- The Lions completed their eighth 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 helmets and shorts in the afternoon.
- The team announced today that they have signed C Andy McCollum and C Nick Jones to one-year deals. Additional contract terms were not disclosed. McCollum, enters his 15th NFL season after spending the past nine years with St. Louis, eight as their starting center. Before joining the Rams, he played four seasons with New Orleans where he was also a starter. After initially entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns (1994), McCollum has played in 187 regular season games with 155 starts. He has also played in 10 postseason games (seven starts). Jones originally signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent following the 2007 NFL Draft. He remained with the Seahawks for most of training camp but was released and signed by the New York Giants in August. New York released Jones at the end of the preseason and he re-signed with Seattle following the 2007 regular season. After spending most of the 2008 offseason with the Seahawks, he was released in June.
- In other roster moves, the Lions released G Matt Butler and T Chris Patrick. Patrick, who hails from Ithaca (Mich.), signed with Detroit May 5, 2008 after participating in the Lions rookie mini-camp as a tryout player. He was originally an undrafted rookie free agent (2007) with the New York Giants but was waived during the preseason. Patrick played three seasons at Nebraska (2004-06) and declared for the NFL after his junior season. Butler, a native of Salisbury, North Carolina signed with the Lions May 12 as an undrafted free agent after a standout career at East Carolina. He was also a tryout player at the team's rookie mini-camp following the 2008 NFL Draft.Â
- 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 announced that the team will hold its "Black & Blue Fan Day" brought to you by Wireless GIANT Saturday, August 2 in Allen Park. The public practice will start at 3:30 p.m. at the Lions Headquarters and Training Facility, and gates will open for the event at 2 p.m. Due to the limited space, tickets, free of charge, will be needed for admission and are available for fans to pick up at 32 Wireless GIANT stores in the Metro Detroit area beginning Thursday (July 31) at Noon. A complete list of Wireless GIANT stores distributing tickets to Saturday's event is available on Detroitlions.com. Among the festivities taking place prior to the start of practice include visits by Lions' alumni and Roary, the team mascot. The Lions' flagship station 97.1 The Ticket will broadcast live from training camp throughout the day, featuring Detroit Lions Radio Network play-by-play announcer Dan Miller from 2-3 p.m. Miller will emcee Saturday's practice session and provide announcements throughout the workout. Additionally, live music will be a part of the events leading up to the start of practice. In the case of inclement weather, the event will be canceled and practice moved indoors and closed to the public. Fans are encouraged to visit Detroitlions.com for weather updates and any changes to Saturday's schedule. Information is also available through the team's Training Camp Hotline (313.262.2882).
- The Detroit Lions will open additional training camp practices to the general public at the Lions Headquarters and Training Facility in Allen Park. The general public is invited to attend Lions training camp Monday, August 11 and Tuesday, August 12 in addition to previously scheduled open practices (August 4-5). Training camp practice viewing areas at the Lions Headquarters and Training Facility in Allen Park have been increased to accommodate approximately 700 fans and access will be limited on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are two full squad practice sessions scheduled for Monday, August 11 that begin at 8:35 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Gates will open 30 minutes prior to each session. There two session open on Tuesday, August 12 are slated to begin at 8:35 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (special teams only).
- The 12th annual Detroit Lions Kickoff Luncheon presented by Tribute Restaurant and the Wisne Family and hosted by the Detroit Economic Club will be held on Wednesday, August 27, at Cobo Center, downtown Detroit. Lunch will begin at noon followed by the program that will feature Lions' head coach Rod Marinelli and the introduction of the 2008 Detroit Lions. The entire team annually attends the luncheon and awards from the 2007 season will be presented. Players receiving awards will include: Most Valuable Players Dominic Raiola (offense), Ernie Sims (defense) and Alex Lewis (special teams). Other awards will go to Gerald Alexander, Jared DeVries, Mike Furrey, Stephen Peterman, Cory Redding and Keith Smith. A portion of the proceeds from the luncheon will go to Detroit Lions Charities, the Lions' non-profit foundation that has donated more than $4.8 million to charities in Michigan. The primary recipient of Charities' proceeds from the luncheon will be Think Detroit PAL youth football, which includes approximately 3,000 Detroit children playing football in the nation's largest after-school tackle league. Tickets for the luncheon, which is open to the general public, are $60.Â To purchase tickets or for more information go online to www.econclub.org or www.detroitlions.com.
TRAINING CAMP ACCESS FOR GENERAL PUBLIC
Monday, August 4 will be the next 2008 Lions training camp practice sessions open to the general public. Practices begin at 8:35 AM and 4:30 PM. 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, The Roar & More team store, offering items such as official 2008 Training Camp and Sideline apparel, and concessions. Though autographs are not guaranteed, it is common for Lions' players and coaches to meet fans following practice sessions.
LIONS HEAD COACH ROD MARINELLI
On having interest in acquiring S John Lynch: "We've got a lot of depth (at safety) right now. He's a great player; (I) love him to death, wish him the very best. We're not looking right now."
On QB Jon Kitna's temperament during camp: "It's been very good leadership. We've really made these drills pretty competitive. You don't see a lot of seven-on-seven right now. It's a lot of pass under pressure- guys are competing hard."
On addressing last year's uneven season during training camp: "I think you address it every day by just being on the details. We had a chance for a couple wins at home and we got beat on details; doing things right. Sometimes the effort was outstanding, but to win in this league you have to do things exactly right, and (two) games that we lost at home ended up in the last couple minutes."
On what he's seen in training camp that he likes: "I guess I'll always work with the positive. I really love the energy coming out, and I think every day - we have not had a bad practice. The tempo's been very good, and they came out physical today. But it's a team that's going to come out and really play hard."
On whether there are some areas of the team that concern him: "I think once you start your preseason you see a little bit more, but what I want is: we're going to run the football; we're going to go down and we've got to commit to that and we have. We've got to run the ball and stop the run; do those things well and then you go from there."
On RB Kevin Smith's performance during training camp: "I think he's had a very good camp. Everything we kind of saw coming out in all the OTAs, some of the things that we've seen, I said: 'Well we've got to wait and see when we get the pads on him.' He's physical. The one thing he did in college is broke tackles. He's a strong back. So now we get into the preseason game and get another feel of him."
On if Smith is picking up the blitz's well: "Yeah - he's just relentless on SAM in there. I mean, this guy is just a good student. He's very prideful about his assignments; how he does things; the passing game. He likes this game of football, likes to play it."
On the status of S Daniel Bullocks, who is on the PUP list: "Everything that we have talked with Dean (Kleinschmidt) (about), we feel that he's going to be ready to go, and we're just trying to, just day by day, we try to expand him every day just to see if all of a sudden that knee blows up. We're waiting for it and they keep pushing it, and it's been good so far. You know what it is on PUP; if you make a mistake and take him off at the wrong time - it's devastating."
On whether there is a final hurdle for Bullocks to overcome before he can play: "I guess it's more between Dean and Daniel. He's ready to go. He's anxious. They pushed him pretty hard today. They really cut him hard and the big things I think, all this drill work you do, the one is that when you start playingâ€¦and you don't know where you're going. You're the reactor. And now you jam on that thing and go. Sometimes when you're doing these cut drills you can protect yourself a little bit. So each day we're trying to open it up a little bit and be smart. They think he's progressing very well. And so it's that fine line of a guy getting that football practice to be a good football player and making sure he's healthy."
On what Bullocks will bring to the team if he makes a full recovery: "I think he is really a good talent, he really is. He's got great range; great speed, size; he's a great tackler - I mean, he can hit. He's got good ball skills. He's a big time safety. We just have to get him back ready to go."
On whether Bullocks is a free safety or strong safety: "We play both. In our system we drop them both. We drop the three down in our weak side and our strong comes in. So they're interchangeable."
On whether he has to rein in LB Jordon Dizon's aggression: "I'm fine with that if we can control the environment a little bit. The one-on-ones, I'm fine with that. In team we just have to - I love the hitting, as long as they stay up. The only time we ever have a problem in practice is when guys go on the ground. When guys are on the ground, that's when you have problems. I emphasize it, and they're doing a good job. We're hitting, and we're staying up pretty well for the most part."
On how RB Kevin Smith is looking on the field: "I think that's one of his strengths. I think he can cut. I think you've seen that here, just the way he can cut. When he cuts, he makes that one cut and he goes northward. He's a vertical player."
On Smith's experience running this offensive scheme: "Yeah, he's done that. We saw 2,500 yards of it last year. And he's running in this system, so we like him, and that young fullback (Jerome Felton)."
On the extent of CB Brian Kelly's knee injury during practice: "Yeah, he's going to be fine. They took him out for a day - knee. You have to be aware of them."
On the status of LB Ernie Sims: "I think he's coming along fine. It's just a bone bruise, and it's more as pain permits right now - can't wait to get him back."
On T Gosder Cherilus's performance: "He seems to be growing and growing. The thing you love about him, he's got some fire to him. I mean, you see the fire going. So it's just a process. Compete and go earn that job. That's a big, tough, physical man."
On whether T George Foster is doing as well as expected in this system: "He seems like he's cut down mistakes. He's doing a better job of that - penalties and so forth. He's been in this system. I think he's having a solid camp."
On Dizon's potential to see significant playing time: "I think it comes down to day-by-day with the preseason games. It's kind of hard to speculate too much. But then there is. You've got to get your best linebackers on the field. But we're on it."
On the possibility of LB Paris Lenon changing positions: "I think Paris we're going to keep right there. He's going to be fine."
"I don't want to speculate right now. I just want to just see where we're going."
On whether LB Buster Davis could be a roster casualty based on numbers: "You have to keep working. We just have to define who those best guys are, and then once we get them there we just have to put them in positions. Some guys have to be position-flexible. Play a couple things (and) learn it. But he's physical. He's a good linebacker."
On whether it is easier for middle linebackers to transition to other positions: "Athletically, it's all the same. It's just the two, WILL and SAM, are similar. It's just that the MIKE back has got all the run through responsibilities and trying to read run-pass on cover 2. And It just doesn't happen in all your eight-man fronts, now he's a hook player.
"I think going outside to inside is tougher."
On DT Cory Redding being a leader in practice: "Oh he really has. His tempo is good, strong. He comes out ready to work every day. He is just a good tempo setter."
On the defensive players showing leadership traits: "That's all part of this thing and when you're playing good defense they hold each other accountable. That feeling comes. They start to hold each other (accountable) where the coach doesn't have to as much. That's coming."
On QB Dan Orlovsky's footwork improving: "He's getting better and better, I think, and he's getting the ball out pretty quick. He's doing a good job. He's moving around. He's getting better. Scot's (Loeffler) done a really nice job."
On how the new offensive schemes are coming together in camp: "When we get to the preseason games the first couple are tougher because you have everybody playing, you don't play everybody. But eventually what's going to really help us is when we start cutting on the back side. We don't cut in practice - we try to stay up at practice. The cutting is a really a big part of this offense. I like what they're doing. (Offensive Coordinator) Jim Colletto's done a great job; we've simplified this thing, guys are coming off the ball well and we just have to go to work at it and just keep committing to it."
On the fastest receivers and defensive backs on the team: "We got some speed now. Leigh Bodden can run. The kid can run. There's some speed. And even up front in that linebacker position - Ernie Sims can run. The speed is evident, right? It jumps out at you."
On how much the secondary hurt the defense's ability to stop the run in 2007: "A play will happen and a linebacker didn't fit right, a d-tackle gets knocked out of a gap, or a missed tackle. It's team."
"Keeping guys in the chute. Coming down and making the open-field tackle. That's where I think we've (improved) - I know we have. These guys can tackle. Dwight Smith can tackle; Daniel (Bullocks) can tackle and (Gerald) Alexander; these guys can - K.P. (Kalvin Pearson) can tackle. He can flat tackle. One thing with tackling is: understanding the defense and all the leverage to it. There's times last year I thought, we talked about always shooting your gun on the outside hip. It's just buying in and trusting. If a guy breaks down and that ball crosses your face, all your pursuit can't catch him. So turning that ball inside and taking your shot, you miss him, you shoot him inside, man, here comes the receiver."
On whether S Gerald Alexander is building upon his rookie year: "Oh yeah. He did some nice things last year for us. Smart, really tough, smart guy - really just steady."
On addressing last year's issue of procedural problems with the offensive line: "We have officials here every day. I chart them every day. (I show a list of them) on the overhead at nights. I make sure they see that we're charting them and looking. I classify them in three areas: there's concentration, those are concentration penalties; there's judgment penalties, (like) grabbing and holding; and self-control penalties, (like) taunting and late hits. So I've broken them down and we're just going to stay on them until we can do it right."
On having more fun with the team now that the players seem to have bought into his way of doing things: "It's great. There's so much energy. It's fun to coach. It's fun to be around these guys. They come out and they work. You see the tempo; the tempo's great, and it's like that every day. And they respond. They just want to be good, and they're willing to do whatever it takes."