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Detroit Lions training camp is one of the best events you could ever attend as a Lions fan. From a team perspective, however, performance on the practice field can lead to…or take away…reps in the preseason. Jobs are won and lost in the preseason for many of these guys, and for some this is the only audition they will ever get.
There are a lot of areas for players to excel or falter, but with the new pacing of training camp under Head Coach Jim Caldwell it’s practically impossible to catch everything in just one day. As such, here are several players who helped or hurt their chances at making the final roster.
During training camp last season, I always referred to Fuller as a “Wow” player. He would surprise you with an amazing wow play one moment, then on the next make you shake your head saying wow… Back then, the hope was that he could bring more of the former while eliminating the latter, and he did a good job of that today. Fuller’s route running leaves a lot to be desired, and his route tree will likely never be diverse. He must have spent this off season sharpening the few that he’s good at, though, because he was amazing on several occasions.
On one play, Fuller ran a simple out route and the corner didn’t see it coming. He caught an inaccurate pass away from his body, pulling it in before going out of bounds. That kind of body control was absent last season. Later, he would split Chris Greenwood and Don Carey on a go route and torch them on a deep pass that would have surely been a TD. There is still a lot of work to do with Fuller, so don’t imagine him starting immediately, but the difference between 2013 and 2014 is staggering. [related-categories]
Durham was forced into starting duty in 2013 after Nate Burleson’s pizza fiasco. He was able to acquire moderate production during the season, but his sub 50% catch rate was terrible, as was his sky high drop rate. Add in a fumble that fans will likely never forget (you know the one), and expectations weren’t very high.
Durham didn’t help his case much in camp today. He wasn’t a drop machine, but he did drop one that should have been a gimme. What’s likely to be the stopper on his roster spot at this point is his route running. It’s improved from last season’s monstrosity, but still very limited. He tends to decelerate into his breaks and when he doesn’t he telegraphs his moves. Not a good start for the big receiver.