Camp fires Day 8: Blocking drills
Every day during training camp, Lions beat writer Dave Birkett takes you inside practice at Allen Park with notes, quotes and observations of interest.
For part of individual period this morning, the Lions matched their running backs and linebackers in a blocking drill that made for good viewing. First player that stood out was Jordon Dizon, who plowed over Artose Pinner one time through the line then side-stepped Jon Bradley the next. I know I wrote about Dizon plenty yesterday, but he's making noticeable strides and has the requisite linebacker instincts. (In a team period later, Dizon filled a gap perfectly and dotted fullback Jerome Felton.) The Lions still insist Paris Lenon, barring injury, will be their starting middle linebacker all year, which means it's not out of the question Dizon plays on the strong side. Ideally, he'd stay in the middle, where he's spending all of his time now. But if Dizon is your third-best linebacker you have to get him on the field.
One more blocking drill observation: The drill is slanted the defense's way, but rookie running back Kevin Smith won a one-on-one battle with Alex Lewis. For Smith to win the starting job, he has to prove dependable in pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield. So far, so good.
Jon Kitna didn't have his best morning at quarterback and has been erratic at times the first week. Still, he's the clear No. 1 and anyone who says otherwise is lying. That said, Dan Orlovsky had a good day Thursday. He made several nice reads, threaded one ball along the sideline and didn't force any bad passes. Drew Stanton also hit Taye Biddle with a perfect deep ball for an easy touchdown. Like many young quarterbacks, Stanton isn't afraid take off and run when pressure comes. That's a great weapon to have, but my sense is coaches want him to stay in the pocket longer. It'll be interesting to see Orlovsky and Stanton when games go live next week.
Dovonte Edwards worked with the second-team Thursday and looks to have supplanted Stanley Wilson as the fifth cornerback. Brian Kelly sat out the morning session to rest his balky knee, so Edwards and Keith Smith, who moved up to first-team nickel, got plenty of reps.
On the injury front, everyone who was out Wednesday sat Thursday's morning session as well. Lions coach Rod Marinelli said safety Daniel Bullocks, on the PUP list as he recovers from knee surgery, will not play next week against the Giants but should be ready by the season opener. Felton left practice briefly after his right leg got rolled in a pile. Roy Williams also sat out a few plays with cramps. Both returned to practice and appear fine.