Hey, Lions fans! A couple of days from now is the first exhibition game of the 2011 season.
I don’t know about you but I’m ready for some football!
I’ve just returned from a late afternoon camp session. Temps in the mid 70s, it was a very windy day under partly cloudy skies.
OK, let’s get this show on the road!
Attending but not practicing were TE Brandon Pettigrew, CB Aaron Berry, S Randy Phillips, CB Alphonso Smith, RB Maurice Morris and OT Jeff Backus.
All of the above are questionable for Friday’s game.
The Hammie Report
Players who showed some unusual stiffness during stretching were FS Louis Delmas (hips), FS Ricardo Silva and C Dan Gerberry.
All three participated in all drills.
Individual Position Drills
The players were in shorts today. I watched with great interest the “mirror” drill being run by the running backs.
A mirror drill is a one on one matchup where one player faces off against another in a five-yard wide area. One player attempts to put his moves, head fakes, etc., against his opponent using lateral movement techniques only. His opponent must mirror the lateral movement, keeping the player in front of him.
As expected, Jahvid Best was the most adroit at shedding his mirror and mirroring his opponent (Aaron Brown).
Both Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell were effective on both sides of the drill.
Homage to WR Stefan Logan
OK, I’ve been watching Logan for a week. I have to say that of all the receivers not named Johnson, Logan has been the most consistent receiver in camp—by far.
I haven’t seen a single dropped ball in drills or passing plays. Not one.
As a kick and punt returner, you couldn’t ask for more challenging wind conditions than the Lions faced today. Balls sent flying out of the “Jugs” machines were taken 15 yards off line. Logan was the only return specialist who consistently made the correct adjustments in crosswinds that gusted to 25 mph.
Tim Toone, Derrick Williams and the others all muffed some of the incoming missiles.
Logan is simply amazing.
Special Teams: Punt Units
The coaching staff must see something in films that distressed them. The special teams punt units ran two lengthy periods where even head coach Jim Schwartz was deeply involved.
There was no all out pressure off the edges, but the hitting was ferocious all along the line.
Four on Seven Passing and Pass Defense
The QBs (except for Robinson) cycled through all the receivers. Two receivers, a tight end and a running back worked against the back seven on defense. My observations:
TE Tony Scheffler beat FS Louis Delmas.
WR Nate Burleson was defended nicely by CB Eric Wright. Burleson later beat double coverage twice on pinpoint accurate passes from QB Matt Stafford. Stafford is unreal in his ability to fit a pass into double coverage.
CB Chris Houston made a nice play on a Stafford pass intended for Derrick Williams.
TE Joe Don Finley got a mismatch against SS Amari Spievey that Stafford exploited.
Speaking of mismatches, WR Maurice Stovall had a step on CB Paul Pratt twice but was overthrown by QB Shaun Hill on both occasions.
WR Tim Toone laid out to snare a Hill pass with CB Prince Miller covering. Toone was later overthrown by QB Drew Stanton.
WR Rashied Davis made catches against LB Doug Hogue, and CB Paul Pratt.
Full Squad Segment: First and 10 From the 20-Yard Line
Again, the first, second and third offensive units cycled through the menu of running and passing plays starting a drive from their own 20 yard line.
The hitting was spirited in the trenches, and it was good to see RT Gosder Cherilus playing at a high performance level. At the other tackle spot, Corey Hilliard did a very nice job on KVB and company. RG Stephen Peterman is once again setting a solid anchor and driving hard in run blocking.
There was one odd play that featured RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch playing LDT while LDT Ndamukong Suh played RDE. Watch for more of these odd sets in the exhibition season and beyond.
RB Jahvid Best looked smooth as silk. Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell got some quality carries as well. Aaron Brown had a couple of nice carries.
FB Matt Clapp caught a pass in the left flat and blew up S John Wendling with a great lowered shoulder. Clapp then ran Wendling over.
On the last play of the segment, QB Drew Stanton found TE Finley all alone after S Ricardo Silva blew the coverage. I guess that’s why Silva was a UDFA.
Full Squad: Third Down and Short Yardage Play
The offense ran two running plays followed by a short passing play. It was runs by Best and Brown followed by a pass to Burleson. Next, it was runs by Felton and Ian Johnson, followed by a pass to Finley. Finally, it was runs by Felton and Johnson again, followed by a pass to Burleson.
The Lions looked to be in game prep mode, while working the second and third units, for the most part.
QB Matt Stafford looks sharper than ever in his progressions and throws. Shaun Hill is still inconsistent and it’s becoming alarming.
The new running backs, Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell are coming along slowly as they absorb the playbook.
Tomorrow morning should be a dress rehearsal for Friday night’s exhibition game. I’m off to bed with X’s and O’s in my head.
Mike Sudds is a syndicated Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.