Camp fires Day 4: Backus and White fight
Every day during training camp, Lions beat writer Dave Birkett takes you inside practice at Allen Park with a few notes, quotes and observations of interest.
The big news of the day or, at least, the news; this happens every camp was a morning skirmish between left tackle Jeff Backus and defensive end Dewayne White. White got angry and knocked Backus to the ground after Backus was holding his jersey during one play in team session, and a couple periods later the frustration boiled over. After White caught Backus near the helmet on a rush, Backus pinned him to the ground and started punching. The altercation lasted a few seconds as players jumped in (offensive lineman Frank Davis came in swinging at another unidentified teammate), but it was enough to deflate the energy when practice resumed. Lions coach Rod Marinelli appeared to cut the session short.
"It's training camp, man, it happens," White said. "He said his peace, I said my peace. It's over with."
"Just training camp," Backus said.
Incidentally, Backus and White are two players the Lions are counting on for big things this year. Backus got hurt and struggled in protection last year, while White started the season possessed, got injured, then watched the Lions' pass rush slump without him. To contend for the playoffs, they need both players healthy and productive in 2008.
Manny Ramirez took most of the reps at No. 1 right guard during Sunday's morning session. Stephen Peterman pulled the wrong direction on the first play and was relegated to second team. Ramirez slimmed down and is competing with Frank Davis, who's starting at left guard for the moment with Edwin Mulitalo on PUP, to be the No. 1 guard off the bench. Both will get plenty of playing time in exhibition games.
Mike Furrey tried his best to get fans cheering during position drills. They took his cue and celebrated when Calvin Johnson beat Travis Fisher down the sideline for a touchdown. Jared DeVries took issue. "That was a sack," he yelled to the fans.
Final nugget for the day, Stanley Wilson made a perfect read when Drew Stanton audibled to a quick hitch route at the end of the first team session. He broke on the ball, but hesitated a split second into his break and Ron Bellamy turned the other way with a completion. If Wilson's going to make this team, he's got to get his confidence back to where he trusts his first instinct.