Detroit Lions Uncaged Event

Michael SuddsCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2010

ALLEN PARK, MI - AUGUST 05:  Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a pass during training camp at the Detroit Lions Headquarters and Training Facility on August 5, 2010 in Allen Park, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

When my buddy Jim, and I arrived at Ford Field today, the line was past the end of the building. It was great to see so many Lions' fans in one place without paying $50 to park.

I would estimate that the attendance was between seven and eight thousand. A lot of families, a lot of kids, and a lot of fun.

The doors opened at 3:00PM. There was a massive autograph session until 3:45PM. You could hear the “Suuuuuuuuh” chants half a stadium away.

The Leo’s love fest was on! I spoke to several fans who snagged trophy autographs. Daniel, a very robust lad of seven, was showing off his Louis Delmas scribble in the concession line. He positively brimmed with joy and he wouldn’t let me touch it!

Jim and I found primo seats on the 50 yard line, in the second row. The team came out of the tunnel to thunderous applause. Suh was the last player on the field. “Suuuuuuuuh”.

As usual, the horn blew, and the Lions players went into warm up drills. This was followed by 30 minutes of position drills.

It was at this point that I noticed who was not in pads. Jason Hansen, Jared DeVries, DeAndre Levy, Amari Spievey, Jerome Felton, Aaron Berry, Louis Delmas, Ko Simpson, Jordon Dizon, Mike Moore, and Kevin Smith were held out of contact drills. Moore and Smith participated in some limited individual drills, mostly the low intensity pitch and catch stuff.

The final 20 minutes of the positional drills featured a crowd favorite, one on one. Mano Y mano. Chris Houston looked tenacious on defense, breaking up several passes thrown to his “house”. He even did a little “hot dogging” at the end of a couple of plays. Nice.

Matt Stafford, and Calvin Johnson put their synergy on display, and the fans were appreciative. They make it look sooooo easy. Tim Toone made a couple of nice grabs, as did Brian Clark, and Derrick Williams. On one of Toone’s plays, Jonathon Wade put a nice hit on him, separating him from the ball.

The team moved on to seven on seven drills. This was the Brandon Pettigrew show. He made some effortless catches that were very comforting. Pettigrew shows no ill effects of his ACL injury whatsoever.

The offense continued to work some short yardage, and check down passing plays. The kind of plays that require the most reps since they must work with the highest level of consistency. Move them chains, baby!

The difference between Saturday’s practice, and the session that I attended last Wednesday was that Lions QB’s threw downfield exactly twice as often. This is in keeping with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan’s plan to slowly integrate the vertical passing game into the practice regimen.

The team moved on to full team offensive/defensive drills. I focused on Ndamakong Suh here. His explosiveness was evident. I think that the Lions set him up to fail. He was double teamed, or had a tight end picking him up in the backfield. Suh’s frustration was palpable.

The defense ran some stunts that moved Suh to various points all across the line. The offense was always there with a stop. Suh’s frustration was growing.

Some interesting little vignettes would have to include Tim Toone catching a sideline check down with Zack Follett on the scene. The “pain train” delivered Mr. Toone into next Tuesday. Boom! Welcome, rookie, to the NFL!

The other occurred when Aaron Brown caught a short outlet in the flat, rolled once, and tried to continue the play. Kyle Vanden Bosch was on him like a cat, with a little helmet to helmet howdy. Where did that truck come from?

The Lions moved on to special teams drills. Today’s drill was punt, and punt coverage. Ndamakong Suh was rookified. He mistimed leaps, was double teamed, and otherwise flummoxed. Steam was building to a bursting point in the house of spears.

The horn blew, and the Lions went back to full team drills. The offense was on the 10 yard line. On the very first play, Ndamakong exacted his revenge. He blew by LG Stephan Peterman, and drove TE Jake Nordin into Matt Stafford’s grill. Touche! Checkmate! “Suuuuuuuuuh!”

Some miscellaneous impressions:

Safety Randy Phillips is big, fast, and a play maker. A keeper.

Cornerback Chris Houston has a chip on his shoulder, and delivers a devastating “chuck” at the line of scrimmage.

DT Sammie Lee Hill will win the starting DT assignment. He’s scary good.

WR Derrick Williams is a lock to make the roster, and will play a very prominent role moving forward.

TE Tony Scheffler has to pick up his game. Like yesterday! He will be my pet project come practice tomorrow. I, for one, am not happy.

The blind side is safe in the hands of LT Jeff Backus, and LG Rob Sims.

We need to see an all out war between Vanden Bosch and Backus soon. KVB has been way too quiet on the field.

The Lions showed some two TE sets. I loved the pre-snap realignments.

WR Brian Clark has locked a roster spot. Big, and reliable.

Rookie DT Willie Young will be a work in progress for some time to come. Young has an abundance of speed, but lacks discipline.

OLB Julian Peterson will have a career year. His speed and instincts are a thing of beauty.

The lame, and infirm (11 players) need to get back on the field.

I’m going to put this down for now, but I will return tomorrow, after practice.

Any special requests? Who do you want me to keep an eye on?