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Friday, August 30, 2013
On Larry Warford's summer workload

By Kevin Seifert

We've heard it many times: NFL coaches emphasizing how important "reps" are for young players. The best way to improve and polish them is to maximize live snaps in preseason games.

A case study is Detroit Lions guard Larry Warford, a third-round draft pick who seemed to be dealing with typical rookie ups and downs during my visit to training camp earlier this month. So what did the Lions do? They played Warford for almost all of their preseason opener (53 of 68 possible snaps) and continued with a heavy dose of work for the rest of the summer.

Warford unofficially played 144 of a possible 259 snaps, or 55.6 percent. That figure might not sound like much, but for relatively high draft picks, it's about as high as it gets.

For context, consider that the two most established starters on the Lions' offensive line, center Dominic Raiola and left guard Rob Sims, each played 83 preseason snaps (32 percent). Left tackle Riley Reiff, in his first year as a starter, played 103 snaps. And for what it's worth, the Green Bay Packers saw fit to play quarterback Aaron Rodgers fewer snaps this preseason (45) than Warford saw in that first week.

Did the Lions get what they needed from that snap commitment? It's worth noting that Warford started the final two preseason games alongside potential right tackle Jason Fox. We'll see what the weekend brings in terms of cuts, waiver claims and other player acquisitions. But we can say one thing for certain: Larry Warford got plenty of reps this summer.