Lions strength coach: We're a small team
Jason Arapoff, the Lions' coordinator of physical development, met with a handful of reporters this afternoon to preview the team's voluntary offseason workout program, which begins Monday.
Arapoff said the Lions have changed their philosophy under new coach Jim Schwartz and will have a heavy emphasis towards free weights with the idea of building a bigger, stronger team. Under Rod Marinelli, the Lions wanted smaller, quicker players to fit the Tampa 2 defense. Some of those players are maxed out or don't have that growth potential because they have limitations, Arapoff said.
Everybody has their own interpretation of what size means, he said. To me, size is a lot of things. I would consider us a small team, not just by weight but we're short. And with that comes smaller hands, shorter arms, smaller feet. So those are all variables that go into developing a bigger, more powerful, stronger, more difficult team to compete with. And again a lot of it is a philosophical approach. Some of it, a lot of it, is how we choose to develop those guys.
Already, the Lions have added bigger players in free agency defensive tackle Grady Jackson is 345 pounds; the Lions didn't have a lineman over 300 pounds last year and will target a different breed of player come draft day. At linebacker, for instance, the last drafted the squat Ernie Sims (6-foot, 225 pounds) and the undersized Jordan Dizon (6-0, 229) with first- and second-round picks in recent years. This year, they're considering rangy Aaron Curry (6-1, 254) with the top overall pick.
The goal is to get this group as big and as strong as we possibly can, Arapoff said. That makes it sound like we didn't try and do that in the past. So again, I say there's a philosophical approach in acquiring a certain body type, and then there's a philosophical approach in developing the players once we acquire them. And this approach is an approach that this staff believes is suited to the things that they need to get done.