With the beginning of training camp starting for both rookies and veterans last Friday, there were some interesting things we can learn from the first week of practice.
Here is a list of five things that we can learn from the first official week of football.
1. The secondary is banged up.
The Lions have had problems for years keeping their corners and safeties healthy in training camp and throughout the season, this year is no different. Guys who were in an intense position battle for playing time at the corner spot are hurt.
Second-year player Chris Greenwood was sidelined for the entire 2012 season with injuries and this training camp has been no different. If he cannot make it onto the field to show what he has soon, he may spend a second season on the practice squad for the Lions.
Also safety Louis Delmas has been missing a lot of practice with his still sore knee. Last season Delmas was limited due to his knee and a groin injury and with a new contract he has been expected to play. He has sat out often this training camp with both scheduled days off (to prevent further injury) and needed days off due to the sore knee. This will be something to keep an eye on as preseason games begin and training camp continues.
2. Matthew Stafford has not been sharp.
Stafford may be the biggest key to the Lions' upcoming season. Last year he had a down year compared to the NFL standard and is looking to have a “bounce back” year. Reports from beat writers around Lions practice have not been so good for Stafford early on.
It is being reported that he doesn’t look “sharp”, meaning he is missing open receivers and throwing an above average amount of interceptions. Though this shouldn’t worry the most die-hard NFL fans because they know that can come with offseason rust, it is still note worthy to watch going forward. He had a good workout on Saturday, throwing only one incompletion in 7-on-7 drills. Stafford should work out the kinks and be ready for the start of the regular season.
3. Kickalicious is GQ.
Norwegian kicker Havard “Kickalicious” Rugland has been impressive in his first week in camp as an NFL. The kicker from Norway who has never played football in his life is making his case to make the final roster. After being signed by the Lions, Kickalicious was an unknown when it came to game speed kicking. After a few 11-on-11 drills, he has not missed a kick yet, including a booming 58-yarder.
Rumors from camp say he has the power and accuracy to kick 64-yard field goals “easily” and will put the heat on Akers. Also reports have surfaced that magazine “GQ” was at camp to do a piece on the kicker. After 21 long years with Jason Hanson, it has been fun hearing about a good old-fashioned kickoff coming from Lions camp.
4. Ndamukong Suh looks good.
You are thinking to yourself “of course Suh looks good, its Suh” but the big time defensive tackle has been unstoppable this week. According to teammates and coaches, Suh looks more focused as ever and is incredible physical shape.
The young offensive linemen have has tons of trouble with the Pro Bowl DT early on and its great to see. Last year was a disappointing year numbers wise for Suh and he wants to get back to those rookie year totals. Rookie guard Larry Warford has had the most trouble with Suh, getting beat twice in his one on one drills. If Suh and Fairley can come together, they may take the title as best defensive line tandem in the league.
5. Chad Johnson at Lions camp?
Veteran wide receiver Chad Johnson was seen at Lions practice this week. Though he was not trying out for the team, he had some good words to say. Johnson said he could “easily” see the Lions making the playoffs this season.
He was also asked if Reggie Bush would have a big impact on the offense. “The addition of Reggie Bush will skyrocket the offense,” Johnson said. Johnson was not asked to tryout but with the position battle at wide receiver, I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up for one in the near future.