Lions OTA

Allen Park, MI


  • For all of the hype, Calvin Johnson continues to shine.  With only three media people at the practice to actually see it, CJ somehow twisted his body and contorted himself in a way that would have made any yoga instructor smile and caught yet again another one handed catch.  I yelled out to Hall of Fame TE Charlie Sanders if it reminded him of himself and he just smiled and told me “no, I used Stickum!”  What a great one-handed catch and he was instinctively able to bring it to his body and cradle it. 
  • Tatum Bell really shined today.  He is very explosive and fast.  The issue isn’t his speed however, it is what happens when the pads come on and the guys start hitting.  He had incredible effort today (which he always does) and his work ethic is impressive.
  • T.J. Duckett yet again is the talk at the team headquarters.  One player called me last night and told me about a workout he had seen earlier.  “That guy is a freak.  It is going to be hilarious watching some of the defense actually try to take him down.”  For a 250-pound man who can run a 4.4 and bench over 500 pounds he moves effortlessly.  One person mentioned to me today that if you weren’t careful you would think he wasn’t working hard because he makes it look easy. One particular drill the players were doing where you put your feet in specific squares laid out with rope really made this point obvious.  Bored, Duckett started jumping tow footed…into them all.  There is no trepidation on the staff’s part.  He can catch, he can run and he can run over.  Again the Lions are really blessed to have him and Bell, and if KJ is fully recovered they have three #1 backs.
  • Speaking of KJ I spoke to him today and he is looking good.  I still hope for a regular season return and he told me how well he is feeling but the experts tell me not to bet on it and with some other info, I don’t see it.  Trust me, I don’t care if I am wrong on this one, I just don’t see it.  The Lions have the luxury with T.J. and Bell to not have to rush him.  I know that KJ feels the pressure but I also know that the Lions will be smart.
  • Once again for an optional team activity (OTA) under Rod Marinelli the Lions have 100% attendance.  Before you start the emails asking about Cory let me spell it out: Redding was not there he is not signed and cannot attend.
  • I thought we would see more out of Anthony Cannon.  He is not a star but I do think he is a quality role player and today was not a good practice.  He was out of place and seemed a little overwhelmed.  He seemed during the mini-camp to be the same.  Here is hoping he gets it together, he is one of the real good guys.
  • Devale Ellis did everything but get a blimp to point at him to let the coaches know that he wants that last WR spot.  He was on the money and frankly ran the sharpest routes and most precise routes.  Martz singled him out twice for getting to the spot.
  • Someone either emailed or in a chat I do for a Lions message board (I don’t remember which) told me that Kitna can’t hit the deep route.  Of course keyboard courage helps people make comments that they aren’t accountable for, Kitna over threw Furrey and CJ today but remember he can’t do that.  I had a nice laugh after practice about that with a few guys. 
  • Alex Lewis continued to look good today.  On 7 on 7 drills he made two really good break ups that weren’t even his plays to make.  He in my opinion is just a great kid and so athletic, I love to see good people succeed.  Hey parents, let your kids like Lewis, he is the real deal.  I have two sons and forget his football ability.  If they turned out like him as a man I would be so proud.  It is great to see him playing at a high level. 
  • Gerald Alexander today was on fire.  He has a lot to learn and a few times was out of place (which is very much expected at this point) but he is so athletic.  He stepped up and made a huge play that made me do a double take on my roster to make sure it was him.  He could be special.
  • If you didn’t see the NFL Network feature on Mike Furrey find a way.  Mike is my buddy and I want you all to know it was special.  I joked with him today about making my wife cry when he started. Again he is yet another great example about what the Lions are doing with character people.
  • I had a great talk with Kalimba (the video will get up soon with these new stupid NFL rules) and let me tell you he really has grown.  We talked about him making my have to roar article and he agreed.  He told me “last season I came in with all this pressure and coach never let up on me.  Then we go to Dallas and he benches me.  I had to learn to re-apply the pressure not let it stay on me.”  He agreed with my article and I think he will be just fine. He admitted my criticism by saying “before I could just show up and get a sack or so with my athletic ability.  Now coach is telling me what I am going to do.”  I am glad that he has embraced the expectations.  My critiques were fair and he took them as such.  I sure am rooting for him.
  • Stanley Wilson also looked very good in drills.  He was step for step today on several drills.  I can tell you that the Lions saw his potential last year but as you all know he would be out of place.  He seems to have really worked on positioning and technique and today it showed.  He has the physical abilities and with no pads, it sure looks as if he is growing into the role.  He told me after practice “I love to hit and take people down, don’t let my size fool ya now, I am bringing it.”
  • Marinelli is ready to go.  Let me tell you the players love the guy but here is the biggest difference.  He is not a liar.  He is the man of character he wants his men to be.  Last year he never once told the media (or me privately) that this was a good football team.  He told us that they were becoming one and all of that but he never stamped them as good.  I was laughing with him today and he flat said it “this is a good football team.”  Critics can rip him but I for one believe him.  I don’t think this is a Super Bowl team.  I do think it is a good football team and it has been nearly a decade since we could say that around here.
  • Another CJ note.  In the last mini-camp I noted how people struggled to contain him.   He still made his circus catches but the DB’s held their own today.  Like one Lion said after practice:  “it just has to make the DB’s better with all that talent over there to go against every day.”  Concurred!
  • As expected Stanton got limited reps but that is simply because he is number three.  He had a great throw on a line to T.J. that made my Spartan pride glow but he did look good and his throwing motion is visibly different.  Those of you who watched him at MSU will be able to tell the difference when pre-season starts and he gets lots of playing time.
  • I had a real nice interview with Boss Bailey also today and although he was out of position once and let a RB get a wide-open lane for a completion he is back to that rookie play we all loved.  His instincts combined with his speed is what made him look so good then and with his injuries fully recovered it is nice to see that old Boss back practicing.

Like I said people there are no pads and it is only May so we shall see the real development later.   The point is that if you couldn’t see the uniforms and where we were but looked at this team last year at this point and right now they are two totally different entities.  That is something in which to take notice of.  Make sure you check the site every day with lots of new video’s put up every day with many different players.  Sadly most of them can’t be archived due to the ignorant, stupid, and dumb new rules of the NFL and their ever-incessant desire to impress themselves.  By the way, I know some people are irresponsibly blaming the Lions for this and I can tell you for a fact it was not them at all.  Goodell made this decision on his own and it wasn’t even brought up to a vote of the owners.