When the Detroit Lions traded for Michael Brockers, he immediately became a focal point and leader of the defensive line.
From the moment he stepped onto the field in Allen Park, he has been a teacher for younger players, helping them adjust to a scheme that he is very familiar with. But when it comes to getting involved in team drills, the coaches have been cautious to limit his participation levels.
Heading into his 10th season in the NFL, Brockers has been kept out of team drills for most of training camp, as a way of managing the veteran’s health. And while that time management has been typically labeled as “veteran’s rest”, coach Dan Campbell admitted today that the hope is he will be ready for game action by the regular season.
“Well, certainly that’s the hope,” Campbell said about Brockers availability. “I think we feel like he’ll be ready for Week 1, and he is still improving. It’s at a snail’s pace right now. The fear is that if you put him in too early right now, do we take away everything that we’ve—the gains that we’ve gotten by holding him? So I think that’s the tough trick right now.”
The Lions are just under three weeks away from playing their first regular-season game (September 12), so there is quite a bit of time to get ready. But even if the “snail’s pace” slows Brockers from being fully ready, Campbell still believes the vet would still have a chance to be able to play against the 49ers.
“I know this, if you said we had to play right now, he’d go play. Yet if we thought we could go get him to that almost 100 percent range by holding him a little bit more, is it worth it? Well, knowing that we have a long season and he’s played a lot of football, I just tend to be a little more conservative with him, that’s all.”
With the defensive line being one of the deepest groups on the roster, it makes sense that the Lions don’t want to expose their veteran leader to any setbacks.