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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Camp fires Day 5: An earful

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.

• Looks like the Lions will go conventional with their use of the new defensive speaker system. Middle linebackers Paris Lenon, Buster Davis and Jordon Dizon have had their helmets outfitted for the system and practiced using it for the first time today. During team drills, defensive coordinator Joe Barry used a walkie-talkie to relay play calls to Lenon and Co. At the same time, linebackers coach Phil Snow hand-signaled in the plays. The nuts and bolts of how that will work during the season still is being ironed out, but Lenon reported no hiccups with the dry run today. Hand signals aren't going away, but Barry said he hopes to test the speaker system another nine or 10 times during the preseason. On game days, two helmets will be wired for the system but only one player can have it on the field at any given time.

• Devale Ellis continues to have an eye-catching camp. Competing for the No. 5 receiver spot and return duties, Ellis made a few nice catches in traffic during full-team drills this morning. On special teams, I don't think he's dropped a punt yet. Passing-game coordinator Kippy Brown indicated the other likely candidate, fifth-round draft choice Kenneth Moore, has a ways to go as a receiver the other day. Moore was drafted for his return skills.

• The Lions are counting on Ikaika Alama-Francis to contribute at defensive end this year, and Rod Marinelli is after him to be more consistent. An example from morning practice: In one drill, Marinelli praised Alama-Francis for having good pad level and good get off (he got under right tackle George Foster's pads and knocked him backwards with ease). In the next, Marinelli hollered that Alama-Francis needed to get off the ball better and "I haven't seen you make one play all day."

• Dewayne White and Jeff Backus had two good, clean battles in one-on-one line work. There was a little pushing, however, between Langston Moore and Matt Butler.

THIS NOTE UPDATED 12:30 P.M. TUESDAY A football man watching practice with a more trained eye than I said rookie defensive tackle Andre Fluellen looked quick and had good hips after seeing him in position drills. A third-round pick, Fluellen should make the team, but something tells me the Lions wouldn't mind if the left elbow injury he suffered last year flares up during camp. That way they could stash him on injured reserve for the year and keep Shaun Cody, who's having a great camp, and Moore as backup tackles.

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Anonymous John Ruder said...

Dave, come on. You should know that once a player practices during training camp they ARE NOT eligible for the PUP only IR. That means the whole season not 6 weeks like you stated concerning Fluellen. This kind of reporting really knocks down your credibility. What else should we not believe?

9:38 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

You're absolutely right, John. I stand corrected. Players cannot be PUP'd once they begin camp.

My point remains the same, however, that the Lions finally have a little depth (though still not top-end talent) along the defensive line. Langston Moore, who sprained his shoulder in practice today, and Shaun Cody are more ready to contribute this year as backup tackles than Fluellen. Cody, in fact, should play a lot at nose. But the Lions don't want to lose Fluellen and cut him. He's a third-round pick and will make plays at undertackle in time. If Moore's injury lingers, this might be moot, but the Lions are looking at some tough choices come roster cut day.

11:38 AM 

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