A busy week of NFL action, even if it was just practice, is more than welcome after laboring through the doldrums of the offseason.
The Detroit Lions were one of those teams to return to action this week as the team opened up training camp. Everything from rock, paper, scissors matches between media members to head coach Dan Campbell doing 40 up-downs on the first day of practice has truly felt like a breath of fresh air after the previous regime did anything and everything to suck the fun out of playing football.
But let’s take a minute to take stock of what’s happened on the practice fields in Allen Park and share what has surprised us the most through the first week of Lions training camp.
Today’s Question of the Day is...
Which development at Lions training camp has surprised you most?
After spending the offseason talking with the Lions faithful on our Spotify Greenroom sessions alongside Jeremy Reisman and Erik Schlitt, one question we’d constantly reexamine was the depth in Detroit’s secondary.
The Lions brought in Corn Elder during free agency to help add some depth to this defensive backfield. One of the more veteran players in the secondary at just 26 years old, Elder was thought of as a potential starter at nickel corner from the moment he signed on the dotted line.
However, during the start of training camp, a more familiar face has emerged as the team’s penciled-in starter at nickel corner. Mike Ford, primarily a contributor on special teams for Detroit in years past, has stepped up to the challenge of manning the inside for the Lions' cornerbacks.
On the third day of camp, Tracy Walker spoke about Ford’s transition to playing the nickel position and how much more comfortable he looks playing in that spot—as highlighted by our own Erik Schlitt in his observations of training camp’s third practice:
“I definitely think that Mike’s found a more comfortable spot (at nickel),” Tracy Walker said of Ford. “I’m not saying he’s a bad (outside) corner, but I feel like he’s a much better nickel... He’s definitely been working, grinding to improve every day, which is great to see. To see him be so comfortable and relaxed, and be able to understand this defense, and be able to make plays, it’s a great thing to see.”
Being primarily a special teams player, it’s surprising to see Ford step up and take hold of the job with Elder on the team. Usually, veterans with playing experience will earn the job to start camp, and considering Elder played 303 snaps at nickel corner in 2020 and fared pretty well there, it’s surprising to me see Ford get the nod early on in camp.