My first two days of visiting Detroit Lions training camp had a pretty equal share of ups and downs. I was pleasantly surprised when my third day there, despite being the most exciting due to seeing some very specific drills like press and diversified position drills, was almost entirely positive. It’s a good problem to have, I suppose, when there is fewer negatives than positives! Training camp on 8/5 not only matched the positive vibe from the previous day, but surpassed it. Even the weather seemed to understand that something special was going on, as it looked as if it were going to rain, hard, for much of the last half of camp but held off until camp was over and the crowds had dispersed. There were still ups and downs, however, but we’re doing it in bunches today to fit it all in!
Overall Stock Up!
The Receiving Corps
Nobody has doubts that Calvin Johnson will come on the field and dominate anyone unlucky enough to play corner across from him that day. Unbeknownst to me, I had done very little reporting on the Lions big free agent Acquisition, Golden Tate, during my stay in camp. The reason for this is quite simple. I haven’t needed to. Tate is just as good as advertized and, like Megatron, good things are just kind of assumed when the ball is thrown his way. Tate provides something to this offense that Matthew Stafford has never had, a credible threat that can move all over the field and wreak havoc if you get him the ball.
The rest of the receiving corps performed extremely well the past two days at Detroit Lions training camp. Even Kris Durham, who has been fairly unimpressive so far, really came into his own today. Pulling in some difficult catches, he even ran a couple, dare I say it, good routes today. Ryan Broyles came back to form as well, settling in between two zones underneath then ducking between two linebackers before taking off for what would have been a first down. Performances like that went on across the board, with even bottom-of-the-roster players like Quintin Payton joining in.
The Lions came into camp with huge question marks at the receiver position. Behind Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate was an oft injured Ryan Broyles, Kris Durham, who had more negative plays than positive ones in 2013, and TJ Jones heading to the PUP list. Behind that there wasn’t much to expect, but they’ve been given solid to strong play almost across the board from their receivers and it could end up even being a STRENGTH in 2014.