Detroit Lions Training Camp: Go Hard or Go Home!
What do you think about when you hear training camp? Practice? A new season’s about to begin? Or maybe even, A fresh start? To The Detroit Lions it means: Preparation, hunger, weeding out the weakest links and replacing them with stronger more resilient ones.
With the additions of RB Reggie Bush, S Glover Quin and DE Jason Jones in the off-season, it is very clear the Lions are about business this year. They are ready for more wins and another chance at getting to the playoffs. As the veterans walked into training camp on Friday, July 26, 2013 we could see the hunger and pain in their eyes as they took center stage at their Allen Park training facility.
Everyone was impatiently waiting to see what fifth year Quarter Back Matthew Stafford was going to do. As we all know the QB is the leader and carries the entire team on his back. He is judged, scrutinized and put under a microscope after every game, win or lose. This happens more so after a loss. Stafford looks good on paper, coming off a league record of 727 passes for 4,967 yards last season. He only completed 435 of those passes which lead to a disappointing 4-12 record. So Stafford wants to attempt fewer passes and be quote: “More explosive in the run game and a little bit more balanced.”
As usual wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who holds the NFL all-time record for receiving yards last season with 1,964 yards and 122 receptions surpassing the great Jerry Rice‘s record, came out at training camp breaking down the secondary. Going up against veteran cornerbacks Chris Houston and Ron Bartel, who are bigger backs. The addition of CB Brandon King gives them more depth. They also have the experience which makes a big difference when playing in key, crucial games. There’s also the younger backs like: Chris Greenwood, who was nursing a hamstring, that doesn’t have as much experience as he would like on the field but is a very physical guy that will make plays. Jonte Green, who was nursing a hamstring and Bill Bently have a little more game experience, are good physical playmakers. They just have to stay healthy and become even more physical and pick up the slack on game day. The rookie cornerback Darius Slay has all the right tools to be a good solid, raw corner. He just has to get that experience under his belt in training camp and preseason. With the presence of veteran safety Glover Quin on the field it will help our newest safety Trevor Coston to be more comfortable on the field. Caston replaced the old safety Ricardo Silva, who started six games for the Lions last season. He was getting third- and fourth- team reps in practice and was not eligible for the practice squad.
Bringing in veteran Running Back Reggie Bush, who signed a four-year $15.5 million contract in March, made it obvious in training camp that a lot of the pressure will be taken off of: WRs Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, who is coming back from a broken leg and TE Brandon Pettigrew. Teams will not be able to cover everyone so when one player is being double teamed, the others will have more room to be open, run, catch the ball and make big plays that will lead to more wins.
With all the additions and strategies that Jim Schwartz and coaching staff have come up with the real question still remains: Will it all be enough to win more games? Guess we will have to just wait and find out as we go into the preseason. Our home opener is against The New York Jets at Ford Field this Friday.