- The Lions completed their fifth day of two-a-day practice sessions today at the team's practice facility with morning and afternoon workouts. Both practices took place on the outdoor fields. The team worked out in full pads in the morning and in shells (helmets and shoulder pads) in the afternoon.
- The team announced today that they have signed FB Alan Ricard. Ricard spent five seasons with Baltimore (2001-05) and played 55 games (30 starts) with the Ravens before being released prior to the 2006 training camp. He was originally a rookie free agent for the Dallas Cowboys in 1999 but was released during the preseason. Ricard was a three-year starter at N.E. Louisiana where he played in 34 games with 21 starts.
- WR Devale Ellis, RB Kevin Jones and DT Shaun Rogers remain on the PUP list and did not practice today.Â
- Rookie QB Drew Stanton also did not practice today. He will have his knee scoped to clear out loose cartilage and be evaluated week-to-week.
- The Detroit Lions will hold an open practice at Ford Field on Saturday, August 4, 2007. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. The Lions practice is free to the public - no ticket is necessary for entry. Fans can enter Ford Field at Gate A or Gate G. Practice will begin at 5 p.m. and will last until approximately 6:30 p.m. Immediately following practice, Ford Field will broadcast former Lions TE Charlie Sanders' 2007 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on the video boards. Parking will be available in the Ford Field Parking Deck on St. Antoine St. for $6.00 until 6 p.m. or until the deck is full. Autographs will not be available at the public practice.
LIONS PRESIDENT AND CEO MATT MILLEN ON THE DEATH OF BILL WALSH
On playing against Bill Walsh teams: "Every year (in the preseason) - we played him a lot. I was fortunate to get to know Bill pretty well. Bill would always share anything he could with you, because he loved the game and he just loved football. Going against a Bill Walsh team, you knew you always had to be at your best, obviously, because he was a detail guy in every aspect of it. He was a discipline guy, so you knew that his teams reflected that. I think if you really wanted to look at what embodied what Bill Walsh was, really, it's Joe Montana. That's what he was. Joe, he didn't make any mistakes; he knew where everything was; he wasted very, very little of anything; he always took what was there and ultimately won all the time."
On how Walsh impacted the NFL: "(He) changed the way our game is played. Very few people do that. I think in this era right now, people who have influenced our game and who changed the way the game is played, or just kind of changed course of football, Bill Walsh is one of them. We have another one too: Al Davis is another one. There are guys who have come through who have just had an impact and in every playbook there's a Bill Walsh section. You don't have to call it that but it's all in there. His arm shoots a long way in this league."
On how Walsh impacted football on all levels: "You can watch any game: professional football, college football, high school football and even little league football - you can see Bill's influence. So that hasn't changed and it won't."
LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
On QB Drew Stanton's injury: "We have to get it (scoped) and take care of the injury. We need to go in and get him healed. The other three (Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky, J.T. O'Sullivan) are doing well also. We have Dan (Orlovsky) in there banging away. (O'Sullivan) from the world league is surprising. Have you had a chance to look at him a little bit? He has a very compact, quick release. He is a quick study. You find the guys who are really hungry, and Mike (Martz) has a special way with those types of guys. We will let it work and play out. Hopefully we will get Drew going here. We have to let things progress and see where we are at."
On if Stanton will have to go on the reserve/injured list: "Before I go down that road I want to see where he is at. Otherwise it is speculation here or there and I don't want to speculate until we have solid information."
On QB J.T. O'Sullivan's decisiveness: "That part is just mind-boggling a little big because we have had so many guys come into this system and it is a hard system to learn. It is as hard a system as you could imagine learning offensively. The guy is just sharp and you could see that very early. We like him on his world league film. He had that real, nice compact release which really fits. He has good arm strength. He has got nice mobility. Everything is going well right now and then preseason games will help filter things out, but so far so good. We like him and the movement is sharp."
On WR Shaun McDonald's injury: "We just have to be smart with him. But boy is he quick."
On how McDonald fits on this team: "When we get into a four-wide receiver set. That is a big part of this package, when we jump into four wide. You have some coverage problems because sometimes you may have one nickel going one way and then you will have a (linebacker) matched up on him."
On using McDonald as a punt/kick returner: "Oh yeah, we have to work him there. Then you start getting quads and then you've got your runner in there too. The speed we are simulating or athleticism is really good. We just have to keep practicing football. He has been more of a punt returner, but he gives you more guys competing for that spot. That's the part you like; you can't have enough of those guys."
LIONS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE MARTZ
On the offensive performance thus far through training camp: "We haven't peaked. We're still putting things in. We've got a lot of things in, now we're going back to polish it up. The effort is really good; the attention to detail is really good. I think (offensive line coach) Jim Colletto has been a terrific addition for us. He's a taskmaster with great attention to detail. It has really paid off for the offensive line. I'm pleased with the progress, I really am."
On progress in the running game: "We have spent a great deal of time so far on the running game. I think Tatum (Bell) has really stood out as well as Brian Calhoun. I'm really pleased with the running game and what we are trying to do. We still need to understand it a little bit better with all the different things our defense does and the adjustments we have to make. For as long as we've been in camp, I am impressed with the progress - certainly."
On RB T.J. Duckett playing fullback: "We move him around all over the place, he plays both."
On if he was unhappy with Duckett's performance at running back: "Don't start that. Don't do that. That has nothing to do with it. His stature allows us to use him in that capacity. You wouldn't think of taking Aveion Cason and doing that. But if Aveion was big enough we certainly would. It allows us to put two runners in the backfield, and one is physical enough to be fullback. We're just trying to take advantage of all the players' strengths, and that's a strength of his. He can do anything; we're just trying to find out what he cannot do. He has been able to do all those things very well, which I wasn't sure whether or not he would. That is a different thing, asking a tailback to go in there and block like a lead blocker. He wasn't reluctant at all. That tells you something about T.J."
On having strong competition at every position: "We don't feel short anywhere. We're not trying to find somebody to play this or that to mend something, which was the case here last year certainly. No, we are very pleased with the personnel we have at both ends and the competition that you need."
On using camp to experiment with players' differing abilities: "Absolutely, we try and put them in different situations to find out if they are a good receiver, or to find out if he can run a reverse. For instance, the quarterback J.T. (O'Sullivan) is new; I'm trying to find out about him so we are practicing him a lot. I give him stuff that I haven't covered, just give him a play and see if he can figure it out. Guys that can do that have a little something special. He has done real well with that so I am really pleased with all three QBs at this point who are practicing."
On if QB J.T. O'Sullivan's performance as been a surprise: "He has. He really has. He has been remarkable. He surprised us enough to the point where we feel like we need to look at him real hard right now. He and Dan (Orlovsky) are in a pretty good competition. Neither one of those guys have the lead certainly. We need to give him a lot of reps so we can look at him fairly with Dan (Orlovsky)."
On if O'Sullivan yelled at TE Darnell Sanders: "No, I was yelling at him to be honest. That was me yelling."
On how much WR Calvin Johnson has missed thus far through training camp: "You can't explain it. You are getting about a month of practice in 4 or 5 days really with everything being crammed in there. It's unfortunate that things work that way, it really is. You can't do anything about it; you can only coach the guys who are here so (you can't) worry about it."
On when Johnson's absence becomes a real problem: "It's not a problem. If he is not here we will go with the other guys, that's just the way it is. I don't worry about that stuff; I just don't worry about it. When he is here, he's here. Mike (Furrey) is a pretty good player right now and we are pleased with him. I don't worry about those things, I really don't. When he gets here, if he is ready he's ready and if he's not he's not. Those are all hypothetical things."
On how much further ahead the offense is this year compared to last year: "It is not so much what material we can put in as how well they can do what we have done. It's not remotely the same team right now. Not remotely. I am very pleased with all aspects. We make our mistakes and we are learning what to do in a lot of areas, but we are talented and trying to do the right thing. That's all you can ask. It's a different team completely, a totally different team. Coach Marinelli has done a remarkable job getting this team together and getting it ready to play. They understand what we want."
On QB Jon Kitna's performance: "He is ready to play right now. Jon (Kitna) is far enough along right now where we would could start tomorrow. That is why we gave him the whole day off yesterday to rest his arm. We have got to take care of him. He is playing at such a high level now, so we are trying to be careful with him. The protections and the routes, we are just working through all those things. There is really nothing you can give him that he can't do right now."
On why QB Jon Kitna is performing so well: "He knows instantly. He has a feel right away. The recognition and reaction to what he sees is real comfortable for him. Boom, he knows the discipline of what we do and has really adapted to it."
On if the receivers have to catch up to him: "Yes they do. They are very close. (Shuan) McDonald and Mike (Furrey) and Roy (Williams) are outstanding in that respect. Troy (Walters) has done a good job, we have got several others too. That first group is knocking rust off pretty good."
On the offensive line being bigger this year: "It affords us an opportunity to do something different in the offensive line and the running game. We are more of a zone team. Jim (Colletto) has such a great way with understanding what we want to do in the running game. We are very specific with what we want to do. We are going to take advantage of the size of these guys."
On not having a strong goal-line running threat last year: "Anytime the area is condensed like that, the zones are condensed into little patches. There is just so much you can do. You have to be able to run the ball effectively. If you can't do that, the red zone offense is in trouble. When you can run the ball very effectively, whether it is third down or not, the threat of the run back there takes a lot of the pressure off and forces different defensive looks. That is part of it certainly. Just the tempo and intensity tunes up down there, and we just didn't do a good job handling that last year."
On if linebackers are key in the red zone: "Remember now, (linebackers) are not backing up. They are right there. Everything happens so much faster and the wholes are tiny. Everything is just really fast, tight, and quick. You have to be able to keep the defense on its heals somewhat by the threat of running the football."
On what he attributes WR Mike Furrey's success to: "He is just a special individual. He has competitiveness and his confidence. The first thing people say is that he is an overachiever. He is not an overachiever, he is a talented guy. With what he has, we get it all. He has better speed than people realize. He is really diligent in every part of his game. If you were to expect perfection from a wide receiver, Mike (Furrey) would be the one to get it."
On if G Edwin Mulitalo is rusty: "Somewhat. Who knows? At camp you are looking at so many different guys in so many different lights with so many different groups. That all starts to really define itself midway through the first season. To grade a guy right now wouldn't be a good thing at all for anybody really. It changes dramatically over the next three weeks."
On if Mulitalo or G Stephen Peterman would be a starter right now: "The season doesn't start today. Ask me in three weeks. (Edwin) Mulitalo is our starter right now. Damien Woody is our starter right now. Those guys are our starters right now. But like we just got done talking about, that is going to change over the next three weeks. Guys are going to play better in practice and in games. Nothing is etched in granite. It just isn't. You have to compete all the time, but we are fortunate to have a second group in the offensive line which is pretty remarkable - particularly when you consider the situation last year."
On CB LaMarcus Hicks's interception in practice: "That was a heck of a catch. We will probably campaign to get him on our side of the ball tonight."
On what he values most in a backup lineman: "I think the guys who are in a backup role really need to play two spots, and most of them can. They are trained that way. Since the time they are in high school.Â Very rarely does a center, guard or tackle go through their whole career that way. They always end up with dual responsibilities. It is not something that is unusual, but really in the second group you are going to have to have a couple guys effective in several positions since you can only have 7 or 8 up. A guy like Blaine Saipaia, he knows several positions and that's to his credit and will help him."
On QB Drew Stanton's injury: "I don't know anything about it, I really don't. I know they were checking him today. I don't know how it came out or what was said or anything else about it."
On if the receivers talk to former Lions TE Charlie Sanders: "I think we all feel really good about being identified with somebody like Charlie (Sanders). His presence is (important). I know the players visit with him all the time. I'm sure they do, Roy, and all these guys. I'm not aware of it, but when I talk to Charlie he is such a great pro and such a great standard for this league based on what he was able to accomplish. He is an awesome, awesome standard for these players."
On problems in short-yard situations last season: "All of our short yardage problems, when you go back and look at it, our overhaul of the offensive line will dramatically affect that. (Kevin Jones) is a terrific short-yardage runner. He has two runs over 40 yards on 3rd-and-one if you recall. It's not the run. We had an awful lot of different guys on the offensive line throughout the season. Any of those types of situations that happened last year just don't have any carry over for this year. It's just a whole different situation with that group up front. Its different guys and a whole different thing. I'm not concerned about it, I'm really not. I think we will be exceptional in that. What we are doing and the guys we are doing it with will lend itself to a great deal of success. I'm not worried about it."
On being hopeful that RB Kevin Jones will be the starter: "I just don't want to think about it because you don't know what is going to happen there. Just like Calvin (Johnson), he is not here so you can't wait for him and worry about him. You go and do what you can with who is here. When you go back and look at him last year, we were awful upfront in a lot of respects. If you get a guy off the street and he has to start that week, he doesn't know what you are doing. You have a back making runs and doing some things that he shouldn't be about to do but he did. He is a real powerful runner with speed. He really played well last year. He will come in and compete with Tatum (Bell) for (starter). Tatum (Bell) right now is at a different level. He is better than I thought he would be to be honest with you. When (Kevin Jones) comes in here, those two guys are going to battle."
On what he likes about RB Tatum Bell: "He is the whole package. He has good run reads and change-of-direction. He and (Kevin Jones) are very similar in that respect."
On Bell's reputation of being a one cut running back: "That's what (Denver RBs) are coached to do in their running game. They tell them: 'you have one move and that's it.' That's what they (told) him he has to do. That is Denver's offense. That is the zone scheme that they run. We are similar to that in some respects, but he has so much juice to him that he can just go. He has taken our offense and learned it so well that he doesn't make any mistakes. He is catching the ball extremely well. He is playing at such a high level right now; we are very pleased with him. When (Kevin Jones) comes back that is a terrific combination."