Hey, everybody, while you were home sipping on a cold one, I was waiting in a very well-behaved crowd of about 3,000 fans for training camp to open.
Today is the first day of the NFL’s year, and players could not take the field until the new CBA was ratified. We waited on pins and needles for an hour until word came down from the NFL that the Lions could commence.
Almost every player was on hand. The notable exceptions were safety Louis Delmas (excused) and corner Eric Wright (illness). All of our free agents were dressed and ready to go.
The crowd cheered as the players took the field. Corner Alphonso Smith was still in a boot, and WR Titus Young, OT Jeff Backus, OT Gosder Cherilus and LB Isaiah Ekejiuba were on hand but did not practice.
Today’s practice was held on the West field again. The Lions brought in a line judge and a back judge, but I saw no yellow linen.
Full Squad Scrimmage—First and Ten
DT Andre Fluellen left the field under his own power with a member of the training staff. He did not return.
The players were in shorts so contact was curtailed.
QB Matt Stafford looked very sharp with the first squad. Plays developed more quickly than I have seen previously. Jason Fox and Robert Calloway looked very solid in relief roles at the tackle spots.
When Shaun Hill took over, he looked inconsistent. He was picked off by UDFA LB Cobrani Mixon. Mixon has had a very nice camp in my view.
Little Stefan Logan caught a screen pass from Hill and took it to the house.
As in yesterday’s Kickoff coverage, the Punt coverage players were instructed on maintaining disciplined lanes while closing on the ball.
Stefan Logan bantered with fans while awaiting punts. Tim Toone was the up back.
Full Squad Scrimmage—Second and Ten
Once again, Stafford hit every target. On one rep, however, DT Corey Williams batted down a Stafford pass. Mikel LeShoure and Jahvid Best hit some nice running plays. One receiver set that I’ve never seen had WR Nate Burleson split left and Calvin Johnson in the left slot. Hmm.
WR Rashied Davis took second team snaps along with Derrick Williams. Shaun Hill missed on a couple of connections. S Amari Spievey defended a pass intended for Jahvid Best on a deep left sideline pattern. Spievey’s play continues to impress.
Drew Stanton looked pretty good. He worked with receivers D. Williams, Stefan Logan and UDFA Dominique Barnes. Demario Ballard took no snaps in this segment.
Two Minute Drill—Seven on Seven
The offense started on the 50-yard line and the top three QBs got a shot at running a two-minute offense.
Stafford’s shot at the end zone was thwarted by CB Chris Houston on a well-timed leap.
Hill tossed a nice TD to WR Tim Toone after hooking up with Best, LeShoure and Burleson.
Stanton under threw UDFA Demario Ballard, who had a step on CB Paul Pratt. Pratt made a nice play to defend the pass.
This was a crisply run, high octane practice from start to finish. The players who practiced for the first time showed little in the way of rust.
Throughout the session, LB Stephen Tulloch played SAM, Levy was the MIKE, and Durant played WILL. Tulloch looked anything but lost, but I think he will move inside once the season starts.
Tomorrow’s practice is open to season ticket holders only unless a change is announced.
It’s great to see the entire team reunited on the field. Finally!
Mike Sudds is a syndicated Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.