Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lions Training Camp 2014 - Part III

In continuing from my notes at the Ford Field practice (see the two previous blog entries below) and following another whistle the main practice area added more players from other position groups who were practicing elsewhere and I was able to jot down a few numbers and notes on who was working in the first group (1st string), second group (2nd string) etc. I had already figured out from reading other bloggers articles that the rookies were, to a man, working further down the depth chart. No one was being given a free ride to first string based on the round, or year, they were drafted in. Many coaching staffs do it this way so it wasn't anything unexpected as far as I was concerned.

First thing with this drill I noticed was that #11 Ogeltree was in the slot working with CJ, Tate, Pettigrew, Bell and Hilliard at right tackle. Nothing stood out negative or flashed super positive in this drill as my very next note was the lineup for the 2nd group... which was Waddle at right tackle; Orlovsky at QB, Ross, Broyles and Durham at WR; Lucas at left tackle and Fauria at TE. At RB was Riddick and I think Leshoure. A star by Riddicks name in my notes means he did something in this drill that stood out, unfortunately I hadn't the time to write down what it was. I did have my "up arrow" sign in for Lucas and Fauria meaning that both these dudes look huge compared to their teammates. When I say huge, I don't mean fat. I mean very tall, very solidly built, just giants compared to others on the team next to them. It takes you half a second to realize you want them on your side in a fight, or when collecting money from someone, or whatever it is you are doing. Big big men. I will also add in here that there is no player on the 90 who appears out of shape, fat, overweight, or in any way not svelte. Honed and toned, I felt quite literally like signing up with a gym and exercising more before leaving the building. Now where was I, oh yeah, the 3rd string came up to the line and it was #17 Moore at QB; Reynolds at RT; Thompson at TE; Andrew Peacock, Quintin Payton and Patrick Edwards at WR; #40 Steven Miller at RB. I never did catch if Bush, Fuller and several others were ever substituted in. Like I said, there is a lot going on, too much most of the time to catch it all without that imaginary DVR remote control.

After the whistle another set of plays are run practicing who knows what, this time instead of jotting down who was playing where, or what the situation they were working on was, I just watched to see who did things well, or who blew it... a little "me time" if you will. Anyway, Stafford threw a nice easy uncomplicated simple pass to Calvin Johnson who caught it effortlessly but you'd have thought the pass had won them the national championship the way the crowd went nuts. I just shook my head and chuckled a little, sometimes the simplest of things impress people. I did note that during this drill most of the players stayed the same but the RBs were switched out each snap. After one run through the QB was switched out and Orlovsky was in. I made note that Bentley very nearly picked off a pass right off the bat on a nice angle. #99 (Mosley) then flashed with a great solo "tackle" on RB Miller. When the Lions practice there is no tackling per se, but had Mosley been allowed to, Miller was going to be buried in Ford Field that play. I also had down a flash by Ross on a leaping catch. The next note was that it appeared the 2's and 3's would've missed some tackles were things live, but that may have been due to the no contact thing too. Hard to fly to the ball when you can't actually make contact upon arrival. My notes next contain another up arrow by the number 77, I see that's Lucas again, he must have been huddled up next to his much smaller OL teammates. Right about this time Webster flashed a little something, against Lucas, but Lucas also flashed something, so it was a nice matchup that play.

On the whistle it turns into a field goal drill. #3 Freese is up first. This drill started with getting onto the field FAST and setting up then kicking. As if the clock was at 15 seconds and counting down with no time outs. Freese hit from 37, 42, and 47 with plenty of room to spare. Then #5 and his group rush out to do the same drill, he also nails it from 37, 42 and 47 yards... but hold up... #5 Tavecchio is left footed! He's also shorter, weighs less, and his holder for the entire 2 days of practice was always #2 Butler, and except for the pre-practice time with Muhlbach earlier in the night, his long snapper is always someone else (which explains why Butler and Tavecchio were working with Muhlbach together while Martin and Freese did nothing an hour before, it was their only opportunity to work with Muhlbach). Following that drill Freese is up again in another field goal drill and is good from 44 and then 47 yards with plenty of room to spare. Left footed Tavecchio and Butler set up and he's good from 44 but hits the right upright from 47 and the ball bounces off to the right for a miss. I never once saw Martin hold the ball for Tavecchio which says to me that the Kicker for the Lions this year will not be #5 as I believe Martin is a lock as the Punter making #3 Freese the kicker... after day 2 was over though I realized something else, Freese isn't actually safe. It is very unlikely, in my opinion, that Tavecchio makes the team as the kicker, but Freese is competing against every single right footed kicker who gets cut from the other 31 teams too.

Next drill, no trenches (no OL or DL) and 4 wide (one of which might be a TE or a RB). Stafford to CJ for 20 yards, perfect ball placement. Next play, 2nd or 3rd read, 6 yards to Riddick, also perfect. Next is to Pettigrew for 5 yards, but it's dropped (if you don't like Pettigrew) or it was great defense (if you want the truth). Next snap goes to Leshoure who was the 3rd read for 5 yards, good play. Then one goes to Durham for 10 yards on a come back route. Finally a 20 yard completion to the RB Miller who has good hands. That last might have been Orlovsky or Stafford at QB, not sure when they switched out. Next play Orlo is interecepted by Palmer after popping the ball up, great defensive play. Orlo then hits Leshoure for around 10 yards on a nice pass. The next pass to Ross hits the ground who was in traffic, so while the defense was good, the choice to throw to Ross was not so good. The QB is now Moore, who throws to #82 Jordan Thompson and is defended very well by #50 Lewis. Moore to #41 Riddick is at least 5 yards off target and wasted Riddicks snap. The final play by Moore was broke up by a great play by #36 Green, I missed to the intended target was. No snaps for #14 Franklin in this drill at all, which happens about half the time it seems. Franklin is definitely the #4 QB and has no chance of overtaking Moore... but I am no longer sure either makes the final roster.

Next drill still involves no O or D line, but now it's a redzone drill. #9 to #41 for a TD! (Stafford to Riddick). 39 to #87 (Pettigrew) for 7 yards and maybe with YACs (yards after the catch) was a TD. #9 to #21 (Bush) for only 3 yards. Then, from the 5, Stafford throws off his back foot for the first and only time I saw all practice and hits the crossbar instead of whoever his target was. Way high. Next, another flash play, but the D. Stafford at the 5 to (unsure who) and #33 Greenwood makes a fantastic play to knock the ball down all by himself. #8 Orlovsky takes over and hits #41 Riddick for 5 yards who gets knocked hard to the ground by the defender who couldn't pull up in time. #8 to #12 (Ross) for 4 yards. From the 15 it's #8 to #84 (Broyles) for a TD. Next it's #8 to #32 Winn for 14 yards just short of the TD. New QB, #17 (Moore) to #25 Leshoure for 14 yards. #17 to #40 (Miller) for 2 yards. #17 to #38 (Winn) for negative yards (tackled for a loss). The whistle blows.

Time for some 11 on 11, from the 24 and a long field. The drill appears to be all 3rd downs, from varying to goes. This is a new drill for me, the team would set and re-set at all kinds of 3rd down and distances. Took me awhile just to figure out that this was what they were working on. Anyway, #9 to CJ for 27 yards, 1st down. #9 to #35 Bell but was popped in the air by a great play on D, failed to see who it was though (where's that remote!). #9 to #15 Tate who bobbles it then pulls it in playing against Vaughn I think who almost broke it up. #9 to #35 Bell for a nice gain. #9 to #87 Pettigrew for a nice gain, nice sweet play too. Then another sweet completion from #9 to #10 Fuller. #8 Orlo to #84 Broyles is good for a first down. #8 to #80 Fauria is a first down. #8 to ??? intercepted by #42 Isa Abdul-Quddus but if this was live it's likely Orlo was sacked and never got the throw off. #8 ... whistle, play called dead by officials (who hadn't done that up until that play). #17 Moore throws to #1 Peacock but it's 3 yards out of bounds. #17 to #10 Fuller, even further out of bounds, flag on #42 Isa for a PI, looked uncatchable to me but whatever. #17 to no one, he ran it for a 1st down. #17 to #25 Leshoure, blown dead, it was 2nd or 3rd read and he had dumped it off to Leshoure who played with the 3rd group a lot in this practice. Whistle for a new drill. Still no Franklin time.

It's a 11 on 11 Redzone drill from the 20. #9 to #15 Tate misses wide, I think it was miscommunication more so then a bad throw, but I can't be sure. #9 to #21 Bush for a short gain, nice catch, 2nd down. #9 to #18 Durham for no catch, Durham tripped over his own feet on the drill and stumbled along the route but couldn't recover in time. A 5 yard catch by #80 Fauria then an air ball to no one (someone ran the wrong route I think). A sloppy set of plays really. Now it's #8 to #29 Vaughn who flashed a really good defensive play there (jump ball). #8 handed the ball off on a delay to Leshoure, I think they were trying to surprise the D by running the ball on a pass drill, the D stopped him after an 8 yard gain though. I liked the play. I either missed a play or there was a 10 yard penalty in there somewhere as it was now 1st and goal from the 2. #8 to #84 Broyles for the TD. Back to the 20 yard line, #17 Moore to handoff to #38 Winn, the surprise didn't work this time, only 2 yards. #17 to #49 TE Maxwell, but #86 Payton was out of position and they had to wait for him. Maxwell fumbles, #45 Seisay picks it up for an easy 6. Last play was #17 to (couldn't tell) nicely broke up by #39 Hester in the end zone. I'm going to assume from the lack of execution that this particular set of plays was new that day and they hadn't worked on them until now.

The team huddles up in the middle of the field for a few minutes then breaks up, many of the players head to the sidelines to sign autographs with Bentley in the lead on our side. I watch the mad dash by the crowd for awhile then leave, normally I stay until the brooms come out to clean up but this time I didn't stick around.

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