Xanders is, as I suspect responsible, it bodes well for the future of the franchise.
Plans for Tomorrow
Tomorrow is the final open practice session. I’m going to leave my notebook and camera at home. I’ll get a bratwurst and some fries. I’ll visit with friends while catching some rays. I’ll cheer every great catch. I’ll heckle Fairley. Maybe get an autograph or two.
Weather permitting, I’ll be back with your last training camp report. Stay tuned!