The Detroit Lions training camp officially opened six and a half hours ago but I can’t wait to tell everyone the first impressions, news and information. I know it’s still early, I gave the players one practice before analyzing the situation, but you know what they say about first impressions.
Training camp was allowed to start last Wednesday and it did for the Lions’ rookies, injured players and quarterbacks, who were able to come into training camp before the rest of the team. According to Jim Caldwell, the basic reason for this is for the players to be able to get integrated back into the system in smaller groups before full training begins.
Already, “the idea is to saturate them with the information, get them out on the field and watch them operate within that realm…”, the Lions held a team meeting Sunday with all the players to re-iterate team expectations and the four pillars that are to be addressed throughout the season. The expectations for the team are to have “the right kind of Lions DNA, and that’s a smart, a fast and a physical team.” Caldwell described an actual Lion in this statement and we can be sure to expect physicality and explosiveness to be a recurring theme.
The first full squad practice was today at 3:30 p.m. and here are the most notable and newsworthy events:
Golden Tate has been removed from the physically unable to perform list meaning the new star wide receiver was in full force at practice today.
Darius Slay was well aware of Tate’s presence as his coverage of the newest Lions wide receiver was impressive. Slay broke up multiple passes intended for Tate while showing the coaches aggression at the cornerback position shouldn’t be a major problem this year.
Calvin Johnson had a lesson of his own for the young cornerback, handily beating Slay on the very first play of camp. Johnson unsurprisingly showed the world once again that he will be the biggest weapon for the Lions this year.
In other not surprising news, Matthew Stafford started the day out shaky, missing a few targets, including the first pass to Johnson. However, the quarterback got better later in the day and has expressed overall confidence .
Eric Ebron dropped a few passes today which has been the area of concern surrounding this year’s draft pick out of UNC, but keep in mind this was his first real practice so I’m giving him a pass on the day.
Ezekiel Ansah hasn’t been removed from the PUP list. On this issue, Caldwell has stressed the importance of focusing on the players available to train now and let the healing come for the defensive end in it’s own time.
As a whole, the team was extremely organized and efficient. There were more reps, more push-ups for mistakes, and more players getting touches on the ball than there has been seen in previous years.
The first open practice will be Wednesday July 30 at 7:30 a.m. Breakout players are poised to emerge within the next few days and we will be keeping an eye out for the all the best news from Detroit.