DETROIT LIONS DAILY UPDATE FOR SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2008 and TRANSCRIPT OF LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARNELLI

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DETROIT LIONS DAILY UPDATE FOR SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2008TODAY'S NEWS

  • The Lions completed their fourth day of two-a-day practice sessions today at the team's practice facility with a morning and afternoon workout. Both practices were held on the outdoor fields as 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 WR Eric Fowler to a one-year deal. Additional contract terms were not disclosed. Fowler, a Michigan native (New Haven, Mich.), was a standout receiver at Grand Valley State where he garnered various honors, including: AP first team All-American, Don Hansen's Football Gazette first-team all-NW Region, Daktronics first-team All-American and D2football.com first-team All-American. He entered the league as an undrafted free agent for Pittsburgh following the 2007 NFL Draft but was released at the end of the preseason. Fowler eventually joined St. Louis' practice squad December 12, 2007 and then re-signed with the Rams following the season but was released July 22, 2008.
  • In other roster moves, Detroit placed WR Reggie Ball on the Reserve/Injured list. Ball sustained a knee injury during Friday's (July 25) morning practice session. He originally joined the team as an undrafted free agent following the 2007 NFL Draft but was waived August 17. Ball joined the Lions practice squad December 5 and re-signed with the team following the 2007 season. 
  • S Daniel Bullocks, TE Dan Campbell, WR Shaun McDonald and G Edwin Mulitalo all remain on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and did not participate in practice today.
  • The Detroit Lions will open training camp to the public at their headquarters and training facility in Allen Park for a second-straight year. The general public is invited to attend Lions training camp July 29, August 1 and August 4-5. Both practice sessions (morning & afternoon) will be open on each of those days.

TRAINING CAMP ACCESS FOR GENERAL PUBLIC
Tuesday, July 29 will mark the first 2008 Lions training camp practice sessions open to the general public. Practices begin at 8:35 am and 4:30 p.m. Training camp practice viewing areas at the team's headquarters and training facility in Allen Park have been increased to accommodate approximately 700 fans on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parking is available in designated lots on Republic Drive near the Lions Headquarters and Training Facility. Gates will open 30 minutes prior to the start of each practice session (ex: 8:05 a.m. for 8:35 a.m. practice). Re-entry is not permitted and children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Personal belongings are subject to inspection upon entry and items not permitted into open practices include: professional cameras (lenses over five inches long and/or 50mm or above), any video camera, food, beverage, coolers, lawn chairs, blankets, umbrellas, backpacks or large bags. The fan viewing area features: bleacher seating areas, additional standing areas, a shaded tent area, TheRoar & More team store, offering items such as official 2008 Training Camp and Sideline apparel, and concessions. Though autographs are not guaranteed, it was common in 2007 for Lions' players and coaches to meet fans following practice sessions.


LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
On the scuffle between T Jeff Backus and DE Dewayne White:
"Lack of self control."

On if he likes to see scuffles occur during practice: "No, it's a penalty; it's a penalty. I want these practices to be physical, I want them to be intense, and I want mental toughness. Metal toughness is not responding; mental toughness is letting things go and playing the next snap. That's losing football when you do that. To me, there's three types of penalties: lack of concentration, lack of judgment, and then it's a lack of self-control and you can't have it. That's not winning football. So I'm not going to put up with that."

On possibilities of injuries occurring when players fight in practice: "That's part of it, but it's not how you play the game. If fighting was part of the game, I would practice it. I would. If fighting (was part of the game) - first period fight; it's not what we do so it's not what I want. It's not discipline."

On whether it's a question of players keeping their composure: "Self control is the word I've always used with them; just mental toughness and discipline. If something doesn't go your way, you can't let your emotions catch up. You've just got to stay focused. I love how hard (they're working), they're trying. They're working and they're hitting and these practices are physical, which they're supposed to be. But there's a certain etiquette you practice with; staying off the ground, not pulling guys down. When you lose self-control that's when the penalties come, that's when mental errors come, mistakes come, and we just got to keep working through it and I'm going to keep identifying it, and talking about it and make sure they know what I want."

On the quality matchup between Jeff Backus and Dewayne White during practice: "It's great. We have great matchups all across the board. Our receivers and our DB's, those are great matchups. It's intense and when you play a little bit more bone-on-bone football, I call it man-on-man, execution, it's about executing. It's about execution, every snap, and it's about discipline, it's about fundamentals. Once you lose your emotions sometimes your fundamentals, you lose that. So just focusing in on your energy and on the details."

On the length of practice, if it was cut short: "No"

On if he would take players out of practice to settle a dispute: "No. You never know - it may never stop."

On if his heart skipped a beat when LB Ernie Sims went down: "Yeah, for any player. But he's fine, I think he's fine, so we'll be okay."

On his high expectations for WR Calvin Johnson: "I expect him, really, we know his talent level and it's big. He's tougher than nails. We expect both those guys - that's a big part, that's why we're out here working as hard as we can to run this football and push it."

On the expectation that establishing the run will open up the pass: "Yeah, because you get some of those 1-on-1 match-ups out there, and you drop that extra guy into the box. Now you got some nice matchups, so we've got to make that happen with the attempts and physical, and then I think we can predict coverage's a little more when they've got to defend a little bit more. Those two big guys have a chance -there as good as anybody in the league, those two guys."

On Johnson's back injury that he sustained last season: "He's been fine. Every time he jumps I close my eyes. I go, 'Oh Boy.' He does not quit on any play; he won't quit on a play. That's a good thing."

On working on Johnson not landing on his back: "At times we will get them up high, because he's going to go out and rebound most people. When you get up, you got both hands on the ball, it's not like rebounding a basketball you got feet under you. I'm very cautious talking to them all the time. You just got to be smart and competitive."

"Sometimes we just put it up. When we get some single coverage, we got to put it up - let's go make a play."

On whether he's going to be stubborn about establishing the run: "Oh yeah. We have been stubborn every day in practice. We're coming out; it's simple and there's enough to it and we really get these guys off the ball. Some of the naked's and things like that, that helps, with some of the boots, play action and just trying to find ways to go to our play makers out there. Those two guys are two great players. So we have to make sure and we them the ball."

On the fans enthusiasm during the practice: "They were awesome; I love it. All the kids, they bring the kids out. I say it to them all the time it's a great environment for kids to come to a practice like this and see professionals working and it's awesome."

On fans seeing the fighting: "No, I apologized for that, that's not right. I don't want that. I mean, we don't win. A fight is not a winning play. You can't do that. How emotions go, I understand about that. But the team that can control their emotions is the team that has the best chance, I believe to win. When everything is equal, when you get everything equaled out, not making mistakes, controlling your emotions, staying that play, and they have been doing great. This is the first day it kind of got off."

On how the everyday battle between Backus and White should help Backus: "It's two highly competitive, two good players going after it - Dewayne(White) needs that work too. There competitive as heck out there. We had a lot of team (drills) today. We had 30 minutes of individuals and then it was team. I love that part. You can really see who can play in that team environment."

On the value of DT Chuck Darby and his previous experience in this defense: "He's been great for the whole team. Just who he is; he's a guy that nothing was given to him at all; he' (been) a free agent, European league, fought to make a team, and then just made a career. It's good to see guys like that. He comes to practice with that same look he's had his whole career because he knows. He knows he's got to come to practice every day; and he knows the system and he's tough and physical."

On whether Darby's attitude rubs off on other players: "He comes every day to work and has a smile on his face. He really does; he likes football. Those types of guys really benefit your team."

On the importance of bringing in players like DT Chuck Darby who love football: "Oh yeah. That was a few of these guys who understand the system and grew in the system, and the system has helped their careers. It has been a nice mesh so far."

On the progression of the offensive line: "Really, we just simplified some things, and we're really trying to pound that zone play. Probably the fastest way to get a running game going is a zone, where you get guys going off the ball. What we can't do right now in practice is cut on the back side. That's a big part of this, where you cut those guys on the backside. We've taught the defense that the guard will come and kind of grab and jerk you a little bit. That back has got to see that backside of the gap. Right now it's always slammed because there's no cutting, and he doesn't get the right reads sometimes. But the onside is just - you can see the get off on both sides of everything. The tempo is really good."

On whether they're installing signature plays that they can rely on in certain situations: "What we're doing right now we'll do all year long. It's just inside, outside-zone, some variations, we'll add some here or there but it's getting those guys knowing in a groove; getting those older guys, just get into a groove and go."

On S Daniel Bullocks and the rest of the guys on the PUP: "We really worked Daniel (Bullocks) hard on the cutting and we're trying to wait everyday to see how he responds. So far it's been good. On that one, it is so tough because if you do get him up and it's not able, two or three weeks, five weeks, four weeks away then we've put our self behind the door. He's doing good and the cutting is good. Now it's cutting when you don't know where you're cutting - that's the next step. (Shaun) McDonald is doing really good too. Now it's about conditioning. He hasn't had a chance to condition very much with his leg. So now it's running and cutting and conditioning. Dan (Campbell) is doing is fine, Campbell, I think is really good. We're just cautious of not jamming it. And Edwin (Mulitalo) is doing fine with that elbow, we just don't want to gamble with guys, yet."

On running backs in pass protection: "Yeah, we get it every day now. We get 15 minutes of live blitz every day out of them, so we got people coming down their chin. It's not just the protection part, it's who to block. That's as much as anything: who to block, and how to block. That's something we come along with; we're giving them a lot of stuff."

On identifying who the kick returners will be: "Not yet. Yeah we got a group of guys, we have to make sure they know how important that is because we're dealing real estate now - got to add some real estate. So we've got to make sure to get the right guys, but the No. 1 thing I'm still looking for is guys who are sure handed, I don't want turnovers, and no penalties. I don't want to go backwards. That's a great start in the return game. And we've been hammering the coverage part too."

On having several veterans on the kick coverage units: "Yeah, we do. We've got some guys that have made a living on special teams. We got Teddy (Lehman) back; KP (Kalvin Pearson) - that's how he made this league. I think we've got some real good guys.