The following is a training camp report from August 13 provided by SLR reader Mike Sullivan. You can follow him on twitter @MikeSullivan.
Fans at Detroit Lions practice yesterday morning were surprised to see All-Pro WR and Madden 13 Cover Athlete, Calvin Johnson, sitting out of practice with his left index finger taped up. A crowd of about 500 fans caught an up close and personal look at the 2012 Detroit Lions at their training facility in Allen Park this morning. Calvin’s finger has been bothering him since last week, but there wasn’t much concern after he played in the team’s first preseason game Friday night against the Cleveland Browns. To see him sit out today came as a shock to some fans, and also brought along some understandable concern and questions. Head Coach Jim Schwartz had this to say about “Megatron”:
"“He wasn’t shut down because of his finger,” Schwartz said. “Just general camp kind of legs and soreness. He needed a day here, too. Calvin doesn’t have a regulator, either.”"
Calvin has had his fair share of bumps and bruises in the 6 years he’s been in the league. While his left index finger is not a major injury, Jim Schwartz still felt it was necessary to simply give him the day off today and give his body some rest. When asked about the potential “Madden curse,” Calvin said “I’m a God-fearing man, curses don’t bother me.” Words that Lions fans were certainly happy to hear.
Johnson led the NFL with 1,681 receiving yards last year and played all 16 games for just the second time in his career. More great things are projected of him this season, as he is a consensus first round draft choice in almost every fantasy football draft so far this year. No reason for any concern about Calvin’s health today, but if he continues to miss practice time throughout the rest of the week, fans will definitely start getting a little nervous.
In just helmets and jerseys, it was a solid day of team practice. The Lions took the field at 9:15 AM and got off around 11:30 AM. It is clear that QB Matthew Stafford is certainly the leader of this team. He is the first one through the line in sprints, leads by his actions and sets the tone for tempo and offensive expectations. The Lions offense looked very efficient today with good rhythm and tempo. In Calvin’s absence, WR Maurice Stovall took reps with the 1s alongside Nate Burleson and Titus Young. While a decent number of defensive starters were still on the injury report today, the D still looked very quick and flew to the ball nicely. The secondary seemed about a half step late on judging routes, but rookie CB Bill Bentley is certainly turning some heads with his impressive camp and preseason so far. Expect physical play for Stephen Tulloch and the LB core, while Ndamukong Suh anchors the D-Line. Those wondering about the winningest college football QB of all time, Kellen Moore, he is the clear cut third QB (Behind Stafford and Shaun Hill.) It is still uncertain whether the Lions will keep 3 QBs on the active roster like they have the past couple years with Drew Stanton. Overall, a productive day for the Detroit Lions.