It’s Kids Day at Allen Park! The munchkins are out in force to see their favorite players and enjoy a day of entertainment put on for their benefit.
There was Rory, the Lions mascot, pumping paws and doing photo ops. The big inflatable Lions head that the players run through at home games served as the entrance. The Lions had face painting, the QB challenge, kids-only autographs and a whole host of other diversions.
I dashed to my usual perch. It’s 85 degrees and muggy. Nary a breeze. The Lions were back on the East field where I had an excellent vantage point.
It’s time for practice. Let’s go!
The Hammie Report
As promised, I scoped out the team as they stretched. Those players not getting into proper position are now busted.
Today, we had “tightness” Young watching from the sidelines. I’m outing receiver Nate Hughes, defensive end Lawrence Jackson, running back Mikel LeShoure and receiver Rashied Davis.
Field Goal Rush and Protection
Head coach Jim Schwartz took a personal interest in this contact drill. He moved like a big cat among the man trees that towered over him. A series of 45-yard field goals were attempted under a full rush. Hanson was perfect.
Watch for defensive ends Willie Young and Cliff Avril to come off the right edge during the season. Both had close chances on block attempts.
Receivers Coach Shawn Jefferson Goes Singletary on Dominique Barnes
The receivers were hitting a blocking sled one at a time. They had to drive up and push out on contact, moving the sled to the side. No problem, right?
Don’t tell that to undrafted free agent Dominique Barnes. He gave it three of his best (?) shots but couldn’t budge the sled. The crowd hooted with laughter.
Have you ever seen Mike Singletary’s bulging eyes back in his playing days? He was absolutely ferocious! Today, Shawn Jefferson went Singletary on the hapless Barnes. It’s a good thing that the kids were out of earshot of Jefferson’s “coaching” of Barnes as he repeatedly bounced off the irksome sled.
Four on Zero Passing Drill
While Shawn Jefferson was going thermonuclear, Matt Stafford and Shaun Hill were chucking the rock to the running backs and tight ends. Both QBs looked sharp, and the routes being run by Best, LeShoure, Ian Johnson, Felton, Clapp, Heller, Pettigrew, Scheffler and Finley were crisp.
Tight end Richard Dickson had his left hand wrapped and didn’t participate.
One on One Passing and Pass Coverage
Receiver Calvin Johnson went against corner Eric Wright. CJ won two out of three battles. Wright did make a nice play on his final faceoff with Megatron.
Receiver Derrick Williams went up against cornerss Maurice Leggett and Prince Miller, beating both with ease. Jamal Robinson jumped a Williams route and intercepted a pass from Shaun Hill.
Nate Burleson took on Chris Houston. Burleson won the first two battles, but Houston had a nice deflection on the third.
Tim Toone worked against Brandon McDonald. Toone snared one pass, was overthrown on another and was nicely defended by McDonald on a third.
Maurice Stovall (a big target) made a great layout catch on Paul Pratt. Next, Stovall put a beautiful double move on Robinson and burned him.
Nate Hughes worked against Jamal Robinson, who got a hand on the ball. Next, Hughes beat Paul Pratt for a nice catch.
Demario Ballard battled Maurice Leggett twice. Ballard caught a Stafford pass in stride behind Leggett. Leggett would exact his revenge by intercepting a Shaun Hill pass intended for Ballard.
Finally, Marcus Harris got a couple of shots at Chris Houston. He beat Houston on the first route, but an errant Hill pass couldn’t be caught.
Seven on Seven Passing and Pass Coverage
Running back Jahvid Best looked good out of the backfield. Receiver Derrick Williams converted on some tough chances.
Burleson isolated on a linebacker is not fair. He collected pass after pass underneath the coverage.
The offense looked sharp behind Stafford and Hill, but sputtered when QB Drew Stanton couldn’t find the target.
The linebackers were in a more traditional alignment with Justin Durant at SAM, Stephen Tulloch at MIKE and DeAndre Levy at WILL.
Tackle Jason Fox left the field under his own power with an unknown injury. He seemed to walk pain free.
Corner Eric Wright was taken off the field on a cart. This might be related to his flu-like symptoms.
Safety Louis Delmas sat out today, but should return Monday.
Offensive and Defensive Depth
The offensive line first team was Corey Hilliard (RT), Stephen Peterman (RG), Dom Raiola (OC), Rob Sims (LG) and Tony Ugoh (LT).
Jahvid Best got all the first team snaps.
The second team O-line looked like this: Hilliard (RT), Donald Thomas (RG), Dylan Gandy (OC), Dan Gerberry (LG) and Ugoh (LT)
Defensively, the front four was the usual cast of players on first team. Getting second team snaps were Lawrence Jackson (LDE), Quinn Pitcock (LDT), Sammie Lee Hill (RDT) and Willie Young (RDE).
The third team O-line was Isaac Sowells (RT), Jeff Maddox (RG), Gandy (OC), Greg Niland (LG) and Johnny Culbreath (RT).
The third team D-line was Greg Banks (LDE), Robert Calloway (LDT), Pitcock (RDT) and Narada Williams (RDE)
Mikel LeShoure took second team snaps and Aaron Brown took third team snaps.
The Linebackers looked like this on first team: Durant (SOLB), Tulloch (MLB) and Levy (WOLB).
Second team LBs were Carpenter (SOLB), Palmer (MLB) and Mixon (WOLB).
The CBs were Houston (LCB) and Berry (RCB) on first team, Vasher (LCB) and Pratt (RCB) on second team, and Pratt (LCB) and Miller (RCB) on third team.
Safeties were Coleman with Spievey (first team), Wendling with Phillips (second team) and Wendling again with Silva on third team.
Full Squad—Various Down and Distances
There were no more than 20 seconds between plays as the various units cycled through this segment. It was very crisply run.
Some highlights were a sack of Shaun Hill by LoJack, nice running by all the RBs and sharp passing by Stafford. Also offensive line coach George “coaching up” Donald Thomas. Yarno would have made a fine drill sergeant.
The first through third teams ran a two-minute drill. The QBs called the plays. All the while, Coach Schwartz was screaming “No time outs!”
Stafford worked the ball down the field methodically for a TD to Jahvid Best. Chris Houston had outstanding coverage against Calvin Johnson, knocking away a sure TD fired by Hill.
The defense stiffened for the second and third teams.
This practice was upbeat, with short segments that flowed well. There was a sense of urgency in everything that the team did.
This Lions team will be fun to watch. Heck, it’s fun to watch in camp.
Tomorrow is an off day. I’ll be back Monday with another report.
Mike Sudds is a syndicated Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.