Thoughts and notes from day two of Lions rookie mini-camp!

Allen Park, MI


  • I watched intently for about 8 minutes when Martz singled out Stanton for work on his mechanics.  It was very insightful and the great thing was that Stanton was a complete sponge.  I will post the video for you to watch on Monday.  It was nothing flashy but for the diehard fan you will love it.  If you’re a casual fan that is not a slam, but the diehards will love to see the two interact together and see how Drew just soaks it up.
  • Sarge took extensive time with Ikaika Alama-Francis (IAF) and I watched just as intently at how not only they interacted but also at how he took it.  Sarge is a great guy but for as much as you hear about Martz being a taskmaster, he is as bad on the defensive side of the ball.  IAF again continues to impress me with his ability to move.  For his size he is very agile.  Again the pads aren’t on but I heard Sarge call him a Cory Redding type player and I don’t think that is fair.  He is FAR more mobile and quick then Redding.
  • Gerald Alexander as I promised you from yesterday got a lot of my attention.  I even watched some video of his Boise State vs. Oklahoma bowl game with my buddy Nick Cotsonika from the FREEP and let me tell you he loves to play football.  He has a nose for the ball and what I really liked today was that he was even helping out some of the guys in practice.  Now remember he doesn’t have to help out the other guys the chances they make this team are slim to none and slim just walked out.  It showed that he is a leader and that he is a take-charge kind of guy.  I love Bullocks who he will compete with but that is a problem he has and Alexander doesn’t.
  • A.J. Davis is plain fast.  I promised you that he would get a lot of my attention and he deserves it.  One on drill he was back in the deep third and was supposed to run back 25 yards.  What was amazing is that he caught DB’s that had a 10 and 15-yard head start.  He also is very aware and many of you may think that is a dumb statement so let me explain.  A DB has to have great field vision and awareness not only for the man he is guarding but for all that is going on.  If another receiver or a RB gets away you may be the final line of defense.  He actually was able to move over (with his speed) and pick off a pass in a drill that was not supposed to go to him.  That was one thing that peeved the staff with Bly last season.  He was so worried about the interception and his guys that how many times did you see plays go by him that he could have helped out on.  In the Tampa two the CB’s have to be aware and not only look to stop whomever they are assigned to but they have to look to help out elsewhere.  A.J. shows those skills.  Will he when the big boys join it?  I don’t know but for now what they saw and liked was prevalent today.
  • Johnny Baldwin again continued to excel.  Like I stated earlier with Alexander, he showed leadership by helping out the other guys.  Again you could here his barking of “yes sir” anytime someone yelled out direction and his motor was on high.  I specifically watched him do a drill twice because I was shocked at his athleticism.  It was very evident that the staff thinks he is special because he got plenty of attention.  I can also say that as clear as it is that Calvin is the offensive star head and shoulders above anyone at this camp, Baldwin is for the defense.  It isn’t even close.  If you watch defensive drills the drafted players stick out but it is very clear that Baldwin is a stud!  Yesterday he struggled catching the ball but today he couldn’t drop one.  Why is that a big deal you ask?  As the MLB he has to be able to intercept a nice pass coming across the middle or gets batted down.
  • Calvin Johnson is so athletic and smooth that he makes it look like he is taking a play off but then he has to wait for the ball.  He is so fast that it looks effortless.  I purposely watched for something to be critical about and just then he snagged a poorly thrown ball that was behind him with one hand while never breaking stride.  Please!  That was sick.  I have been around football my whole life and I have never seen anyone do anything with his body like that.  It is almost as if the upper part of his body swivels at his hips while his feet and legs constantly move forward.  Another thing that amazed me and many other people was how he caught the ball.  He caught it with textbook precision.  Away from his body and pulled it in.  I have been around football my whole life.  I cover the NFL and college extensively and I have NEVER seen a complete player like him.  If he can do this with the big boys (and we have no reason to think he can’t) then he is going to be special…real special!  Here is a tidbit.  He dropped two balls through the first four practices that we have been allowed to watch…nice!
  • Manny Ramirez is fun to watch.  Yes I know that I am partial to the big ugly lineman and I admit it.  He comes from the Texas Tech offense and if your not aware most O lineman stand anywhere from one to one and a half feet apart.  At Tech they stood almost three feet apart.  They just threw the ball around and had fun.  One thing is evident that he loves the contact and he loves being able to show that he is very agile and can run block.  I was really surprised at how athletic he is but also as flexible.  He was able to keep his hands and hips locked in one particular drill that I was shocked to see him do.