I keep watching the press clippings for an announcement. An announcement that open practice sessions will be extended. Alas, none look forthcoming.
It’s been a ton of work but a ton of fun too! Now, we have to rely on those vanilla reports from the beat writers and sit back and enjoy (hopefully) the 2013 season.
But that’s tomorrow. We’ve got work to do today that won’t keep so let’s get busy!
Your Wednesday Training Camp Report
Mother nature put on a show today. Low, scudding clouds racing across the sky. The threat of rain turned into a reality as we were showered during most of this practice session. The players had to love it.
It felt like football weather!
Warm-ups: The Hammie Report
Practice was held on the West Field again. I looked for but didn’t find CBs Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood. S Louis Delmas took the day off.
I didn’t spot any other players getting a “Delmas” day.
DE Jason Jones was understandably taking great care to protect his hamstrings. DT Nick Fairley has no such excuse.
"Hey, 98! I'm talking to you!"
Not having scoped out the receivers in awhile I decided to focus on soft hands. During drills, you can hear the slap of the ball against the hands. That is, unless it’s a veteran like Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Mike Thomas. These guys have hands so soft that you can barely hear the ball making contact.
The youngsters? Uh, not so much.
Joining the return specialists today were running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.
11 on Zero Walk-through
There was some game planning periods today and this was the first. The Lions worked most of the staple plays in their playbook. Only QBs Matt Stafford and Shaun Hill took reps. RB Bell shared reps with RB Mikel Leshoure.
The Lions worked a number of play-action reps. I’d look for a heavy dose of play-action against the Jets.
Seven on Seven
Whatever was causing Stafford to be so inconsistent yesterday was nowhere in evidence today. He was almost perfect throughout this practice.
In Stafford’s opening three-rep series, he hit WR Patrick Edwards, but then had a very catchable pass dropped by TE Brandon Pettigrew. Stafford went right back to Pettigrew who made a nice one-handed grab.
QB Hill’s first series was a mixed bag. An incomplete pass to WR Matt Willis looked like a miscommunication or a busted route. Hill would connect with Willis and WR Michael Spurlock to round out his reps.
In Stafford’s next series, he went to his best weapons. Completions to WR Calvin Johnson, WR Nate Burleson (who screened CB Darius Slay brilliantly with his body) and RB Reggie Bush, who took a swing pass and turned on the jets.
Hill’s next series was marred by a drop by RB Bell, who did a self-imposed 20 pushups on the sidelines. Hill then connected with FB Shaun Chapas and hit Bell in-stride.
Lefty QB Kellen Moore was perfect, hitting TE Michael Williams, TE Joseph Fauria (Moore’s favorite target) and Bell.
QB Thaddeus Lewis hit two nice comeback routes by WR Chaz Schilens and also connected with TE Matt Veldman.
All things considered, it was a great day for the quarterbacks.
Chinese Fire Drill in the Rain
The skies opened up as K David Akers and the FG unit rushed on the field. There was a hitch in the unit’s “git-along” however and the rep had to be repeated.
Nevertheless, Akers was money on attempts from 32, 42, and 52 yards out.
Havard Rugland appeared to miss wide-right from 32 and 52 yards. He’s pulling the ball.
Full Team Period
The Lions worked a number of down and distance scenarios. Stafford and Hill remained hot in the rain. RBs Bush, Leshoure, Bell and Theo Riddick were running between the tackles with good authority. WR Willis made an outstanding layout grab of a Hill pass. WR Kris Durham continues to make plays.
The defense had its moments. MLB Stephen Tulloch was getting nice penetration on run blitzes. DE Jason Jones batted a Stafford pass at the line of scrimmage. “My house!”
Another obvious game planning period.
Special Teams: On-Sides Kick
Only Havard Rugland would participate and his squibs were very well placed to the left. His pop-ups to the right need some work. He has to get more air under the ball as it was beating the coverage.
Special Teams: Kickoff and Kick Coverage
This drill was run out of the ever consistent JUGS machine. RB Steven Miller and WR Michael Spurlock alternated return duties while RB Riddick was the up-back.
Full Team Period
It was back to the playbook. In these reps, the Lions ran a lot of screens and reverses. RB Miller was putting on a show, getting to the edge unmolested. Stafford and Hill remained red-hot!
QB Moore was working bubble screens to Miller and QB Lewis took off on a QB draw. Even the defenders applauded Lewis’ great wheels.
Seven on Seven: Red Zone
Head coach Jim Schwartz was hands-on coaching the back-seven on defense. Coverage was tight and effective despite the best efforts of the QBs.
After MLB Stephen Tulloch and slot CB Bill Bentley broke up a pass to TE Pettigrew the hulking TE put his arm around Tulloch as if to say, “Well done, little fella!”
The Randy Award Update and Poll
TE Joseph Fauria is the leading vote getter thus far with 418 votes. K Havard Rugland is running a close second with 400 votes. RB Steven Miller is third with 333 votes.
I’ll keep this poll open throughout the preseason and the winner will be announced on September 1.
Plans for the Future
I’ve ordered the All-22s film package for the upcoming Jets vs. Lions preseason opener. I’ll have lots of eye-candy for discussion in the days following the game.
Enjoy the season and GO LIONS!