Injuries have been a frustrating constant through Detroit Lions training camp so far but the good news is that the reports about players that are on the field are overwhelmingly positive.
Perhaps the situation is sort of like how it seems every baseball player shows up to spring training in “the best shape of his life” but this is just what Lions fans were hoping to hear. The team is back and they are picking up where they left off.
Jahvid Best was in position for a featured role in the Lions offense even before Mikel Leshoure was lost for the season with an achilles injury. He will still have some help from other running backs on the roster but it is likely his touch total went up by a couple per game when Leshoure went down. According to a quote from offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Best will be up to the challenge and it isn’t just because he is healthy:
I think there’s a world of difference for a rookie, regardless of Jahvid’s toe – or toes. It’s so much different to go from your rookie year to your second year, especially as a runner. You’re just learning the schemes and the timing and all of that. Once he got in to the season, he wasn’t really able to practice much. Every rep he’s taking now – at 100 percent healthy – he’s taking it to another level.
Rashied Davis, there’s a guy I can’t say enough about, the kind of pro you want to have. I’m able to show the young guys that this is a 32-year-old veteran, a special teamer, who has been in this year (seven) amount of years because he just does everything 100 percent and right. He’s been a great example for those guys. He’s going to be out there playing on our special teams a lot and you’ll see him jump in there on offensive plays and be a really effective receiver for us. He’s really caught my eye out here on the field.
Strong camp performances aren’t limited to the offensive side of the ball. The secondary has been a concern but Tom Kowalski’s report from camp today indicates that Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey look to have taken a step forward:
Detroit Lions safeties Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey aren’t allowed to light up running backs and receivers during practice, but it’s striking how many times they’re putting themselves in position to do just that.
Both Delmas and Spievey are doing an excellent job with their reading and reacting and flying to the ball. They’re not having a flawless camp, but you can see the improvement in recognition, especially with Spievey. Delmas was already solid in that area but, being healthy, it’s showing up more.
If you’re like me you were excited when camp started but that alone isn’t meeting your football fix anymore. Reports like the kind highlighted above really has my blood pumping and the fact that the preseason opener is tomorrow still feels like it is too far away.