Detroit Lions Training Camp: The Thursday Final Edition

Michael SuddsCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2017

The Lions came out for warm up drills with light pads only. The legs that weren’t injured appeared to be pretty fresh. Jonathan Wade was sans cast, but would put it back on for position drills later.

The team exhibited a spirit throughout this practice that has not previously been seen with the exception of the only live contact practice that they had last week.

Could it be that training camp is coming to an end?

I found a place at the top of the bleacher next to a couple of Lions fans and Mlivers from Battle Creek. It was a fun day with Don Hughes, and Brad Bradly. Two knowledgeable fans, for sure.

Lets do this!

I noticed during the stretching exercises that the players looked somehow more focused on everything that they were doing. I later found out that head coach Jim Schwartz went ballistic yesterday over the injuries, and that the team was lax in their focus on the little things.

The players broke into their position drills. The LB’s were bolstered by the return of Deandre Levy, and the addition of Lee Campbell. They ran agility drills as did the DB’s. Louis Delmas participated in these drills but was held out of seven-on-seven, and team drills.

The QB’s were throwing out-cuts to the running backs, while the receivers worked on their “release” moves off the line of scrimmage.

The special teams worked on field goals with new kicker Steven Houschka. He looked solid, and on the last rep of the drill holder Nick Harris ran a fake run to the left edge. Nice wheels, Nick.

Then came some seven-on-seven drills where Matt Stafford put his arm on display by connecting on every pass thrown. When Burleson caught his first ball, the sidelined DB’s shouted “Happy birthday, Nate!”

Trust me, folks, Matt Stafford looks like he’s been a Pro Bowl QB for years. His release is so quick, and his passes are always on the button. It’s a real pleasure to behold. The difference in Stafford over last year is astonishing.

Drew Stanton took the remaining reps in seven-on-sevens, as well as every rep in the first team drill period. Stanton was inconsistent, at best. He was overthrowing receivers, and some of his throws looked like the proverbial wounded ducks.

With all the reps that Stanton got in practice today, I am beginning to wonder if his days are numbered in Detroit. He was intercepted three times this morning. Dre Bly, Randy Phillips, and DeAndre Levy got in on the feast. Even Amari Spievey broke up a Stanton pass.

Perhaps the Lions are putting together a film package for Stanton (who worked on special teams again) to take to job interviews.

With the brutal cuts coming up soon, I’m afraid that Drew Stanton is a luxury that the Lions can no longer afford.

Newly acquired DE Laurence Jackson, who might turn out to be yet another Martin Mayhew coup, arrived in the middle of practice in street clothes. He received a warm welcome from teammates, new and old. He introduced himself to his defensive line mates and hung out with his newest best friends.

Lo-Jack, as he’s known, was a 2008 first round pick from USC. He went 28th overall. The Lions got him for a sixth round pick in 2011.

Now, when you consider that this sixth round pick was originally a seventh round pick (The Lions flipped a seventh rounder to the Eagles in the Sims/Scheffler trade for the sixth rounder from Philly), the Lions got what appears to be another steal from Seattle.

How could Pete Carroll, who coached Jackson at USC, let him go so cheap? The answer is that Carroll has installed new offensive and defensive schemes. This made OG Rob Sims, and now Jackson expendable.

Any time you can get starting caliber talent that cheap, you jump on it. Thanks, Pete! Do you have any spare linebackers that you want to give away to the Lions?

Speaking of the LB’s, the Lions ran the 3-4 exclusively during team drills today. Vinnie Ciurciu didn’t participate. They played Julian Peterson, and Isiah Ekejiuba (LOLB), DeAndre Levy, and Landon Johnson (LILB), Lee Campbell, and Zack Follett (RILB), and Caleb Campbell, and Ashlee Palmer (ROLB).

Lee Campbell appeared to be much more comfortable in today’s practice.

The special teams drills focused on kick, and kick coverage. Instead of launching balls from a “jugs” machine the new kicker, Steven Houschka got a good long look.

Houschka’s first kick was fielded at the seven yard line. All other kicks were fielded at the goal line, or in the end zone. A very fine leg. Houschka’s field goal work was perfect, and the Lions even worked an onsides kick. Houschka’s onsides kick was perfect.

The team drills focused primarily on short yardage situations. Willie Young jumped offsides once, but may have been drawn off. On another play he cleanly beat Jon Jansen for what looked to be a certain sack.

T.J. Rushing, the newly acquired CB looked like Amari Spievey. Inconsistent.

CB Jonathan Wade was standing beside Louis Delmas on the sidelines. When WR Derrick Williams streaked down the field near the two DB’s, Wade took off in hot pursuit! The crowd loved it!

Practice broke up early. On the way home I listened to a radio interview by Karsch and Anderson of 97.1 The Ticket with OT Jon Jansen. Jansen raved about the work ethic of Ndamakong Suh.

Suh questions the offensive linemen about his own performance. What can I improve upon? Are my angles correct? Am I showing too much chest? Am I tipping off my intentions in any way?

Jansen said that any time you have a rookie going to those lengths to get the little things right, you have a very, very special player.

Well, everybody, I hope that you enjoyed my Detroit Lions Training Camp series. It was a ball to watch our Lions in such an intimate setting, among the Lions faithfull.

The lessons learned, the observations made, and the real improvements witnessed have made the experience priceless.

I also wish to thank each and every one of you who participated in our energetic and thought provoking discussions.

Thanks again!



Mike Sudds is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for


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