Lions Mini Camp report from day two:


  • I promised you that I would fill you in on someone that looked great yesterday after I saw if he played as well today.  He didn’t.  He was better.  Edell Shepherd is his name.  He is a 6’1” WR that on the field with CJ, Roy, Mike and McDonald not only holds his own but also shines.  With Eddie Drummond basically on his way out the door and the Lions only keeping five WR’s, the last one will have to be able to handle the KR role also.  McDonald will handle punts so that leaves the battle to be in the hands of Shepherd and Ellis.  One of them will make it (barring injury) and it will be fun to see which one.  I think Shepherd has the better shot but it is way early.
  • The other four WR’s are Roy, CJ, Furrey and McDonald.  All have looked very good.
  • Precision was preached a lot today.  One thing that is really being stressed is learning to be in the exact spot.  In case you don’t know, the Martz system is about going to a spot and the ball being there.  That is why some of the criticism that Kitna got last year for interceptions was a crock because in some of the cases he was throwing to spots and the receiver never got there.  Today it was hammered about precision.  In one case a receiver was off of his mark by one yard and the coach that corrected him about had an aneurysm.  Funny as it was, it really talks about the level of coaching going on.
  • There was a rapid fire drill that was really interesting.  In case you don’t know that is when they take a piece of plastic rope that is about 8’ in diameter.  Half way around, they place a dummy on each side.  You basically keep as low as you can around the circle and smack your dummy like a QB about to throw the ball trying to create a fumble and thus a turnover.  Normally that drill is reserved for D lineman.  Well Joe Barry the DC ordered the entire defense to do the drill why loudly proclaiming:  “Everybody rushes the QB and creates turnovers on the Lions!”  I love that intensity and the need for create turnovers is being drilled into their head.  That was a staple in Tampa Bay with Sarge and Joe and it will be here also.
  • CJ made a one handed grab that made the entire team and anyone who was watching just shake their head in disbelief.  It was the most incredible catch I have ever seen after a lifetime of following football.  That man has mad skills.
  • Keith Smith the CB has played very well.  It may be a case of to little to late.  He has been around four years but if he keeps it up, there may be a spot for him.  After two days, I would say he was been a pleasant surprise.
  • If I were to categorize today I would say that the story was how the defense dominated the offense.  In 7 on 7 drills, which are essentially everyone but the FOUR D lineman and without the two guards and offensive tackles, they manhandled the offense.  It wasn’t even funny.  Now remember this is non-contact.  The offense always dominates at any level usually in this drill.  The defense was truly dominant.  Now before you get all upset this offense will be fine, but it was a clear sign from their brethren on the other side of the ball that they are a little unimpressed with all the love they O is getting and the lack of respect for the D.  Teddy and Paris were fluid and they didn’t look stiff.  They both moved so well and in one play, Teddy Lehman broke in the ball before it ever left the QB’s hands to break up a pass.  The WR was open when the QB released it but Lehman looked like he was back in Norman, Ok playing for the Sooners with that play.  I asked him after practice about looking like the Teddy of old and he agreed “Yeah I really feel that well and it just seems great to be back.”
  • I like Jon Kitna, and I think he is a good QB.  That said he had a really bad day.  Last year he had some fumble issues when late in the game he was trying to make plays and held the ball too long.  Today in those drills when the receivers were all covered he also had the same issues.  He missed some check downs and held the ball too long.  I am not real worried about it but he will not be allowed to have those same issues this season and when everyone is covered he will have to throw the ball away.  That isn’t a slam.  Joey got rid of it too quick.  Jon is competitive and that means he sometimes holds it too long.
  • Kenoy Kennedy was a force.  On three specific plays he made some great break ups and by the end of the day you could tell the Lions QB’s were visibly frustrated with Lions play from the safety positions.
  • IAF is not part of the drills but is stretching and he runs the entire practice.  At one point I watched three people in about a five-minute span try to stop him and he kept on running.  His work ethic will separate him.
  • Speaking of work ethic Mike Furrey is the lunch pale toting guy we all love and he again has demonstrated it this week.  He spent his day again on the outside and he continues to run such precise routes that even in coverage he gets the balls.  He has not run a bad route yet.  To really explain that let me put it this way.  Mike isn’t the biggest or fastest, but he is the best route runner on this team and that is why he signed a contract for millions and he led the NFC in receptions.  He gets to the ball and catches it.
  • George Foster the RT that we got in the Dre’ Bly trade with Denver sure looks good.  He is very nimble for a 340# man and he has such great extension and footwork.  There will always be someone whose negative slant is “if he was that good why did the Broncos trade him” and that is really simple.  They had a younger guy behind him and they liked him as much.  With Foster coming into a contract year they certainly tried to get something of value.  He is a value.  I have to wait and see him with pads, but I really like his handwork also.  When he gets a hold of a D lineman they struggle to get around him.  He may stink in pads, and I recognize that but for what he can do now I like it.
  • In 11 on 11 drills today (that the defense also dominated) I was pleasantly surprised with Kalimba Edwards.  I was very critical of the Lions for over spending to resign him.  He played terribly last season for most of the year but came on at the end.  He certainly has shown some explosiveness in this camp that Sarge thought he had and was willing to press Millen to pay for.  If he keeps that up that could really be nice.  Again, the defense dominated today and they all played well on that side of the ball.  It was just nice to see Kalimba being one of them.  No one ever has argued that he is a good guy.  It just is nice to see that coming out and him working really hard in camp.
  • Drew Stanton didn’t participate in the 7 on 7 drills or the 11 on 11 but that is simple because he has to get a better grasp of the playbook and really more importantly the system.  Martz didn’t feel it necessary to press the issue.  Drew is a smart and great kid and will be fine come camp.  He told me earlier “my life is going to be kind of boring with my head in the playbook studying.”
  • Paris Lennon and Teddy Lehman are really going to enjoy a nice battle for the MLB spot.  It has been fun watching them compete.  Baldwin like I said has the tools but not the fundamentals right now.  He is a little overwhelmed right now but he is fine.
  • One of you emailed me and called Ernie Sims Simzilla.  I love that and so did his teammates when I told them about it.  Let me just say this about Simzilla:  he is a bona fide stud.  He flew around today and just looked so sharp.  He was in the heads of the offense and let them know on several drills that they shouldn’t get real comfortable coming across the middle when they were in pads.  I asked one of the receivers after practice and he told me “don’t worry, I won’t!”
  • This is now a team.  The camaraderie is all over the place and they are excited about it.  One player that will potentially be a captain next season told me last night “I feel like we are the Lions now.  This state and these fans have been through and are going through so much.  They don’t want a crappy (my word) football team stinking up the town anymore.  They have the Wings, Tigers and the Pistons right now but we are their team.  They want us to do it.  It is my mission to give them that.  Forget it all.  I saw those people at the end of the season still cheering and still rooting us on.  My own parents didn’t go to the last (home) game.  I love those people.  Now you come in the locker room and there are no agendas, no issues and no drama.  I don’t think I am a problem but I went home last year and asked myself if I was the issue.  I don’t want to talk about anyone that is gone because we lost as the Lions.  All I know is that we all looked in the mirror and are holding ourselves accountable.  This is about a group of guys that get paid really well to play a game.  I shouldn’t need a coach to motivate me. We all want to win.  I don’t care what (Coach) says he is the reason.  He wants us to be men.  I think this team would eat radioactive waste for that guy.  When was the last time the Lions were a team?  Exactly!”
  • Don’t worry about the offense is what I told you and late this afternoon they showed why.  They came back and had good success against a defense that owned them this morning.  Very nice!

Shaun Rogers Update:
Like I said yesterday Shaun Rogers was his usual self yesterday at the start but in the late practice as well as today that was not the case.  Rogers got his stuff together and here are some nice quotes that he had:

“I’m just here to play ball, man. I just want to win some games. Whatever motivation that might be, that’s what it is.”
“I don’t put any parameters on myself.  It’s always hard when you lose. Then you go through a lot of other unnecessary things. Winning cures a lot of illnesses, especially in this game. Hopefully we can get some of these things cured.”
 “Sometimes things happen that you can’t control, and sometimes you’re humbled.   It’s always a good thing to be humble and levelheaded. So I take it in stride and come back and prepare like I prepared last year, and the year before and the year before that.” 
“I just feel high expectations will bring about more prosperous things.  The higher you set the bar and the closer you can get to it, the higher you achieve. I’m happy that he has so many expectations for me. I’m not going to do anything but try to live up to them.”
Lets all hold our breath and hope that he gets on course!  Shaun, I got to see it but I am rooting for you.