Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Lions camp: Day 1
By Kevin Seifert
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions were in full pads Tuesday for the first day of our training camp visit. We've already noted the decidedly positive mood of safety Louis Delmas, so now let's run through some quick-hitting practice observations:
- General manager Martin Mayhew wasn't joking when he said the Lions have their biggest team in his tenure. Oh my gosh. Rookie tight ends Michael Williams and Joseph Fauria are legitimately 6-foot-6, making them the tallest pair of tight ends in the NFC North. But the real eye-opener is rookie defensive end Devin Taylor, who is listed at 6-foot-7. I can't say Taylor did anything from a pass-rushing standpoint that stood out, but at that size, all he has to do is raise his arms to cause a ruckus.
- The Lions spent the early part of camp rotating their right guard and right tackle spots, but I thought it was notable that they spent most of Tuesday's practice with veteran Dylan Gandy at right guard and Jason Fox at right tackle. The first preseason game is three days away, so you wonder if Gandy and Fox will get the first starts of the summer at their respective positions.
- Whoever wins that right guard position will have earned it. Imagine having to demonstrate promise to the coaching staff while working against defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. During the portion of one-on-one drills I watched, Fairley got the best of Gandy.
- I watched left tackle Riley Reiff as much as I could. He was matched up for the most part on defensive end Willie Young, who is working with the first team. Young had some nice rushes in one-on-one drills, but in the team portion, Reiff did what I expect he will do this season: He held his own.
- "Kickalicious" passes the eye test. Who knew what to expect from a place-kicker who had never kicked with a helmet on, let alone behind a line, when the offseason began? But Havard Rugland converted two of three kicks I saw and seems to have a pretty good grasp of fundamentals. Will he beat out David Akers? Doubtful. But he is by no means a circus act.
- Rookie running back/returner Steven Miller is really, really fast. During punt coverage duty Tuesday, he blew past two defenders trying to slow him down as a gunner. Neither touched him.
- Bill Bentley seems quite comfortable as the Lions' nickel back. He did a nice job breaking up a pass to receiver Nate Burleson in team drills.
- Don't fret: I also watched quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Calvin Johnson, running back Reggie Bush and others Tuesday. I'll continue compiling my information there and come back with something more substantial on them in the coming days.