Max DeMara of Lions 101 will spend part of this week and next visiting and watching the Detroit Lions during their training camp in Allen Park, Michigan. Armed with only a ballpoint pen and an index card, he'll jot down everything interesting and mundane that fans need to know prior to the 2013 season.
Not even threatening clouds could slow down the final Detroit Lions training camp prior to the preseason. Threatening skies quickly blew over, then periodically opened up again, leaving a cool, soggy day for practice. As far as simulating real game situations are concerned, the raindrops presented the Lions with a chance to feel what it's like to play outdoors in Chicago or Green Bay.
Today, with the extended amount of reps backups were receiving, it certainly looked as if the preseason was just around the corner. The Lions were all business as workouts got underway for the final day. The stretching and drills were the same, but the simulated action had a very different feel.
7 On 7 Drills:
-The first play run was a completed pass to Patrick Edwards, an odds on favorite to make the team. The second? An easier sideline route to Brandon Pettigrew, which was dropped. Pettigrew's ball security was a big story the past few years, and he vows he's gotten better, but it was an ominous way to start the day.
-Later, Pettigrew did redeem himself for his frustrating drop, making a nice juggling catch over the middle of the field for Matthew Stafford.
-Reggie Bush continued to impress running through the line and in the passing game. He's been giving linebackers and safeties fits underneath with plenty of foot speed and quickness, and that continued on Wednesday. It should be interesting to see how Bush looks against opposing defenses in the preseason.
-Michael Williams, not just a one trick pony with blocking, was used again in the passing game a few times and made a nice catch in the middle of the action. The Lions might be operating from a huge position of strength at tight end this fall, given Williams' dual abilities have been showcased the last few days.
-Drills took on a more serious tone, with the team going through what looked to be a typical preseason rotation. Stafford took a few snaps, then Shaun Hill, then Thaddeus Lewis, who received plenty of work today.
-Speaking of Lewis, when he saw time, Detroit's offense showed a bit of a new wrinkle, using the option and running Lewis into the line with mild success. It was an interesting look for a team more used to a shotgun offense.
-Defensively, the best play of the day was turned in by Jason Jones, who came free off the edge, blowing up a short pass, batting it back into the face of Stafford. That's the second time in three days the Lions have batted a pass, a statistic which they stand to be much improved upon in 2013.
-The Lions continue to make special teams a priority, focusing Thursday's work out towards short kickoffs, onside kicks and squib kicks. Those plays, while appearing mundane to the naked eye, often figure to be vitally important during games.
-After an interesting Tuesday kicking the ball, David Akers looked much more solid on Wednesday. Havard Rugland continued to make field goals with plenty of leg, but struggled a bit with accuracy. Still, both will have their chance to compete in the coming weeks with preseason games.
Play(s) Of The Day:
-Matt Willis, who had another fantastic afternoon given Ryan Broyles was sitting out of camp to rest, had a chance to make a major impression and did. Willis hauled in a beautiful pass along the sidelines, which registered audible cheers from the crowd. He's still a roster long shot, but everyone loves a training camp underdog story.
-With the entire team applauding and egging him on, former Lions' receiver turned team broadcaster Herman Moore slowly jogged on the field, lined up and then hauled in a beautiful fade pass from Matthew Stafford. Clearly, Moore's still got the hops.
Numbers To Know:
1, Batted pass by the Lions' defense today, courtesy of Jason Jones.
2, Batted passes seen in a grand total of four days of camp. The Lions figure to be much improved with length and athletic ability with raw power off the edge and high hands. Watch the batted pass statistics closely this fall.
8, Lions players who faithfully stuck around to sign autographs for fans despite the continuing threat of rain. Included were a few younger players along with heavy hitters Havard Rugland, Rob Sims, Israel Idonije, Stephen Tulloch, Sam Martin and Bill Bentley.
Quote Of Note:
"I'm just being patient." -Wide receiver Brandon Chambers, a one time Michigan State Spartan walk on, who said he expects to get a tryout next week with the Lions and was taking in the action. Chambers continually stressed how he's enjoyed the process of chasing his dream to play in the NFL, and signed plenty of autographs for fans after being discovered watching along the sidelines.
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