I was lucky enough to be able to attend today's OTAs at the Lions practice facility. Tremendous fun, I love watching this stuff. The practice was cut short to just 90 minutes because it started to rain, but they still walked around and met with the entire fan base that was there at the end. I slapped hands with Cavin, Suh, Reggie, Matthew, and most of the other starters. I took a few pics, and I posted them as always on my Facebook page, Larry Mortemore. They are able to be seen by anyone. I will go thru some of my observations, going by each position group. This might be a kind of long post.
The single most impressive thing I saw today was right at the beginning of practice, the QBs were warming up and their first drill was to make some precise but short throws into areas of the end zone. Corner, back line front corner throws. All of these throws went to Golden Tate, who was not really practicing today, but caught these throws. He caught every single pass but one with one hand. Stabbed them backhanded, front handed, high, low, and caught about 40 or so and dropped only one really poor throw. It was an amazing display, that got a large ovation when finished. Tate has incredible hands, many of these throws would've been highlight reel catches, truly stunning how good he is!
The WRs- the first guy who stood out was Kevin Ogletree, and it was because how poorly he played. He currently has no chemistry with Stafford at all. A couple throws to him we're picked, he obviously ran wrong routes, and didn't seem to play fast enough, many overthrows to him that I think he didn't go for. Bad day for him.
Corye Fuller is going to get a chance to make the team, he was involved a lot. Had 1 nice catch in one on one drills, but he was outmuscled on one for a pick by Mathis. I was not impressed, but he has definitely improved.
Calvin is tremendous, and Jeremy Ross made a couple real nice plays. Ross is being given a chance to play a lot also, and he played well. Edwards caught a wide open deep pass from Orlovsky also.
Biggest surprise of the day for me was Ryan Broyles. Played completely in practice, caught a lot of passes, was even back deep returning punts on special teams. Looked good, no limping and got open.
RBs- Reggie Bush is the quickest player on the field when you are close to the players. Amazing quickness, incredible to watch. Joique did not practice, did drills on the side though right in front of me. Riddick looked real good too. Montpellier Owens did not play FB at all, only tailback. I don't see him making it from there. The second biggest surprise of the day after Broyles was LeShoure. He looked tremendous. Quick, strong, and played a LOT. He also was working as a gunner on punt teams.
OL- this is mostly non contact, and the linemen were far away from us most of the time. Hard really to judge them today. Rookie Lucas is a HUGE man, much taller than the other linemen Waddle looked real good to me today.
TE - most players run in the red zone drills today included at least 2 TEs every play. The 2 best catches of the day were TDs, one by Ebron and one by Fauria, who did a nice dance afterward. Faurias play was an exceptional high catch at the back line of the end zone.
QBs- I thought Orlovsky played pretty well, threw picks but completed a lot of passes. He is much taller than I remembered him. Tallest QB easily.
Stafford threw some picks early on in practice, but was great at the end of practice. He has way more talent than the other guys, really obvious up close. But he could not throw to Ogletree today, not even close on many. His footwork in drills is exceptional. He will be fine.
D Line- our defensive line is huge. Really big. Much bigger and stronger than most other lines. Suh is a beast. He one arm tackled Bush once, stunning power. In non contact, it's hard to judge line play for me.
LBs- Van Noy and Levy did not practice. Tullouch is a beast. If we have injuries this year, I promise you Tahir Whitehead can play. He was exceptional today. Picks, knockdowns, played with enthusiasm. He should've been a starter last year, he is a really good football player. He will definitely make the team. Palmer was also real good today.
Dbacks- Slay is obviously playing as number one corner. He covered Calvin a lot, had a pick, really looked good. He will be solid for us this year. He had a good day. Lawson had a real nice pick 6 off of Orlovsky, cut in front of Ogletree and would've been a 100 yd TD. Great play.
Mathis picked one, taking it right away from Fulller, real good play. He also looked really quick running back punts. Ohedigbo is incredibly fit, just a rock. But he did not practice.
special teams took up the first third of practice. Sam Martin kicks punts 70-75 yds in the air routinely, really amazing to see up close. And they have amazing carry, great kicker. Freese has a great leg, smoking kicks all day, very accurate. He will be our kicker, but the other guy is real good also.
Staven Miller is really fast, running back punts he is a blur. Much faster than everyone else on the team. Bush is quicker in space, but Miller is fast. He probably did, but I did not notice Ross returning punts. Broyles did though, I found that surprising.
the practice was very different from the ones I saw last year with Schwartz. Quicker paced, more enthusiasm, very different drill. A lot of red zone practice too, almost all red zone stuff.
a couple predictions after today, which I may change my mind on later.
Ogletree will jot make the team, nor will Fuller.
Fauria is going to be a much bigger persence in this offense than most people believe right now, he is good.
Lions will keep only 2 QBs. Moore looks like a kid out there and Franklin did not take a single snap today. Maybe he was limited by something.
Slay will be a stud, super quick.
LeShoure will play a lot more this year.
last one, when Whitehead finally gets his chance, he will impress everyone. He is a good player.
hope you like this report, I try. I am sure I have missed some stuff, so much happens at once at these practices.