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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.

5/01/2009

First impressions on Stafford

Matthew Stafford appeared to be a tad nervous early, but he showed in his first practice why the Lions drafted him No. 1 overall.

At Day 1 of the Lions' rookie orientation Friday, Stafford, by my count, completed both of his throws in 11-on-11 work, 7-of-13 passes in 7-on-7 and was 10-of-16 in 1-on-1 passing drills. His first pass in warmups was a wobbly toss to special teams assistant Brad Banta, but by and large he was crisp with his throws and appeared to make the right reads and progressions.

“What happens, and it's Matthew and it's probably 90 percent of the guys out here, when you go through a first practice as a rookie you're so anxious to get get going and you're out of control and things like that,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “Then all of a sudden later in practice you start settling down a little bit. I think we saw that with Matthew today, just chomping at the bit early, was wild with some throws, but then he started settling into a groove, started working together with some of the wide receivers, then all of a sudden you started seeing some better things later on in practice.”

Stafford best pass of the day came in full team drills when he went to his second read and threaded a perfectly thrown ball to tight end Brandon Pettigrew, just beyond the reach of linebacker Zack Follett. On several occasions, his passes got on the receiver so quickly they were dropped. One pass in 7-on-7 bounced off the facemask of receiver Sean Bailey, a former teammate of Stafford's at Georgia.

“My impressions were, please don't take my head off today,” said receiver Derrick Williams, a third-round pick. “I tried to make sure that I had my head around. He's really good. He's going to be a great quarterback.”

Schwartz said he was “pleased” with Stafford overall, and complimented his footwork, his release and his demeanor off the field.

“It's easy to start off school the first day well,” he said. “We've all been in that situation. The key is not going to be what happened today, the key is going to be maintaining that pace. And that's really the tale of the tape, it's not what we today, it's the body of work and just building one day after another.”

A few other thoughts:

• Safety Louis Delmas was very vocal in the secondary, something Schwartz said he doesn't expect to change when the second-round picks gets in with veterans. “He's a loquacious guy,” Schwartz said. “He loves the game. He has a lot of fun around it. He did that at Western Michigan. It shows through here. I don't think that's something you can manufacture, you either have it or you don't.”

•Schwartz said the Lions had “an issue” with former MSU safety Otis Wiley's physical that prevented him from practicing Friday. “As soon as we get that cleared up we'll try to get him on the practice field,” he said.

• First impression of DeAndre Levy: He can run, but he struggled covering a running back out of the backfield twice today. Still, I'm not going to read too much into his Day 1 at rookie minicamp.

•Former Lion Paris Lenon no longer has a stall in the Lions locker room.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

not ready to think that there's no chance that lenon could come back, but it's def closer to appearing that way now that he doesn't have a locker.

according to nick of the free p, wiley had a knee issue and failed his physical. hopefully it heals up and we'll be able to check him out.

thanks for the report, dave. look forward to reading them throughout the weekend.

5:50 PM 
Blogger spacecataz said...

Great update, Birk.

Is Delmas' banter trash talk, encouragement, or something else?

6:09 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

It wasn't trash talk. It was mostly setting the defense, aligning guys, calling out plays like, 'Watch for the hitch.' It was things you would expect from your safety, but it was good to see anyway, especially from a rookie and since the Lions don't have the most vocal guys in the back end otherwise.

Delmas did say he was joking around with Stafford beforehand that he was going to be the first one to intercept him. He almost did, too. A ball bounced off his chest when Stafford and his receiver got crossed up in a pass during 7-on-7. He's a pretty confident player.

I didn't hear the knee specifically with the Lions, but he had surgery to repair a tear after the season so that doesn't surprise me. There were medical concerns with him during the pre-draft process.

6:34 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

terry foster is really starting to piss me off. i'm done reading his anti-stafford articles and listening to him and that other idiot, valenti on the radio. he's quickly turning into drew sharp and i for one am sick of it.

7:15 PM 
Blogger Bret said...

Good stuff Dave, thanks!

11:38 PM 

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