Lions SRD – Packing for Rookie Training Camp

In this edition of Lions SRD, Ben and Marty get to catch up since Marty has been gone (1:00), the Lions cut two free agents before the start of rookie training camp, but bring in Matt Asiata (20:00), the Patriots tendered an offer LeGarrett Blount (24:30), how old is Ziggy Ansah really (31:00) Ansah getting contract advice from Ndamukong Suh (36:10), what does Brad Kaaya being a Lions mean (42:40).

SZILAGY: The Detroit Lions and What I’m Looking For…

by Ben Szilagy (@BenSzilagy)

Football addicts and fiends have been waiting what seems like forever (really its just a few months) for a glimpse at what the latest edition of their NFL teams look like.

If you’re a true diehard, you adhered to the NFL Network last night to start the IV drip to help you cope with your addiction. That’s all well and fine, I was there with you.

By kdoebler [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By kdoebler [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Like you, I’ll be tuning into WXYZ on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. to catch the Detroit Lions first real scrimmage against the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets with a few things in mind.

Before I dive into them, you’ll notice a few things, 1. I normally don’t write in the first person, and 2. This isn’t going to be a simple “five things to watch” column. No. Instead this will let you into what I look for in a scrimmage, especially one as almost trivial as game one of the preseason but I digress.

Besides, guys like Matt Stafford, and Calvin Johnson are only going to see a hand full of plays. This could also be said for guys like Reggie Bush, the newest weapon in a ballistics cache and stockpile in a race for NFC North supremacy. But No. 21 is worth mentioning. Why? Because he’s new.

Bush was added to the Lions to be a better version of Jahvid Best. When Best was healthy, he added an extra dimension that helped the Lions reach a gear in 2011 that’s very seldom seen.

Granted the Lions aren’t going to tip their hand in the first game of the preseason. That’d be really foolish, and downright stupid. But I’ll be looking to see if Bush will get straight handoffs, or if he’ll be used to catch a simple screen pass. You’re probably not going to see Bush go in motion and line up as a receiver (see the tipping hands comment).  But it’ll be important to see what he can do with live bodies blocking for him against other live bodies.

I’ll naturally be fixed to the offensive line, a position group that has much to prove. Guys like Jason Fox and Reilly Reiff are more than capable than holding their spots. Now they need to prove it in the spotlight. Those two, along with the interior line, needs reps to stave off any worries anyone may have. The question marks could soon be periods, and the offensive line is a big question mark at the moment.

So is the secondary. The reports out of camp indicate that this secondary (when healthy) could be the best secondary under Jim Schwartz. I’m skeptical too. Bill Bentley and rookie Darius Slay have drawn rave reviews. Coupled that with a guy that is my favorite move of the off-season in Glover Quin who can cement himself as a leader of the back seven, definitely has my attention.

Though it’s painfully obvious (and for that I apologize) you have to keep an eye on Ziggy Ansah. The reasons are many and exhausted already, but will be regurgitated anyways. He’s raw. He’s quick. He’s explosive. Time to put that against live action, and see if he can be disruptive.  Any gains from Friday will be huge. The hope is this, that the game tape will be good enough and not full of mistakes that nullify any hope of Ansah’s expectations (enter caveat of Willie Young and his preseason awesomeness that hasn’t translated into the regular season).

Granted he has three more games after this, but for a guy that has barely played football up to this point, every game counts. He’ll have to show he’s all boom and no bust against a foe that will do everything to stop him.

Finally, I’ll end with a name that is off the beaten path but one that’s drawn attention from almost everyone in tight end Joe Fauria (No. 48).  The man is tall. Like, 6-foot-7 tall. He’s drawn rave reviews for his catching ability, but blocking is a question mark. Prove you can block, and you might be on to something Fauria, and that’s good.

The game will be shown live at 7:30 and not on tape delay, though will be replayed on my DVR countless times. Before I leave, also watch Geno Smith and see if can actually hit a check down receiver instead of over throwing the ball because he’s too determined to show he doesn’t have “slow eyes.”

UPDATE: S Louis Delmas, WR Ryan Broyles, CB Ron Bartell (shoulder), CB Jonte Green (hamstring) and CB Chris Greenwood (hamstring), OG Leroy Harris and DE Israel Idonije are all on the inactive list for Friday’s game for the Lions. Some of the inactive players may take place in pregame warmups, but they will not play.