Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lions Training Camp 2014 - Part IV

Allen Park, Thursday afternoon August 7, 2014

This will be my final installation of my training camp articles relaying the things I saw, some play-by-play, and other tidbits. After the first preseason game (which starts in about an hour) I will go over that and then start on my roster articles. I shall start off with the Quarterbacks.

The QB Coach and all 4 quarterbacks were working on the mechanics of being an NFL QB near the VIP tent which was 50 feet or so to the right of where I was in the stands (5th row, 50 yard line, field closest to their indoor facility). I'm afraid to admit this, but I watched the entire practice at Ford Field last night and never once caught on to the fact that #17 Kellen Moore is a left handed QB. What does this have to do with anything? Well, a lefty throws the ball from a different angle then WRs are used to, and the spiral is exactly the opposite, in other words, the ball is spinning backwards. That makes it harder to catch, for some. Anyway, since at this practice the QBs are much closer to where I am seated I am able to notice how the drill they are working on is stressing good QB mechanics. I also note that #14 Franklin is taller then Moore, as tall and stocky as #9 Stafford, shorter then #8 Orlovsky who has a very thin body frame, and rarely gets in on the team drills, but plays every snap in his positional group drills. I suspect that will make him practice squad material.

I see #62 has on an arm brace, probably for an elbow, #62 is a guard named Darren Keyton. The Centers working with the 4 QBs are #51 Raiola, #64 Swanson (this year's draft pick), #74 Rodney Austin, and #60 Alex Bullard (shows as a guard in the program they just gave me as I entered camp). For some drills they use all 4 centers and all 4 QBs at the same time. This is a new drill I never saw before in the 16 or so years I've been going to camps.

After I noted the QB drills to my right, and the injured players out a ways, the Safeties group move to directly in front of me to work on some drills.
The cameras are 100 yards away in front of me and 100 yards away to my right... so directly in front of me isn't exactly being recorded for later perusal by the coaches, giving some players the opportunity to slack off a bit if they were inclined to do so. I noted that #30 Gomes was just such a player. The drills that stressed coverage or interceptions he was all over, but the tackling drills he merely went through the motions, or so it appeared to me. I shall be curious to see how he does in the games (at tackling). There were very few other players doing this "evasive maneuver" and certainly not as many as I have seen at almost every camp I have ever been to, but if I had to pick one example in the 2014 Lions camp it would be Gomes.

While the DBs were working in front of me 60 or 70 yards away were the QBs, Centers, and WRs. All 4 centers would hike the ball to all 4 QBs at the same time as all 4 WRs would take off and one by one each WR would become a target by one of the QBs. This was a new drill for me, I wish they were closer so I could talk more about it. As it was, I could barely make out what was going on let alone who did well or who did not. I did catch one negative and two flashes of the positive kind... the negative was seeing Durham drop one of the multi-passes, the positives were a great deep route and catch by Ogletree and another excellent catch by Fuller.

Next was the O and D working not on routes or anything but what appeared to be they were working on pre-snap recognition. After that session, I noted Orlo throw a pass and #18 Durham making a great catch, one of those flash types I have mentioned before. I saw Durham make another flash play in the next series too. That would make him pretty even in bad plays and flash plays over the two days I saw. In one of those two series I noted a flash play by TE Fauria who caught another nice pass by Orlo. Orlovsky had a much better practice Thursday then he did Wednesday. Much much better. Though there was one play that was replay worthy, a pass to a WR that got tipped instead of caught, then the defender popped it into the air only to allow #49 Maxwell the TE to make the catch. Nice concentration on his part.

There was a lot of drills going on all over Allen Park Thursday, unfortunately due to the size of the area it was excessively difficult, nye on impossible, to make a lot of it. A few more pics to see just how much area there is to cover there.

Following the practice the fans once again flocked to the fences to get autographs while I prepared for the long drive home. Here you can see just how close the fans get to the players at these practices, just in case you haven't made it to one of them yet.

So there you have it, time to see how these guys do under live bullets, so to speak. For the first time ever (for some of these guys) the Lions will be tackling, getting tackled, sacking and getting sacked... as they take the field and take on the Cleveland Browns. I predict a winning score by the Lions by half time. I have no idea if Moore can maintain that lead until the end of the game or not, but considering the quality of the skilled players on O to help him out, I think they can. I shall predict a meaningless preseason game 1 score of Lions 27 and Browns 20.

Here's to no injuries! Go Lions!!!

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