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 OTA 2014 
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Post OTA 2014
PFT wrote:
Fairley out of OTAs after undisclosed “procedure”
Posted by Mike Florio on May 21, 2014, 7:09 AM EDT

Teams aren’t required to say anything about player injuries until the Wednesday before the first regular-season game. The Lions have provided quite the tease more than three months before having to spill the beans.

Coach Jim Caldwell said Tuesday that defensive tackle Nick Fairley, the team’s first-round pick in 2011, will miss Organized Team Activities due to a “medical issue” for which Fairly “had a procedure,” via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Caldwell didn’t specify the condition or the procedure; Birkett reports that Fairley has been dealing with sleep apnea.

Whatever it is, it’s enough to keep Fairley away from offseason practice sessions in what has become his contract year, thanks to the team’s decision not to exercise his fifth-year option. Without knowing more about his condition or prognosis, it’s impossible to rule out the notion that the Lions opted not to extend his contract through 2015 for reasons other than providing him with motivation in 2014.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... procedure/
I still have to wonder why these athletes seem to wait until the last minute to get these procedures.... ](*,)

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May 21st, 2014, 10:28 am
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Post Re: OTA 2014
MLive wrote:
Detroit Lions moving Michael Williams to offensive tackle
By Justin Rogers | jrogers@mlive.com
updated May 21, 2014 at 10:34 AM

ALLEN PARK -- Michael Williams' path to a roster spot as a tight end appeared to be blocked after the Detroit Lions selected Eric Ebron in the first round of the NFL draft.

Instead of fighting that uphill battle, the Lions will instead move the 270-pound tight end, and 2013 seventh-round pick, to offensive tackle.
It's a move former Lions tight end and assistant director of pro personnel Charlie Sanders predicted last offseason.

Williams' size and skill set, which is highlighted by his outstanding blocking, is a natural fit, but he'll need to add another 20 pounds to his frame to fully make the transition.

The Lions are still in need for a fourth offensive tackle. It is generally believed undrafted rookie Cornelius Lucas is the early front-runner for that job.

Williams played four seasons at Alabama but missed all of his rookie year in Detroit with a broken hand.

Williams, who will wear No. 73, could also be a candidate for the practice squad as he adjusts to the new position.

http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/20 ... ver_sports

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May 21st, 2014, 10:43 am
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Post Re: OTA 2014
goodbye Mike! wave.gif

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May 21st, 2014, 11:30 am
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Post Re: OTA 2014
Pablo wrote:
goodbye Mike! wave.gif


Sounds like PS material to me.

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May 21st, 2014, 11:58 am
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Post Re: OTA 2014
thelomasbrowns wrote:
Pablo wrote:
goodbye Mike! wave.gif


Sounds like PS material to me.


I think so too. A year on the PS building and putting on weight could give the Lions another good 4th OT prospect if Lucas works out and Hilliard is not resigned next season.


May 21st, 2014, 1:45 pm
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Post Re: OTA 2014
MLive wrote:
Detroit Lions OTA notes and observations: Defense dominates first full practice open to media

ALLEN PARK -- Here are a few notes and observations from the Detroit Lions organized team activity practice on Wednesday.

• The Lions are in the middle of installing new offensive and defensive schemes, but on this day, the defense appeared significantly ahead in the process.

Perhaps it can be partially credited to the chaos created by the defense scrambling to get into position pre-snap, but the quarterbacks seemed flustered by both the coverage looks and the pressure coming from a variety of angles.

In addition to multiple successful stops during 11-on-11 work, including a pair of interceptions, the intensity and energy was apparent. The unit reflected what we've been told about groups that have played under coordinator Teryl Austin. The players on the sideline were going crazy with genuine excitement after each big play.

• Calvin Johnson looked as rusty as I've seen him in the years I've been attending Lions practices. It wasn't with his movements, as he showed no noticeable issue accelerating or changing direction, but he put several catchable balls on the ground. He's still the best receiver in the game, so no reason to sound any alarms.

There was a scary moment during a 7-on-7 rep when Johnson collided with safety Don Carey, but the receiver was able to finish out the day.

• Johnson did spin cornerback Darius Slay into the ground during a one-on-one drill early in the practice session. Slay fought to the end and showed impressive recovery despite stumbling to the turf.

Immediately after the rep, Teryl Austin pulled Slay to the side and provided some extra one-on-one instruction. The second-year cornerback is going to be an important player for these coaches to get up to speed quickly.

• One defensive player who really stood out was cornerback Cassius Vaughn. Maybe a bit of an afterthought after the team re-signed Rashean Mathis, Vaughn brings an undeniable vocal energy to the practice field, which he complemented with sticky coverage, resulting in two pass breakups and an interception.

• The Lions added a few interesting individual drills. As expected, there's an increased emphasis on the footwork of the quarterbacks, but there's also more attention being given to the the hands of the receivers.

When running a shell drill with five wideouts, instead of the quarterback just delivering a throw to the primary target, the three backup QBs (and Joique Bell) threw to the four secondary receivers. You can never catch too many passes in practice, right?

Also, I didn't get a chance to ask about it, but there's a large number pad, similar to what you see on a telephone, on the wall where the defensive line works out. Position coach Kris Kocurek would bark out some instruction and a lineman would punch a sequence of numbers. My first guess is the group is working on pass-rush hand placement.

• It's so early, but my initial impression is DeAndre Levy looks even faster. It's unlikely he's added speed. Instead, he's probably just reacting quicker. He was all over an end-around in the backfield during the team session.

• Based on what his college coaches had told me it was expected, but defensive end Larry Webster likes to line up in a four-point stance. As you might imagine, the inexperienced rookie was up and down, but he did would have had a sack after beating tackle J.B. Shugarts with an excellent spin move.

• Linebacker Cory Greenwood, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury, forced a fumble in special teams drills, jarring the ball loose from return man Steven Miller.

• Remember when we wrote about defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh abusing rookie guard Larry Warford last offseason. Well, the All-Pro is back to torture another rookie. This year it's Travis Swanson. On Wednesday, Suh blew by Swanson to blow up a play in the backfield. It's trial by fire when it comes to blocking Detroit's DTs.

• Ryan Broyles wasn't a full participant today, but he got in some work returning kickoffs during special teams drills and looked comfortable planting and changing directions off both legs. That's a good sign as he battles back from a third season-ending leg injury.

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May 22nd, 2014, 2:39 pm
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Post Re: OTA 2014
MLive wrote:
Detroit Lions CB Darius Slay looks impressive in OTAs after working out kinks with Rod Woodson

ALLEN PARK -- The Detroit Lions featured one of the worst cornerback corps in the NFL last year.

Yet they did not add a starting-caliber cornerback in free agency, and waited until the third day of the NFL draft to select a defensive back of any kind.

While Detroit's willingness to stand pat has frustrated some, it also seems to be an expression of faith in Darius Slay. He is considered a forerunner to start as soon as this season, with Chris Houston's future unknown due to continued toe problems and Rashean Mathis reaching his mid-30s.

And Slay intends to make the most of his opportunity.

After enduring some rookie growing pains last season, Slay set out to Pleasonton, Calif., this offseason to spend a few days living with Rod Woodson. Yes, that Rod Woodson.

The Hall of Fame cornerback poured over film from each of Slay's games last year, then spent several days giving Slay notes and working his game.

"His big slogan now is everything is getting too technical," Slay said. "He said back in his days, you'd just line up across from a guy and played ball. He says nowadays, they teach ya to do this, or do that, to be correct.

"He says to go out there and just play ball. So he wasn't teaching me technique so much as he was teaching me concepts, my tackling angles and stuff like that."

Those lessons seem to be paying off. Slay was among the most impressive players during OTAs on Wednesday, which were open to the media.

He was burned a couple times by Calvin Johnson, but otherwise was sticky in coverage against just about everyone else. He was particularly impressive on one deep pass intended for Kevin Ogletree in the end zone.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford was forced to go long because Slay was in lock-step with Ogletree and the ball was uncatchable through the back of the end zone.

"He had to throw that one out the end zone because I was about to pick it off," Slay said.

With Houston sitting out practice as he recovers from toe surgery, Slay was running with the starters opposite Mathis. That could be a preview of how Detroit will open the season if Houston doesn't make a full recovery.

Slay opened last season as a starter, but was benched in Week 3 and played sparingly over the next two months. He did start two late games, on Thanksgiving against Green Bay and in the season finale at Minnesota, and showed improvement in both games.

Slay allowed quarterbacks to post a 118.1 rating when targeting him, and he finished the year ranked 92nd at the position according to ProFootballFocus.

What happened?

Woodson noticed on film that Slay developed a habit of looking too much at the quarterback as the ball was thrown. That sometimes caused him to be a step slow despite that 4.36 speed.

"So he said to play the man more," Slay said.

Woodson also had some pointers for dealing with bigger receivers, after Slay had some of his worst moments against the likes of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.

He said Slay must be more physical at the top of the route.

"He said be more aggressive," Slay said. "That's it. I'm just trying to think less and just ball, you know?"

Woodson believes Slay will be a good one for Detroit. He knows as well as anyone just how difficult it is for corners -- even the best corners -- to play at a high level immediately.

He was the 10th overall pick in the 1987 draft, but "if ESPN and all that stuff was really working when I played, and there were all the outlets there are today, they probably would have said 'this guy is a bust.'"

Woodson went on to intercept the third most passes in NFL history and get inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"I think what's unfair to guys like Darius is they want him to play like a three-year or four-year vet, and he's not," Woodson told MLive earlier this offseason. "Anytime you put a young guy on the field, even if he has tremendous talent, he's going to get beat.

"If he can correct all his negatives, by the third year, I think that's when you're going to see glimpses of greatness. I think you saw a couple glimpses his rookie year, I think next year you'll see a couple more, and then the third year you should see him break out."

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May 28th, 2014, 8:45 am
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Post Re: OTA 2014
MLive wrote:
Rodney Austin gets first-team reps at left guard with Detroit Lions

ALLEN PARK -- Rodney Austin is an unknown commodity.

He hails from small-school Elon. He never flashed his best stuff there because of injury. And he's never played a snap of offense since signing with the Detroit Lions after going undrafted two years ago.

But Austin, listed at 6-foot-4 and 311 pounds, is strong as a bull -- multiple players have told MLive they believe he is the team's strongest player -- and that strength continues to intrigue teams.

That includes the Titans, who tried to sign Austin off Detroit's practice squad last year. And that includes the Lions, who countered by finally signing Austin to their 53-man roster despite having no immediate plans to play him.

But that could be changing.

With left guard Rob Sims limited Wednesday during OTAs -- as he also was during minicamp last month -- it was Austin who was repping with the first unit in his place.

"Just good to be out here," Austin said. "To hell where my position is, I just like taking reps. Wherever I can get them, I'm going to take them."

Austin is saying the right things, but it is notable he was used as the primary backup to Sims.

Larry Warford was a rock at right guard last year, where he played every snap and didn't allow a sack during his exemplary rookie season. And the Lions spent a third-round pick to make Travis Swanson their center of the future.

That means the only interior spot with any kind of uncertainty is left guard. And it appears he's winning the job as the top interior reserve, though Swanson could also compete for that role.

"It's good working with the first group, especially next to Dom and Riley. Helps to get the timing down and getting a better feel for the plays." Austin said.

Austin's confidence is soaring after the Lions gave him a roster spot late last season. He touched an NFL field for the first time in the season finale against Minnesota -- albeit on special teams -- and now he's hoping for more in 2014.

"Just got to keep grinding," he said. "I went home and trained this offseason, came back here and trained some more. Came back with a little more confidence. Just knowing that I got there last year helps me this year.

"Now I'm doing what I'm supposed to do and staying in this playbook. Got to get back on the 53-man roster, baby."

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May 28th, 2014, 8:46 am
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Post Re: OTA 2014
Personally I thought Austin looked pretty good last year in the pre-season, both at guard and center. If he can be more consistent, I think he has a real chance to supplant Sims.

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May 28th, 2014, 11:43 am
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Post Re: OTA 2014
ESPN wrote:
Observations from the Lions OTA practice
May, 28, 2014
By Michael Rothstein | ESPN.com

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions finished up their second open organized team activity of the offseason and once again, defense was well ahead.

So what else happened?

Here are some observations from the second week of organized team activities here in suburban Detroit.

    For the second straight open practice, the defense appeared to be well ahead of the offense. Some offensive players downplayed this a little bit, but during team periods it became fairly obvious how far ahead the defense was compared to the offense. It really didn’t matter which group (ones, twos or threes) were out there, Detroit’s defense -- particularly its secondary -- was continually around the ball and either making plays or breaking up passes. It didn’t happen as much against the first unit, but the second-and-third-team defenses also had a far more dominant line.

    To highlight one of the players on the line, rookie Caraun Reid particularly impressed. He often beat his defender and ended up in the backfield. He appears to be picking things up fairly quickly.

    Looking at the offense -- drops could still be an issue for this team. Multiple players dropped passes throughout the day, including two from Golden Tate, who has some of the best hands in the NFL. Considering the issues this team had with that a season ago, it is still a bit concerning these issues remain. How big of an issue is it? Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said he was perturbed about the drops during practice.

    One player who didn’t drop much -- if anything, from what I observed -- was Kris Durham. The receiver is in a fight for a roster spot and he had a pretty good showing during the open practice Wednesday. He ran crisp routes and looked like he had picked things up quickly. Plus his hands, which were an issue at points in 2013, appeared to be pretty good.

    When Lombardi was asked about the offensive players that stood out other than Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and Tate, Lombardi mentioned Jeremy Ross, Kevin Ogletree and Theo Riddick by name. Ogletree wasn’t there Wednesday -- more on that below -- but Ross has looked much bigger and could be in position to have a heavier offensive role this season to go along with his returning duties.
    There might be a kicking competition after all. Giorgio Tavecchio was impressive Wednesday, making all four of his kicks during a designated field goal period, and a 56-yard field goal to give the offense its only win during the two-minute scenario at the end of practice. Nate Freese, meanwhile, hit on 3 of 4 field goals during the designated period and missed a 46-yard field goal during the two-minute period. Freese likely still has the upper hand to win the job, but Tavecchio might make it difficult on the seventh-round pick.

    Best player of the day might have been cornerback Darius Slay. I talked with him a bunch over the past two weeks about his improvement. He has really shown better recovery if he gets beat early in a route -- that recovery speed showed up at least once Wednesday -- and better coverage skills as well. He is not going to be an All-Pro or anything in 2014, but he could ease some concerns about the cornerback position if he continues to improve.

    Players not at practice: Nick Fairley, Chris Houston, Ogletree. Players there but not participating: Joique Bell, Brandon Hepburn, Chris Greenwood. Players limited Wednesday: Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones. Glover Quin also didn’t appear to practice in much of the full team drills. Regarding Ogletree, Lombardi said he missed practice because of some dental work.

    Speaking of the secondary, Bill Bentley also looks a lot more comfortable this season. Spoke with him after practice and asked him why that was. He turned it around and asked me why I thought that. I was pretty honest in that he looks more instinctual this season and perhaps a touch faster. He agreed and said (paraphrasing) he essentially had no choice -- it was his third year, he had to start playing better.

    Talked briefly with defensive lineman Devin Taylor after practice and he discussed playing inside as well as outside this season -- a role Jason Jones could have inhabited last season before his injury. Taylor is doing this in hopes of making himself more versatile and therefore finding more playing time.

http://espn.go.com/blog/detroit-lions/p ... a-practice

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May 29th, 2014, 9:31 am
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Post Re: OTA 2014
I like seeing these reports that Slay seems to be improving. Hopefully he can be at least a competent starter this season and continue developing next year. Having solid corner play will go a long way towards becoming a playoff team.


May 29th, 2014, 1:22 pm
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Post Re: OTA 2014
freep wrote:
Detroit Lions OTA observations: Injuries, defensive alignments and Theo Riddick

The off-season program is coming to an end, and just in time for the Detroit Lions.

The Lions held their eighth of 10 organized team activity practices today and had a number of players on the sideline with minor injuries.

Wide receiver Golden Tate did not practice for the second straight day because of a sore shoulder, and rookie second-round pick Kyle Van Noy, a linebacker, was out with a back injury.

Tight end Joseph Fauria, wide receiver Kris Durham and safety James Ihedigbo also were new additions to the injury report, joining running back Joique Bell (knee) and defensive ends Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) and Jason Jones (knee) on the sideline.

Cornerback Chris Houston also remains away from the team, as he recovers from toe surgery.

“Just a little soreness in my shoulder, and I’m just doing what the doctors tell me to do and I’m trying to get better as fast as I can,” Tate said. “As a competitor, it sucks to be on the sideline watching guys, especially when I want to be out there trying to fine-tune this offense.”

Van Noy, who’s expected to start at outside linebacker this year, will be away from the team this weekend, when he weds his longtime girlfriend, former Miss Utah Marissa Powell.

Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Van Noy has lived up to his billing so far, even though he has worked mostly with the second-team defense since last month’s NFL draft.

“He’s going to be fine,” Austin said. “He’s going to be fine. It’s hard to tell right now. No pads and all that stuff. He can run but he has all the things that we thought when we drafted him.”

Cornerback Chris Greenwood, who has been out most of the spring as he recovers from a second hernia operation, returned to practice on a limited basis for the Lions.

The Lions have two more OTA practices this week, then finish the off-season with three days of mandatory minicamp next Tuesday-Thursday.

More observations from today’s practice

■ Austin and others have touted the versatility of the Lions’ new defense, and that has been evident throughout OTAs this spring. Again today, the Lions moved their front seven players all over the field, blitzed linebackers and dropped defensive linemen into coverage.

■ Linebacker DeAndre Levy left midway through practice to get his left foot taped. The injury did not appear to be series, and he was walking fine after practice but he did not return to action. Ashlee Palmer joined Stephen Tulloch on the field in nickel packages with the first-team defense, and Travis Lewis took Levy’s spot with the base defense.

■ Offensively, the Lions had a better a day overall than in either of the first two OTAs open to the media. Corey Fuller made a nice catch against DeJon Gomes on the right sideline on a perfectly thrown pass from Matthew Stafford.

■ Stafford did throw one near-interception in 11-on-11 play. Bill Bentley had a nice pass breakup on a Dan Orlovsky throw to Naaman Roosevelt in 7-on-7. And Tulloch just missed a pick when he dived to deflect a Kellen Moore pass near midfield.

■ It’s clear that Theo Riddick is going to have a role on the team this fall. Riddick seems secure in his spot on special teams — he plays key positions on both punt cover and kickoff return — and he continues to catch the ball nicely out of the backfield on offense.

Note: Former Lions linebacker Ernie Sims, 29, today signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. The ninth overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft out of Florida State, he played four seasons with the Lions (2006-09), one season with Philadelphia (2010), and one season with Indianapolis (2011) before joining the Dallas Cowboys for two seasons. Last season, Sims played in 12 games and made six starts, collecting 42 tackles and a forced fumble.

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