Camp fires Day 12: Tee off
Every day during training camp, Lions beat writer Dave Birkett takes you inside practice at Allen Park with notes, quotes and observations of interest.
It was a light day today with one practice and the second and third teams taking the bulk of the reps. As Rod Marinelli pointed out, that's who'll play most of Thursday's preseason opener against the Giants so that's who got most of the work Tuesday. To no one's surprise, a big emphasis of the game will be running the football. "We got to go out and see if we can get a few runs and see if we can execute them really well and just see where we're at in terms of pad level and getting off the ball," Marinelli said. "We should know who to block. My grandson might be able to know who to block by now. We've done this stuff every day, a million times, so now we just got to go out and execute and tee off."
Rookie defensive tackles Landon Cohen and Andre Fluellen will get plenty of work Thursday with Cory Redding and Langston Moore out and Chuck Darby expected to play only a handful of plays. Both Cohen and Fluellen had their moments Tuesday. Cohen beat Dominic Raiola in one-on-one work with a quick first step, but got off balance and pushed to the ground. Marinelli said Monday he's been a pleasant surprise. Fluellen appears to my untrained eye to play with good leverage, but he needs to be more consistent. Still, he's a keeper this year.
Rookie receiver Kenny Moore, a long shot to make the team, caught a quick slant route Tuesday. The ball hit his chest, and Mike Furrey, kneeling on the sideline, yelled for Moore to "get your hands out there." As Moore trotted back, receivers coach Shawn Jefferson stopped him and fired a pass into his hands. The next time he caught the ball, Moore kept the ball away from his body. "See what happens when you use your hands?" Jefferson said.
If I've written this before, forgive me, the days kind of run together now, but Jefferson is a hands-on teacher who players seem to respond to. His drills are very pertinent to game situations, and he's big on the fine points like footwork. Calvin Johnson, for one, has said he's seen an improvement in his technical side of the game.
No. 2 quarterback Dan Orlovsky pulled out of a center exchange shaking his hand at one point. He was fine and finished practice, but it's just another example of the snap problems Corey Hulsey's been having at backup center. If Raiola goes down, the Lions' already-suspect line is in deep trouble.
Last thought for the day: Johnson slipped on the indoor turf trying to make a cut during the second-to-last team period. As talented as he is, it was the scariest moment of camp. Don't fret, though. He's fine.