Postcard from camp: Lions
The Lions have trained at their year-round facility in Allen Park, Mich., since 2002, the year after they left behind Saginaw Valley State in Saginaw. Say what you will about Detroit's won-loss record, its spacious team complex is first-rate and easily accommodates the Lions' swelled roster during camp. On the Monday morning I was in camp, there was a pretty modest turnout of fans -- a couple or three hundred, maybe -- but they were rewarded with a fairly physical two-hour-plus practice session to take in.
Watching Culpepper Monday, I was struck by the fact that exactly 10 years ago right now, he was the vaunted quarterback of the future as Minnesota's first-round pick that spring, biding his time behind veterans
"Those guys all know the NFL, and they know that it doesn't matter what happened last year,'' Lions head coach
As we noted, there are plenty of candidates to choose from in this category, but Foote, coming over from the Steelers after winning a pair of Super Bowl rings the past four seasons, could be as impactful as any defensive acquisition. The eighth-year veteran is only 29, and as a native of Detroit and a one-time Michigan Wolverine, he wanted to come home and become part of the solution in Detroit.
Schwartz said Foote has had a calming presence in the Lions defensive huddle and lauds his ability to read and recognize the most subtle of keys on offense. He's showing the younger Lions defenders that intelligence and experience have as much to do with success as talent, and is rapidly emerging as the team's defensive leader.
"We have a lot of veteran guys who weren't here last year, so that 0-16 is not looming,'' Foote said. "But for the players who went through it, it's always going to be with them. We've got to build every day, there's no doubt about it. But if we come out and play, what a challenge, what a reward, to be able to turn this thing around. There's a lot out there for us if we want to go get it. We've got new players here and a different mindset that enough is enough.''
There's a lot to like about all three of Detroit's top picks -- Stafford, Pettigrew and safety
Peterson described for me a play last week in which Stafford seemed to be locked onto his intended target at tight end, but then fired an exquisite no-look pass to a different receiver on the other side once Peterson broke on the tight end. "I was like, 'OK, I see that's the reason you're a No. 1 quarterback,''' Peterson said. "He's well above the learning curve. Whoever has coached him up before he got to this level, somebody's done a good job of keeping him prepared, because he's very prepared.''
Believe it or not, the Lions have two quality options at quarterback in Stafford and Culpepper. How quickly Stafford can force his way into the lineup still isn't clear, but rest assured there's no echo of the
It's always a sickening sight when you see a player's season end suddenly in training camp, almost before it has even begun. Lions veteran defensive end
The Lions were already in search of more bodies on the defensive line, and were coincidentally playing host to ex-Brown
1. Kind of interesting that the Lions two coordinators,
2. The Lions seem intent on not spending a lot of time this preseason telling people they're not the Lions of old, they'd rather wait until the regular season and show them. Talk has been very, very cheap in Detroit for a long time now, so that's exactly the right call.
3. If Stafford gets a grip on the Lions' starting job, it might be because of the hold he has on the ball. The rookie QB told me he loves throwing the NFL ball in comparison to the NCAA model. "It just feels better in my hand than the college ball,'' he said. "It's just a little fatter. I love it. I love throwing it.''
4. Once he gets healthy and completely immersed in the Detroit offense, Pettigrew is going to be a real weapon as both a receiver and a blocker. At some point in the near future, Lions fans won't be second-guessing his first-round selection any more.
5. He's not