Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday, August 7th, afternoon practice only.

After nearly 4 hours on the road I (we) made it to Allen Park with 3 minutes to spare. Grabbed the cameras, locked the car, walked with the wife to the end of the parking lot, realized I forgot the wallet, went back to car, got the wallet, locked and caught up with wife on the way to the bleachers to watch the practice already in progress. Then realized I forgot my pad of notepaper and my pen.

So instead of missing more practice I stayed. Big mistake, can’t remember half of what I was going to write. I hate being rushed, too easy to forget things.

Okay, so, the Lions.

I was sitting right in front of where the linebackers were working on individual drills. Off to the right were the tight ends. Off to the left were the running backs. Way way way across the field was the rest of them. (There are 2 football fields there, side by side, and most of the team was on the back (furthest away) field, which was okay for individual drills, but the 7 on 7 drills and all that sucked as far as seeing what was happening goes).

Sims went first on each LB drill. The man is possessed! He is so ready to go hit someone it’s ridiculous. He would hit the equipment like he was trying to destroy it and he didn’t much care. He was definitely the best at squaring up and smacking the heck out of the equipment. Levy twice took two tries to square up for a good solid hit, he would be ranked as the worst of the group (in that one drill, not as the worst LB). Peterson was the most vocal, trying to get the crowd riled up. A regular comedian. Looked right at me when he commented on how hard Sims had hit the sled. “That’s the way you do THAT!”

At one point a guy seated 3 spots over from me said something like “I could do that” (meaning he could drive into the sled like they were) and got a very dirty look from at least 4 of the LBs, including Sims. Thought they were going to come over and drag the dude over to the equipment to see what he could do. I wonder if those guys will make it to the first preseason game before they cremate someone.

Over at the TE area they were working on getting around a guy (one of the coaches) and then rushing a bag (one of those that wobble but do not fall down) smacking it (hard) out of the way and then continuing on. The first TE did it wrong, apparently as the TE goes beyond the bag he is also supposed to whip his other arm around behind him and really smack it again… just as hard. The coach showed them all how to do it again (about 5 times) and after that all I could think about was how much pain they intend to inflict upon the defenders in the route.

This isn’t going to be the mambie-pambie defense that was Barry’s/Marinelli’s. In fact, the entire practice was different, from the stretching to the other warm-ups, from the each of the drills being run to the plays being called in all the team drills. Now I thought last year when I saw them doing Marinelli’s drills they were getting worked hard, I really did (then) but I do not think so any more. Plus they are actually practicing situational play calling… intentionally. Instead of only after the team shows they can’t do something in a game.

There was some special teams practice as well as 7 on 7 and the like... most of which I couldn’t see well from where I was at. So I’m not going to detail every play by every player, or even be able to answer questions about specific players… not yet anyway. (I’m down here for two more days).

I will say that on kick returns #12 Derrick Williams was the quickest, surest handed, and smoothest runner. Cason makes the catching part look like second nature, but then there’s not much there. Aaron Brown can catch, but he isn’t as smooth or as sure handed as the other two. Okay for a backup I believe, but from this one practice I’d say Williams is the kick returner.

I saw the running backs and full backs doing their fair share of catching (yes, I said half backs AND full backs). Also saw the full backs running the ball. Both FBs caught my eye more then once. They have some weapons there and these coaches appear to realize that. I think Aaron Brown takes the #3 spot from Cason. He is just fast. Noted that a couple times before I knew who I was watching. #3 running back and backup kick returner.

CJ when up to speed (which takes one step) can cover 10 yards plus in 3 strides, usually before my mind can tell me that the guy is running. He is huge (compared to, well, anyone else on the team). Then there are the rest of the WRs. Maybe they should break the bricks back out… learn to softly catch the ball and to look it into the hands. More drops then I could count. They have to fix that somehow, quick.

Saw some good plays and some bad plays by just about everyone on the roster, need more info before I comment further on anyone else (and a closer view).

I did meet the Killer. He asked if I had noticed that Henry was practicing at safety all day (never did see much of the DBs from where I was at, so I had not noticed). I told him things were rather quiet as compared to last year, when “working on the chain gang” blared from a rather poor speaker throughout the entire practice, over and over again, for hours, every day. He thanked me for the bad memory. He was in a hurry (presumably to write his “Henry to Safety” article) so we shook hands and continued on from there (he to write, me to get lost in downtown Detroit looking for my hotel, thanks google maps!!!).

That’s all for today, tomorrow it’s the open practice at Ford Field and then one last practice at Allen Park before I head home on Sunday. Hopefully I will not be pressed for time and forget the paper and pen this time.

Picture Slide Show

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