Detroit Lions: Larry Webster

Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

Another week, another rookie makes his debut for the Detroit Lions.

Mohammed Seisay was called up to the 53-man roster Saturday to help an increasingly depleted Detroit secondary, and he actually ended up seeing some run at the nickel in the second half along with some time on special teams.

Otherwise, it was a fairly light day for the Lions rookies.

Here’s how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Ebron went without a catch for the second time in three games, and he wasn’t much of a factor when it came to Matthew Stafford's looks anyway. Ebron was targeted only once by Stafford. He rotated in with Joseph Fauria once again this week. Ebron played 23 snaps against Green Bay after 26 the week before against Carolina, but essentially split with Fauria.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He’s on injured reserve/designated to return. He won’t be doing anything for at least the first half of the season.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): Swanson played on special teams, including kick return, for seven snaps. He won’t see an offensive snap this season unless one of Detroit’s interior linemen suffers an injury or if there is a blowout.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster dressed for the first time in his career Sunday, but did not play.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid dressed and played two defensive snaps. He did not record a statistic.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the PUP list for now. He won’t play until midseason more than likely. Even then he will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Another rough outing for Freese and his job is in jeopardy. He missed a 41-yard field goal to end the first half and Detroit coach Jim Caldwell once again said the team will be evaluating the kicker position. Freese held on to his job last week. It might not be as easy over the next two days.

RT Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): Lucas once again backed up Garrett Reynolds at right tackle, playing in the second quarter and again in the second half. Both he and Reynolds were soundly beaten by Green Bay defensive end Julius Peppers, who had a sack of Stafford and was generally disruptive. Lucas actually saw much more time than he did against the Panthers, when he played 17 snaps. The rookie had 40 snaps Sunday -- 53 percent -- compared to 35 for Reynolds.

Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): Couplin only played special teams Sunday, getting in on 13 snaps. He did not record a statistic.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): Seisay was called up Saturday and played Sunday in his NFL debut. He played 10 snaps in relief of Don Carey and Danny Gorrer at slot cornerback and was initiated into the NFL. He was credited with two tackles, including a tackle for loss. If he sticks on the roster and doesn’t get bumped back to the practice squad, he could see more playing time as the season goes on.
Question of the Week is a weekly feature here in which we take a cross-section of opinions from Detroit Lions players and coaches (and sometimes opponents) about a singular topic. Most of the time, they have nothing to do with football. Have a suggestion for a question? Email:

Questions of the Week.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- All across the country over the past few weeks, high school seniors have officially turned into college freshmen.

Many of us have been there before, including every person in the Detroit Lions' locker room. So we figured we’d offer some advice from those who have been there before.

This week’s Question of the Week: What advice, having gone through college, do you wish you would have gotten heading into your freshman year? These are the Lions’ answers.

Wide receiver TJ Jones: Pay more attention to time management your first year. My first year I was terrible with it. Absolutely awful. Focused more on just being in college, being a college kid, hanging out, enjoying the social life and not as much on academics as I should have. Definitely knowing how to manage your schoolwork and your social life.

Running back Theo Riddick: Just try to find someone that you can look up to in terms of senior leadership. You got to kind of look for elderly leadership. They know the ropes. They’ve been there before. Anything you can struggle with, they can be a mentor for you and guide you through.

Defensive end Larry Webster: Get your work done early because by the time the end comes around, you won’t be rushing to finish everything. They give you plenty of time to do it. They give you every assignment way in advance. I wouldn’t say it was an issue, but it would have made it a lot easier.

Defensive end George Johnson: Just basically being grounded. If you’re not grounded and you think this is going to last forever, you’re wrong. A lot of people think that when you stop playing football, football is over, but it’s really not. It goes on.

Reporter: What about in life?

Johnson: Same thing. If it doesn’t go your way the first time, know when the opportunity comes again, take full advantage of the opportunity because you never know what can happen.

Wide receiver Ryan Broyles: Going in, there’s a lot going on, you don’t really just stay in the moment. That’s anything in life, any situation. Just stay in the moment. When I was there, the schoolwork, tutors, everything going on and I hated it initially until I really let things slow down. Enjoy the moment, really.

Cornerback Nevin Lawson: Just listen to every advice from somebody that’s successful that already has been through what you’re about to go through. Really listen to the things that they said they wish they had done. That’s one of the main pieces of advice.

Punter Sam Martin: Enjoy it. Really embrace it. Sometimes you want to focus on the NFL or focus on playing so well that you miss the enjoyment of what you’re actually doing. It’s a lot different than what we do now, so enjoy it, embrace it and just acknowledge and step back every now and then and realize what you’re doing. Acknowledge it. In general, but also football, too. I used to be one of them, I can’t wait until college is over, study hall, classes. Now, I look back and it’s like college was awesome.

Tight end Joseph Fauria: Man, that’s really tough. What I would tell them? Enjoy it because it goes by fast and it’s the best time in your life. That’s the last time, the only and last time you get to be treated, right before you’re an adult and you’re responsible but you’re still old enough to do adult stuff. That middle ground and it’s a three-to-five year span you can do that where you’re old enough to do stuff as an adult but you don’t have the responsibility as an adult. So take advantage of it.
Each week, we'll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the morning after a game.

Maybe this is a good sign for Detroit, but the Lions didn't need as much production from their rookie class as they did a season ago, when they found immediate starters in Ezekiel Ansah, Larry Warford and a bunch of early contributors.

Detroit's season-opening 35-14 win against the Giants showed the Lions have some rookies that will contribute early, but this could be a veteran-laced team at least early on.

Here's how the rookies looked on Monday night:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Ebron played 20 snaps (30 percent) and was clearly the third tight end used by the team behind Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria. Ebron didn't see a ton of targets, either. Matthew Stafford looked his way twice and Ebron didn't haul in either catch -- although he didn't drop either one. Figure he'll end up getting more snaps as the season goes on.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He's on injured reserve/designated to return. He won't be doing anything for at least the first half of the season.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): The only active offensive lineman who didn't see an offensive snap, but that's how the Lions want it this season because it means the interior line is healthy. He had nine special teams snaps, including some as a blocker on kick return. He's going to play special teams barring injury all year.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive for the Lions on Monday night.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson's development came real fast against the Giants. Lawson was thrown into the nickel role almost immediately after Bill Bentley left with a knee injury and he played 49 defensive snaps against the Giants along with 17 special teams snaps. He appeared to fare well, too, considering he was facing Victor Cruz most of the night. Lawson had one tackle and Pro Football Focus has Lawson targeted four times, allowing three receptions. Not great, but not terrible either, considering he was going to play only special teams entering the game.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid played three snaps and registered a quarterback hit. He's going to be a rotational guy at best behind Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley but the hope for the Lions is he'll eventually be able to play a few more snaps per game. Somewhat weird to me is he played no special teams snaps. That was one of the things he did best at Princeton.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the physically unable to perform list for now. Won't play until midseason more than likely. Even then will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese made two field goals (27, 28 yards) and missed a field goal badly wide left from 43 yards out. Decent first outing for him, especially since he rebounded from the first miss to make two relative chip shots.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): Lucas is the team's fourth tackle, but he was inactive against the Giants.

S Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): The safety played 23 total snaps (16 special teams, seven defense) and in those defensive snaps, had two tackles. He won't be replacing starter James Ihedigbo any time soon, but this was a good first step for Couplin, who could one day make a run at being a big contributor for Detroit.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions’ rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games. However, this is a pre-first game version, so we’ll take a look this week at expected roles for the first-year players both for Monday night against the Giants and the season in general.

[+] EnlargeEric Ebron
AP Photo/Carlos OsorioEric Ebron will have every opportunity to play a major role for the Lions offense.
TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): The Lions spent their No. 10 pick on him with the expectation he’d contribute immediately. They kept three tight ends on the roster for a similar reason. While he’ll still need some time to really work his way into the offense, the thought with Ebron is he’ll play immediately. He should play a lot, too, perhaps as early as Monday night against New York. This is a meaningful game for him, too, because he was born not too far from the old Giants Stadium.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He’s on the injured reserve/designated to return list, so not much is going to be expected of him until the second half of the season. Even then, the core muscle injury and surgery probably will stunt most of his growth during his rookie season as he’ll be jumping into games at midseason while his peers are already comfortable in everything going on.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): He’ll play some on special teams, but the Lions aren’t counting on him for much else this season. If he has to play a lot, it means there’s an injury to center Dominic Raiola or guards Rob Sims and Larry Warford. If that’s the case, Detroit is going to have some issues considering the consistency and experience of those three.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): This is interesting. Webster won’t be counted on for much early on and might not even be active. The skill set is there, though, for him to break out once he develops a bit more. He showed pass-rush abilities during the preseason but needs time to figure things out. By midseason, he could push for rotational time. If an injury forces him to play, he has the skills to get by immediately.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): He could end up active on game days for special teams and because the team has only five cornerbacks. He is very raw in coverage and should have little-to-no role on defense as a rookie. But he could end up playing a lot on teams when he is active.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid will likely be active Sundays as the fourth tackle in the rotation. He probably won’t see many snaps on game days as long as Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley and even Jason Jones are healthy and active, but he’ll work in some. Reid will have a special teams role and has a knack for blocking kicks, so expect him to be used there. By midseason, he could have more of a rotational presence.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the PUP list for now. Won’t play until midseason more than likely. Even then will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): He is Detroit’s kicker and other than Ebron should have more of a role than any rookie. He was perfect on field goals during his senior year in college and while that seems unrealistic in the NFL, he’ll need to be a good kicker this season for the Lions to contend.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): The tackle will likely be active on game days, but the only way he’ll play is if there are a lot of offensive line injuries. His size is massive and he’ll end up on some special teams, but he’s still figuring out the position. Best-case scenario is he can learn for a year and compete for a starting spot in 2015.

S Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): Another interesting situation here. He could end up seeing more time than other rookies if he ends up active. He has major special teams talent and should be capable enough if he were to have to play safety. Right now, the Lions safeties are a somewhat banged-up group, so that could happen sooner than later.
For the majority of Detroit's starters, the next time they'll see the field is on "Monday Night Football" next month. Their work is over and their roster spots are secure.

Against Jacksonville, a lot of those starters got enough time to actually show where they are as well. Here are some thoughts on some of the Lions' players on defense against the Jaguars.

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead: He played very well from sideline to sideline. He covered well on slot receivers and when he needed to chase rushers. He played extremely focused early on.

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley: He looked better than he has in the first two games and seemed to get a better jump and better pressure on the offensive linemen against the Jaguars. He was also held noticeably (but it wasn’t called) on at least one play in the first quarter. Fairley also got good pressure on Blake Bortles in the third quarter as well.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh: The roughing the passer penalty will get most of the attention, but he had his typical consistent game. He played well and shed blockers consistently to be around plays and to make them, but the roughing call was legitimate. It also didn’t help that Suh appeared to lower his head as he was running into Chad Henne.

Defensive end George Johnson: More good pressure for him again. He might be having the most impressive preseason of any Detroit Lions player -- certainly of any player who is tenuously trying to win a spot on the roster. He has good burst off the line to beat the opposing tackle.

Defensive end Devin Taylor: His athleticism remains his best attribute and it helps him when Detroit has him drop into coverage. He batted down -- almost intercepting -- one Henne pass and jumped to almost get his hands on another one in the first half. He also has good pass-rush skills, as he was able to break the line to pressure the quarterback more than once.

Defensive end Larry Webster: Another week, another decent performance from Webster, who once again was able to pressure the quarterback. Here’s the caveat -- he’s doing it mostly against guys who won’t make 53-man rosters. That said, the Lions took three defensive developmental projects in May in cornerback Nevin Lawson and Webster in the fourth round and defensive tackle Caraun Reid in the fifth round. Of the three, Webster appears the most ready to contribute, followed by Reid, who could have a role on special teams and as Detroit’s fourth defensive tackle.

Cornerback Chris Greenwood: He might make the Lions, but he's just been the best of a very mediocre back-end group at cornerback more than anything else. He was beaten pretty easily by Allen Hurns for a touchdown to continue an inconsistent preseason. He handled himself well against Oakland in the second preseason game but appeared to struggle against the Jaguars. That isn’t much different than Jonte Green, whom he might be competing with for a roster spot. More and more, depth at corner feels like an issue for Detroit and also a place where the Lions are going to study the waiver wire after both rounds of cuts.

Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus: He got the start when James Ihedigbo sat and handled himself well in a fill-in situation. Abdul-Quddus got good pressure on a safety blitz and almost intercepted a Bortles pass during the two-minute drill at the end of the first half and then a tipped ball in the second half. He’s been around the ball whenever he’s played in the preseason.

Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio: Adding one special-teams player here. It felt like he had a lot of the momentum entering Friday night’s game against Jacksonville. Then he missed a 51-yard field goal against the Jaguars and his battle with Nate Freese continues to turn. Such a tough battle to call.
The Detroit Lions are halfway through their preseason schedule and players are starting to emerge either as surprise candidates for roster spots or surprisingly on the roster bubble.

The Lions gained some game evidence against Cleveland and even more against Oakland last Friday as first cuts loom in less than a week.

Here are some players that stood out -- positively or negatively -- on defense against the Raiders:

Defensive end George Johnson: Really good effort. Able to sidestep linemen pretty well. A little bit slow coming off the line and doesn’t have great speed, but his size makes up for that. On his first pressure, Matt Schaub danced away from him, but fight into Stephen Tulloch. He definitely pushed the pocket when he was able to rush in passing situations. Xavier Proctor was credited with a second half sack, but it was Johnson who really made the play -- and probably should have been credited for the sack, too. On the following play, he almost had another big play but was held.

Defensive end Larry Webster: Did well coming off the edge. Didn’t always get to the quarterback, but caused pressure enough to make a difference -- including the pressure that injured Derek Carr. He was in a pretty good position over and over, although it didn’t seem like he used a variety of moves. He basically appeared to rely on his instinct and speed and win the battle.

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley: Watched him intently. Was pushed off the line really easily pretty often. Even on the Ihedigbo interception, where he was dictating his matchup with the offensive lineman, he didn’t create too much pressure and the lineman still had good position on him. Was handled by the offensive linemen in one-on-one coverage on a lot of plays, although he did draw double teams on occasion.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy: Thought he was much more active Friday night. Was good in coverage -- handling a wide receiver -- and also took some good rush lanes against Oakland’s passers. He received a ton of snaps and is really in a split situation right now with Ashlee Palmer.

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch: Smart blitzer. Both times he was sent early, he got pressure -- once with DeAndre Levy and once with Johnson. If the Lions use him more in that role than in prior years, then he should end up having a good season. He seems to have good instincts from the second level to reach the quarterback.

Cornerback Rashean Mathis: Pretty decent night for him. Gave up some passes, but had a really strong pass breakup in the second quarter and also broke up the pass that led to a James Ihedigbo interception. He really looks like the Lions’ top cornerback right now. Mathis had a bad holding call against James Jones, though.

Cornerback Drayton Florence: Yes, he was a late signing, but the only thing of note he has done in his first week-plus with the Lions was get burned deep on a double move by Greg Little. The only reason he still has a shot here -- and it probably isn’t a big one -- is neither Chris Greenwood nor Jonte Green has established themselves either.

Cornerback Jonte Green: He was picked on mercilessly by Derek Carr and Matt McGloin. Even when he didn’t give up the reception, he was beaten on a play -- including on a deep route where Carr overthrew Greg Little. If it was a more accurate pass, Little had a touchdown. Green also picked up a defensive holding call on the final drive. On the final drive, McGloin went at Green at least five times. Green was also in the general area of McGloin’s touchdown pass (although that wasn’t his fault since it appeared to be zone coverage and there were multiple players around).
The Detroit Lions will play their second preseason game Friday night at Oakland (10 ET), and while we covered certain issues to pay attention to earlier today, there are a bunch of players to pay somewhat close attention to during the late night west coast matchup.

For all of them, a good or bad performance can mean making the team or the practice squad. Here's a primer of who I'll be focusing on (from my couch, since I won't be in Oakland, but we can chat on Twitter):

1. RB George Winn: He's made some big plays during practice and in the preseason opener. Mentioned him in the earlier preview as well, but this could be his best chance to make a strong roster push. Theo Riddick should receive some of the carries that Winn might have otherwise seen since he missed most of the first preseason game, but Winn will get a long look. At this point, he's putting together an audition tape for the practice squad and trying to unseat Mikel Leshoure. The big thing to pay attention to with Winn -- special teams. If he pops up on a first-team special teams unit, that could be a major sign for him.

2. S Jerome Couplin: The Osprey was one of the most focused-on undrafted free agents because of his wingspan and nickname. Then he went out and made some big hits during the preseason opener and has been continually popping up in practice. The Lions are clearly taking a strong look at him, as they played him with the second team defense all week. If he makes a play or two Friday night, he may start to receive real roster consideration instead of a likely practice squad spot.

3. QB Kellen Moore: He put together a strong first performance but he'll need to do it more consistently to have a real shot. Frankly, he'll also need current No. 2 quarterback Dan Orlovsky to continue to struggle as well. But with a good opening game, Moore at least put himself in some conversation for a backup quarterback position on the team. If he gets some actual time with the No. 2 offense, that'll signal the Lions may be looking at it, too.

4. WR Kevin Ogletree: He has been really strong during camp, but had a bad drop in the opener against Cleveland. He should make the roster, although having a good performance against the Raiders wouldn't be a bad thing for him to put on film just to solidify what Detroit's coaches are seeing in practice.

5. WR Ryan Broyles: Like Moore and Winn, he had a good first game and appeared to have no setbacks from his Achilles injury last season. If he's healthy, he should make the roster. If he wants to do more than that, though, another good game would certainly help him here -- especially if he wants to try and push Ogletree for the No. 3 position.

6. DT Caraun Reid: The rookie from Princeton played well in his debut, making two plays in the backfield and showing he can handle the NFL. If he builds on this -- and there is little reason to think he won't -- he could end up being a larger part of the defensive tackle rotation than initially thought. Reid's spot on the team is safe.

7.CB Chris Greenwood: If the Lions keep six cornerbacks, the final spot will be a likely competition between Jonte Green, Drayton Florence and Greenwood. Green appeared to have the initial inside path to this spot -- and then he barely played in the preseason opener. Florence remains an intriguing candidate, but hasn't played much yet. Watch the snaps here, as Greenwood might end up pushing himself into the spot. A real outside candidate would be Mohammed Seisay, but he is probably a bit too raw for a roster spot just yet.

8.Kickers: I'll put Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio in the same spot here since they are two guys competing for one job. Freese appears to have the edge right now, although Tavecchio has been more consistent in practice. At this point, Tavecchio needs to continue to hit all his opportunities and probably needs Freese to miss a few to have a shot, but he has proven himself as a NFL kicker during this camp.

9. DT Nick Fairley: How many snaps will he get? How will he play in those snaps? Fairley is the most intriguing player on the Lions right now because of what occurred in practice last week. In what is expected to be limited snaps, will a motivated Fairley show up?

10. DE Larry Webster: Like Reid, Webster made a few plays in his debut. If he continues to do that, he could end up being a rotational factor this fall instead of being a pure developmental project for the Lions. His size, speed and build could turn him into a freakish defensive end once he figures everything out. Between him, Devin Taylor and Ezekiel Ansah, that could three high-caliber ends in a season or two.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- It was the final repetition of one of the more physical drills the Detroit Lions do during their practices. Offensive lineman versus defensive lineman. Usually one-on-one.

The goal for the offensive lineman is to protect the hanging bag, otherwise known as the quarterback. The defensive lineman’s goal is to beat the offensive lineman and then knock the bag down. Larry Webster lined up and saw converted tight end Michael Williams in front of him.

 Williams is exceedingly raw as a tackle, still learning the position. Webster is fairly inexperienced as a rookie defensive end who mostly played basketball in college. The rep started. Webster used a fake. And then he ran right over Williams, knocking him to the ground.

Moves like this and power like that led the Lions to use a fourth-round pick on Webster at defensive end, even with the realization he might not be ready to contribute on a major level this season.

Yet, a few weeks into practice, Webster has at least appeared to be a player who is picking things up well. Witness his annihilation of Williams on Tuesday and an increased level of comfort with everything.

“Just more reps,” Webster said. “Once you start to know what you’re doing, it allows you to play faster. Obviously you get more comfortable that way.”

Webster played 26 snaps against Cleveland on Saturday night and also was in on four special teams plays. Those are numbers that should increase -- particularly the defensive reps -- as the preseason moves along and Webster tries to find his niche on this Lions team.

In his debut, he had two tackles, including a tackle for loss, and was one of four Lions to register a quarterback hit. Pro Football Focus also had him with two quarterback hurries.

For a rookie in his first-ever NFL game, that’s not too bad. It might be the biggest key as Webster said he doesn’t feel as inexperienced as maybe he should be.

“Not necessarily,” Webster said. “I didn’t really have as much experience as other people, but I’m gaining experience fast as I’m going through it fast.”

He said his coaches have helped him there, stressing what he has done well along with where he needs to still get better. Considering where he’s coming from -- a small school with a heavy background in another sport -- he still has a lot of room to grow.
Question of the Week is a weekly feature here where we take a cross-section of opinions from Detroit Lions players and coaches (and sometimes opponents) about a singular topic. Most of the time, they have nothing to do with football. Have a suggestion for a question? Email

Last season's Questions of the Week.

This season: 10 years from now; Exciting offseason activities; Rookie nerves.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Days during training camp can be long and tough. Players are away from their families, their friends. The only people they sometimes see are their teammates, their coaches and the media.

In this vein, I ended up curious about one thing: Who, exactly, makes these players laugh the most?

When some asked whether I meant on the team, I just responded with 'in life, who is the person who makes you laugh the most' and they could answer however they wanted. Somewhat surprisingly, most stuck with people close to them. These are their answers:

Cornerback Rashean Mathis: "My son (Rashean Jr.). It’s just amazing. It’s a wonderful creation, to see his own personality. You have mothers and you have fathers with their personalities, but to see a little kid grow up and develop his own personality and learn something new each week, it’s amazing. Recently, what has he done. I’m trying to see. I’ve been in camp the last couple weeks.

"One thing, it makes me laugh and makes me proud. I video record him all the time. So I swing my golf club in the house all the time. He has a golf club and to see him ... I’ll get golf balls for him ... so to see him swing the golf club and he finishes, he makes sure he finishes on his toes like he really knows what he’s doing and he waits for me to look for approval. It’s funny. It’s awesome to see, but it’s funny at the same time. He’s 2."

Wide receiver Ryan Broyles: "My wife (Mary Beth). You just never know what you get out of her. We have a one-on-one conversation and she can be so funny, but she really thrives when she’s around other people. She really catches me off-guard with some of the things she says. She has no sensor at all."

Offensive lineman Travis Swanson: "That’s a tricky one. ... As far as people that just make me laugh, all the O-line guys that I’ve been around. All the guys here are hilarious. All my O-line buddies back in college were hysterical. There’s one guy back in college. His name is Austin Beck. He was kind of a guy that if you needed any laugh whatsoever, you could go to him. He wouldn’t even know that he would do it. He would just do something. He thought he was the best dancer in the world, but he was the worst dancer in the world. So any time, obviously there was music playing in the locker room and stuff, he would kind of get it in his head and it was entertaining to watch."

Tight end Eric Ebron: "Who makes me laugh? My nephew (Legend Jackson). He does crazy stuff. Just different, man. He reminds me of me, that’s what makes me laugh. He’s hyper. He’s crazy. He just five (on Monday)."

Defensive lineman Larry Webster: "The whole D-line makes me laugh. (In your life?) My family. My friends. We’re always joking around about something. It’s basically everybody. I’m always laughing."

Wide receiver Golden Tate: "Jeremy Ross makes me laugh. (In your life?) Anyone with a good personality. I’m pretty easy to make laugh. I like the witty comments that if you don’t get a certain reference, you won’t get the joke. Like an inside joke with movies and things like that."

Offensive lineman Alex Bullard: "There’s a lot of people that make me laugh, but the person that makes me laugh the most is my best friend (Justin Cash) back home. We’ve known each other for so long and we have our inside jokes. When you’ve been best friends with somebody, you have non-verbal communication that’s funny. We laugh at the same things."

Cornerback Cassius Vaughn: "My wife (Monica). She’s just silly, man. I’ve been with her for so long. ... She’s like my best friend, my everything. She funny. She knows how to make me laugh and keep my mind right. (What does she do?) Anything. You have a bond with somebody for so long, all the mushy stuff go out the door and it’s just we have a good time together and we love that. That’s just how my house is. We have a good time, secure, have a good time making each other laugh and enjoy each other."

Lions Camp Report: Day 13

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
ALLEN PARK, Mich. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Detroit Lions training camp.
  • The news of the day arrived before practice, when defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was pulled off the PUP list and returned to practice on a limited basis Tuesday evening. He didn’t fully participate and was not expected to, but he looked fairly strong during individual drills, pushing the sled with some gusto. He appeared happy to be back as well, and he’ll be eased into this since the Lions have a few weeks before their first regular-season game against the New York Giants. He’ll likely get some work during a preseason game, but it won’t be Friday as he’s already been ruled out. Right guard Larry Warford, who missed practice Monday, also returned Tuesday.
  • The other major defensive line storyline revolved around defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who played with the second unit for the second consecutive practice. Ndamukong Suh and C.J. Mosley took the first-team reps at tackle throughout the practice, including during 11-on-11 periods. When Mosley wasn’t in, Jason Jones moved inside to take some reps at tackle. Fairley worked with Andre Fluellen and Jimmy Saddler-McQueen on the second unit a bunch Tuesday night and didn’t look all that impressive. In one-on-one drills with offensive linemen, he was blocked well once by Rodney Austin, but Fairley annihilated Austin the next time the two faced each other.
  • Mosley, meanwhile, looked good with the first unit. He plugged the middle of the line well and didn’t lose any rushers when they came near him. In all, the first-team defensive line had another really strong performance against the first-team offensive line. Suh continues to look like his dominant self and Devin Taylor is getting better coming off the edge. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Ansah returns to full strength and Taylor is truly competing with Jones for the closed end starting spot.
  • Continuing with the defensive line theme here, Larry Webster had the hit of the practice, running right through Michael Williams to end the one-on-one drills. Webster said after that he just “worked one of my moves, converted speed to power.” It was enough to completely flatten Williams, who is transitioning from tight end to offensive tackle during this camp.
  • The night practice was Jim Caldwell’s idea as part of trying to prepare his players for all situations, including potential night games like the one Detroit will play Friday at Oakland. He also did it because there is always the possibility the team could end up having a flexed game at some point during the season.

    “It’s very, very important to get your team as many opportunities as you can to get ready for challenges that they may face and this is the time to do it, during training camp,” Caldwell said. “We don’t have the luxury during the regular season, we usually practice at a set time and typically not at night, so this is a time where you can adjust your schedule, move it around quite a bit. It’s not the normal routine, so it makes them adjust. I like the fact that they have to adjust.”
  • More on this Wednesday morning, but Golden Tate participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge after practice. He also said the Lions offense received Shinola watches for beating the defense in a team bowling competition Monday night, but didn’t know who footed the bill for it.
  • The Lions return to practice Wednesday at 2 p.m., the final practice open to the public this season.

Lions Camp Report: Day 6

August, 2, 2014
Aug 2
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Detroit Lions training camp:
  • The Lions had a scrimmage Saturday during their yearly family day, dividing the roster into the first-team offense and second-team defense on one side and the second-team offense and first-team defense on the other. The first-team offense and defense had all the typical players save Calvin Johnson, who did not practice Saturday. That wasn’t surprising considering the Lions’ focus on keeping their star as fresh as possible. In their daily switch, LaAdrian Waddle lined up with the first team at right tackle and Corey Hilliard with the second team, but that competition between two players who will make the roster continues. Defensively, Tahir Whitehead received a lot of time at linebacker spelling Stephen Tulloch.
  • Big day for Eric Ebron, who caught a really long pass from Matthew Stafford and appeared to be more confident on the field than he has at any point this camp. It’s still going to be a learning process for him for a bit and there will certainly be mistakes, but Saturday was encouraging. Lions coach Jim Caldwell also seemed comfortable with Ebron’s progress as he learns the multitude of spots he is expected to line up at this fall. Ebron’s play was one of the highlights for the Lions’ offense of the scrimmage considering his issues with drops.
  • The Lions had some issues snapping the ball when Dominic Raiola was not part of the scrimmage. Both Darren Keyton – playing with the first group – and Travis Swanson had bad snaps to quarterbacks, causing issues. In Swanson’s case, it led to a fumble recovery for a touchdown by rookie Larry Webster, one of the better plays the defensive end has made during camp. While Swanson is still expected to be the backup center when everything shakes out a month from now, those issues amplified the importance of Raiola and his presence again this season.
  • Detroit’s cornerback situation behind Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis could get interesting. Jonte Green had his best day of camp thus far, breaking up two passes intended for receiver Ryan Broyles, who has not run with the first team much this camp. Chris Greenwood struggled again Saturday as well as those two potentially compete for one roster spot. Slay, Mathis, Bill Bentley, Nevin Lawson and probably Cassius Vaughn appear to be ahead of both Green and Greenwood on the depth chart – although Lawson is going to mostly play nickel. Still a long way to go in this competition with not much settled in the first week.
  • Another good day for Detroit’s kickers as Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio made all their field goals attempted during the scrimmage, including a 50-yarder from Tavecchio that sailed through the uprights with ease. Unlike last season, when David Akers won the kicking job fairly easily, this season it seems like this could go on for a while. A wrinkle here could be something Caldwell said Saturday – that the team would consider using punter Sam Martin on extremely long field goal attempts. He compared it to his situation in Indianapolis, where Caldwell considered using punter Pat McAfee on long field goals. McAfee never attempted a field goal in a game, though. So something to consider as this competition progresses -- especially as Martin has an extremely impressive camp punting.

The Lions will take Sunday off before practicing again Monday at 8:30 a.m.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing the Detroit Lions entering training camp, which begins at the end of July. A reminder: Unless a player is an entrenched starter, so much of what will happen over the next month or so will be entirely fluid as players attempt to make an NFL roster.

Position: Defensive line

Starter: Open end -- Ezekiel Ansah; Closed End – Jason Jones; Tackles -- Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley

Depth (in training camp): Ends -- Devin Taylor, Darryl Tapp, Larry Webster, George Johnson, Kalonji Kashama. Tackles -- C.J. Mosley, Caraun Reid, Andre Fluellen, Gregory Hickman, Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, Xavier Proctor.

Likely roster spots: Ends -- four; tackles -- four or five.

[+] EnlargeNick Fairley
Paul Sancya/AP PhotoA trimmer Nick Fairley comes off a season in which he posted six sacks.
What to expect in camp: One of the bigger storylines of Detroit Lions camp -- and the season -- until it occurs will be Suh’s contract situation. Until he signs a new deal or says he is not going to, it will be one of the most important focal points of the year for the Lions. That is the main off-the-field piece for Detroit.

On the field, there will be a lot to expect. Figure Ansah to finally work his way into his starting defensive end spot after missing all of spring workouts as he recovered from shoulder surgery. The most interesting competition of the camp will be at closed defensive end, where Jones and Taylor will likely be fighting for a starting role.

The situation at tackle will be set, as Suh and Fairley will occupy starting spots and Mosley will be the team’s third tackle. Most of the main competition will be behind those three, as fifth-round pick Reid will compete with veterans and former practice squad players for spots on the 53-man roster.

At end, the top three players are set and Webster is the likely fourth option at end after the team used a fourth-round pick on the developmental project. Where it could become interesting is if the Lions’ defensive staff believes both Taylor and Jones have the capability to play inside as well as out and if Suh can start playing outside some as well as inside. If that flexibility exists -- and it very well could -- don’t be shocked if the Lions keep the best possible defensive line players instead of a certain amount of ends and tackles.

Having enough players who can be effective at both spots should open up the entire defense to more flexibility throughout the year.

What Detroit needs to see: This begins with Fairley. The defensive tackle showed a slimmed-down version of himself during offseason workouts, allowing him to both feel better about himself and also play better and longer at a smarter weight for him. He has been gone for six weeks, though, and he needs to show he is back in town in the same shape in which he left. If he does that, it is a good sign for the Lions.

The team also could use growth from the two rookies they drafted on the line -- Reid and Webster. Both are going to likely have roster spots -- Reid because of his special teams capabilities, and Webster due to where they drafted him -- so they have to be able to contribute in certain areas. Neither one was used much with the first two teams during spring workouts, but that needs to change in camp.

Detroit also needs to see a healthy Ansah. He battled various injuries throughout his rookie year, including a preseason concussion, and he has to be able to produce for Detroit to have the effectiveness it hopes to have on the defensive line. He is a major piece to any defensive success the team has this fall.
The offseason workouts have concluded and with players and coaches about six weeks away from the start of training camp, one last rest and individualized training period will commence.

After a month of workouts, though, there have been some players who have made cases for potential roster spots in the fall and others who did not help themselves nearly as much.

Just like the start of the spring workouts, here is a look at the Detroit defensive and special teams depth chart -- along with a post-minicamp guess at the 53-man roster that could end up being the Lions' team in the fall. Remember, a lot can change between now and then.

Changes from our May defensive prediction are in parentheses. The offensive roster prediction lives here.


Starters: Ezekiel Ansah (open); Jason Jones (closed)

Backups (in projected depth-chart order for now): Devin Taylor, Darryl Tapp, Larry Webster, George Johnson, Kalonji Kashama.

Thoughts: Ansah didn’t practice this spring but he is a starter and should have a good year. Jones started to look healthier and will likely be pushed by Taylor throughout camp. Taylor may end up winning the job. Tapp is a good veteran and Webster is raw. Really raw.

Roster locks: Ansah, Jones, Taylor. (no changes)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Ansah, Jones, Taylor, Tapp, Webster. (Webster up from practice squad)


Starters: Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley.

Backups: C.J. Mosley, Caraun Reid, Andre Fluellen, Xavier Proctor, Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, Greg Hickman.

Thoughts: The Lions cut a lot of marginal veteran weight here during the spring and really somewhat set their defensive tackle depth chart. Suh and Fairley, at least in the spring, look like they could be the dominant pairing the Lions wanted the past few seasons. Both Jones and Taylor can play inside, so that gives the Lions flexibility.

Roster locks: Suh, Fairley, Mosley (no changes)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Suh, Fairley, Mosley, Reid, Proctor (practice squad) (Add Proctor to practice squad)


Starters: DeAndre Levy (weak side); Stephen Tulloch (middle); Kyle Van Noy (strong side)

Backups (in projected depth-chart order for now): Ashlee Palmer, Tahir Whitehead, Travis Lewis, Julian Stanford, Cory Greenwood, Brandon Hepburn, Justin Jackson.

Thoughts: The starters are pretty set here with the two veterans and the rookie, Van Noy. Palmer will end up playing his way onto the team, but watch for Whitehead here. He is a potential candidate to push for playing time or at least be a stable backup in the middle. The last spot here could be between Stanford and Lewis for a mainly special-teams spot. In this version, I cut both Stanford and Lewis in favor of a sixth cornerback, but could easily see that changing by the time the next roster projection is done before camp.

Roster locks: Levy, Tulloch, Van Noy (no changes)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Levy, Tulloch, Van Noy, Palmer, Whitehead, Hepburn (practice squad). (Jackson off practice squad, Palmer to the 53-man roster).


Starters: Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis (Chris Houston off team).

Backups (in projected depth-chart order for now): Bill Bentley, Cassius Vaughn, Chris Greenwood, Nevin Lawson, Jonte Green, Aaron Hester, Mohammed Seisay.

Thoughts: The release of Houston opens up this competition and a roster spot for another cornerback, potentially. Slay and Mathis are likely starters here with everyone else fighting for time and, other than Lawson, a roster spot. It’ll be one of the toughest battles of camp. This was one of the toughest cuts I had to make.

Roster locks: Slay, Mathis, Lawson. (Add Mathis, subtract Houston)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Slay, Mathis, Bentley, Vaughn, Lawson, Greenwood, Seisay (practice squad). (Houston, Green off; Seisay on practice squad).


Starters: Glover Quin, James Ihedigbo.

Backups (in projected depth-chart order for now): Don Carey, Isa Abdul-Quddus, DeJon Gomes, Jerome Couplin, Gabe Lynn.

Thoughts: The Lions are good with their top three safeties in Quin, Ihedigbo and Carey. Carey can play both nickel and corner in an emergency, which makes him imminently valuable for the Lions. Abdul-Quddus and Gomes might be competing for one roster spot and that should be an intense battle throughout camp. Between these two was the last cut I made. Initially had both making the roster until the end.

Roster locks: Quin, Ihedigbo, Carey. (no changes)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Quin, Ihedigbo, Carey, Abdul-Quddus, Couplin (practice squad)


Starter: Nate Freese

Backup: Giorgio Tavecchio

Thoughts: Still Freese's job to lose, but this might be a tougher competition than anticipated. Tavecchio has the stronger leg and if he can add consistency, he’ll win the gig. Otherwise, it’s Freese’s. Right now, it’s a toss-up.

Roster locks: None.

If picking the roster today, this guy would be on it: Freese.


Starter: Sam Martin

Backups: None.

Thoughts: None. It’s Martin.

Roster locks: Martin.

If picking the roster today, this guy would be on it: Martin.


Starter: Don Muhlbach.

Backups: Jordan Thompson.

Thoughts: None. Barring injury, Muhlbach will be the team’s long-snapper.

Roster locks: Muhlbach.

If picking the roster today, this guy would be on it: Muhlbach.
The actual offseason, when players take leave of Michigan for the most part until training camp starts, is only a week away.

But until then, there are still a lot of questions to be answered about the Detroit Lions so let's get to them.

As always, if you have questions for the Mailbag, either tweet them with the hashtag #LionsMailbag or email The Mailbag is only as good as the questions you ask.

We chatted all about the Detroit Lions on Tuesday over at and you can relive that experience here. But, as always, there were a bunch of questions we couldn't get to.

So we'll answer some more here.

Joe (Royal Oak): The Saints offense never seemed to really need Reggie Bush and often just used him as a decoy, which also has its merits, but is it worth paying an aging RB $5 million a year? He was pretty dang good last year so more of a question of whether it is time to push for cheaper players at the position?


This is a good question and one that is timely considering there appears to be a de-emphasis on the importance of a featured running back. Look at the way running backs were drafted in May. That said, Bush, when healthy, gives the Lions a game-breaking option in the backfield they don't have from anyone else on the roster.

Here’s something else to consider. While Bush has indicated he wants to be in Detroit for the long-term, his dead money in 2015 is $2 million and $1 million in 2016. Both of those numbers are manageable if the team didn’t see him as a viable option any longer. So keep that in mind when thinking of Bush. I would anticipate either the Lions use Bush a lot this season or the discussion at this point next season is whether or not he sticks around for a while.

Jay (Kalamazoo): Is Larry Webster destined for the practice squad due to how raw he is, or will his athleticism and the lack of depth at defensive end allow him to stick on the 53?


On my pre-OTAs roster breakdown, I had Webster on the practice squad and was criticized for doing so because there is the thought he would get signed by someone else pretty quickly. That is probably true and might be why he would stick on the 53-man roster, at least to start. The question would be how fast his development would have to be for him to contribute in a meaningful way in 2014. If there isn’t swift development, then he could eat up a roster spot until he is ready. But there is not a lot of depth there now, so he has a definitive shot.

Ashley (via mobile): Darius Slay is going to be an All-Pro shutdown cornerback this year. Mark it down.


Noted. While I believe Slay will improve and become a good starting cornerback by the middle of the season, All-Pro might be stretching it. He’s not at the Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman level of cornerback yet. Not sure if he has the skills to get there, either, but he has a good shot to be a really good corner if he develops right.

Terrence (Richmond, VA): Do you think Golden Tate will make a big difference in the offense?

Terrence, I do. He’s going to take pressure off of Calvin Johnson because he is a playmaker and can be used in the slot or outside. He also has two of the best hands in the NFL, so that will make him much more of a threat. It’ll be interesting to see where he lines up compared to Eric Ebron, but the addition of Tate will help both Johnson and Ebron this fall. If nothing else, he becomes a strong third down option that has a history of reliability in that area.

Otto (happy hour): Do you see the Lions bringing pressure from different spots along with press coverage resulting in more turnovers? Of course the downside is if the opposing quarterback spots the open receiver big plays could result.


Glad it is 5 o’clock where ever it is in this awesome, vast world that you are. I think you’ll see the exact scenario you described. The Lions are going to bring a lot more pressure this season than last and part of it will be using a guy like rookie Kyle Van Noy in different spots and sending him to harass quarterbacks. As far as press coverage, Detroit is going to use that a lot. Or, as Darius Slay said, the Lions could use it every play. It’s dangerous, but if it allows Ndamukong Suh, Ezekiel Ansah and Nick Fairley more open lanes to get to the quarterback, then the Lions should do it. Probably should have last season as well.

Pat (Troy, MI): The fact that I’m very excited about the early stories on Cassius Vaughn…too much time on my hands? Or very underrated grab for us?


Time will be the barometer here, but he has a shot to make the roster. Don’t think he’ll turn into a game-changing cornerback but if he can provide depth and become a potential reliable option then it ends up being a good signing. To add to this with a question I won’t get to, if Vaughn makes the roster, you’re probably looking at Bill Bentley, Jonte Green or Chris Greenwood not making it. If the Lions feel good about Don Carey and Rashean Mathis on the inside (assuming Chris Houston ends up back) then Bentley’s role is in question. Otherwise, it is either Green or Greenwood who would be in trouble.