Camp fires - Day 1
Every day during training camp, Lions beat writer Dave Birkett takes you inside practices at Allen Park with a few notes, quotes and observations of interest.
On one of his first carries of 11-on-11, rookie running back Kevin Smith got hit hard and knocked to the ground by safety Greg Blue. Blue's a pile driver, no doubt, but I highlight this to tell you Smith is working on running with better leverage, a knock of his coming out of the draft. "It was just a lesson learned, get low," Smith said. "First day in pads, baby. Sometimes you just got to take that. You smile at it, you get up and my mind is it won't happen again."
In case you wondered, Smith said hits like that weren't a problem in college. "It's kind of different because (at) Central Florida I was the man so you couldn't really touch me in practice," Smith said. "Out here it's a free-for-all. Everybody can take the shots that they want. I'm at the bottom of the barrel right now." I know I've said this before, but if Smith is productive on the field his personality will make him a star.
Don't write Devale Ellis off yet in the battle for the fifth receiver spot. Ellis made a couple nice catches and moves after catches in Thursday's morning practice. He's finally healthy, so if he proves a capable return man he'll make the team.
In his first one-on-one of the day, rookie Gosder Cherilus set too deep and got beat inside by second-year end Ikaika Alama-Francis. Cherilus got beat inside by Cliff Avril on his second one-on-one, but the big right tackle is a presence in pads.
Alex Lewis intercepted a wobbly Drew Stanton pass in 7-on-7s. Lewis looks like he'll start at strong-side linebacker unless the Lions sign Takeo Spikes. We should know more on Spikes in the coming days, but Lewis stayed in town most of the offseason to prepare for his opportunity.