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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.


Rookie camp: Day 3 thoughts

Louis Delmas had his second interception as the fourth and final practice of rookie orientation wound down Sunday, staying home on a pass Matthew Stafford overthrew for Derrick Williams.

“Before the play I told him, 'Throw me one now, throw me one now,'” said Delmas, who joked earlier in the week he was going to get Stafford's first interception. “And then I looked at him and then next thing you know it was in the air. I was just like I appreciate it. He gave me a gift there.”

“Let's not talk about it,” Stafford said. “No, he got me today on the last play. But I just felt bad for him, he hadn't got one all week, needed to shoot him a bone.”

Delmas and Stafford had the most impressive camps of any rookie, not a surprise considering where they were drafted (first and 33rd overall). Delmas finished with two interceptions and for the most part showed good speed and play recognition, though he was going against players who'll mostly be out on the street tomorrow looking for 9-5 work. Stafford's most impressive attribute is the zip he puts on his passes. As soon as a throw comes out of his hand, it seems to be on his receiver's chest.

“It was about like I thought,” general manager Martin Mayhew said. “I thought a couple of times he rushed himself and he missed a couple of things. I think there were a couple of times he threw some balls and I was like, 'Wow, I haven't seen anybody throw a ball like that in a long time.'

“I think that's the way it's going to be for a while with him. He's going to do some things that are really exciting and get everybody energized and enthused, and he's going to make some rookie mistakes. And I think that's a natural part of the plan with him, that's how it's going to go.”

Neither Mayhew nor coach Jim Schwartz revealed much in the way of a depth chart at quarterback, though the assumption is Daunte Culpepper will remain the starter and Stafford will take No. 2 reps when he returns to the Lions in mid-May.

Drew Stanton is the third quarterback for now, though Mayhew said he's “actively looking” to add another veteran backup to the mix.

“All the starters and all that, it's May,” Mayhew said. “We got plenty of time to figure all that out. Daunte is a guy that's a vet, that's been around, that's a pro. I trust Daunte. He's got a lot of ability, and I anticipate that if we had something to do today, Daunte'd be the guy. Today. But we got a lot of time to work and we'll see where it goes.”

A few other notes:

• By my count, Stafford completed 8-of-13 passes in 7-on-7 drills. Besides the Delmas' interception, he had one drop and Marcus Demps bobbled another pick. “It was good,” Stafford said of his camp overall. “Learned a lot. That was the main thing I wanted to do when I got here. Definitely did that, so I was happy with it.”

• Middle linebacker DeAndre Levy was held out of most of Sunday's practice with a sore groin. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew (hamstring) and lineman Lydon Murtha (back) also sat out for the second straight day. “We have a lot of that out here, guys that really didn't pull or didn't get hurt but they couldn't finish practice because they couldn't warm up,” Schwartz said. “It's what I mentioned before, guys aren't in football condition. When you come out once on Friday, twice on Saturday, once on Sunday, you have weight-lifting sessions in between, if you're not ready for that you can get real sore and it's hard to loosen up.”

• I wasn't all that impressed by the receivers in camp, including Williams and D.J. Boldin. Williams looked fine in team drills, but he double-caught a lot of passes in a four-cone drill the Lions, where receivers run a box around cones spaced five yards apart and catch rapid-fire passes at short distances. Boldin had problems hanging onto the ball in the drill, too. Eric Fowler, who spent last year on the practice squad, had the best hands in camp, in my estimation.

• Schwartz complimented running back Antone Smith, a tryout rookie from Florida State. “He made a couple of plays, particularly in the passing game, take a check down and you run after the catch,” he said. “He was definitely a guy that stood out.” I think the Lions are set at running back, with Kevin Smith and Maurice Morris the clear 1-2, and Aaron Brown the likely No. 3 back, ahead of Aveion Cason, for his pass-catching and kick-return skills.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

dave, apparently smith isn't as safe we first thought according to this:

1:30 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Yeah, Smith isn't a perfect fit for this offense, or at least he has a few things to prove in the new system. But for next year I think he's save. He and Morris should be the 1-2 in whatever order.

2:41 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hopefully he can make the necessary adjustments.

3:04 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Dave, I read your Blog every day, I think your very good. My late son Brandon Fox had a friend named David Birkett, is that you?

9:17 PM 
Anonymous Steve said...

Don't you think that Smith would have just as good a shot at making the roster as Aveion Cason? I think it is starting to become fairly obvious that the new regime is not in love with most of the old players that are here, other than a select few(Calvin, Ernie, Avril). I for one do not see Cason being on the roster, along with Brian Calhoun.

3:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who don't know Antone Smith, he ran a 4.32 40, had 15 TD's last year, and has been compared to San Diego's Darren Sproles on numerous scouting reports I have seen.

3:56 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey dave - any word on the status of Otis Wiley?

4:38 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any interest in foote now that he's been officially released, dave?

5:26 PM 
Anonymous Brian said...

Dave, from reading a lot of articles, I am getting the impression that 7th round pick Zack Follett is looking good and will get playing time, is that true?

8:50 PM 
Blogger Dave Birkett said...

Steve, I assume you're referring to Antone Smith and not Kevin Smith (who is a lock for the team). I think he probably does have as good a shot as Cason, but to me he looks more like practice squad fodder for now (with Cason being cut). At RB you have Kevin Smith, Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown, and at fullback Terrelle Smith and maybe Jerome Felton. You can't keep more than five RBs for number purposes, so he'd have to beat out Brown or Felton for a job.

As for Wiley, I tried calling him the other day to no avail. I'm not sure the extent of his injury. It might be a case where he gets better by rest. But if a team really wants you they'll pass your physical so he might find better luck somewhere else.

Brian, I got an e-mail about Follett I'm going to address in my Thursday Q&A, but the short answer is I don't expect too much.

And lastly, Anon, my condolences about your son, but no, I don't know a Brandon Fox.

8:42 AM 

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