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Tim and Mike: What has stood out during organized team activities?

Posted Jun 6, 2013

With it being the final week of OTAs and mandatory mini-camp next week, Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara look at what stands out right now, including team attitude, acquisitions and season outlook

It's the last week of the Lions' OTA workouts with the mandatory three-day mini-camp next week. It's the last burst of organized workouts before they take their break and come back to start training camp at the end of July.

What stands out now – team attitude, player comments, transactions or roster issues that have to be addressed in the next eight weeks?

Mike: I like what Reggie Bush has said about the offense – that there is no reason it shouldn't rank in the top three in the league. With players at the skilled positions – Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, a rejuvenated Brandon Pettigrew, and Matthew Stafford pulling the trigger – the offense should be able to dictate and play to its strengths.

The unknown part of the equations is how well the offensive line will hold up with new starters at three positions – left tackle, right tackle and right guard. There is talent on offense, with a tweak or two still possible.

Reggie BushReggie Bush (Photo: G.Smith/Detroit Lions)

Tim: Bush also talked about "chemistry" and how the offseason provides an opportunity for players to familiarize themselves with one another. That's particularly important this offseason for the Lions.

Mike mentioned the three new starters upfront, but there's also a new starter in the backfield, two new playmakers on the edge of the defensive line, a new starter at linebacker, at least one new starter in the secondary in safety Glover Quin and potentially another in rookie cornerback Darius Slay.

With so many new parts, the Lions don't want to be bogged down with installation when training camp begins. They need to hit the ground running coming off 4-12, which is why these last few weeks -- and why next week's mini-camp -- is an important part of the preparation for the 2013 season.

The team attitude seems focused on building chemistry and I think they have the right mindset.

Mike: Attitude and mindset are good qualities, but they're subject to change, based on how things go. They build when a team wins and diminish when it loses. That's a "for now" quality, and for now, it's good. It should be.

Safety Louis Delmas has been absent from the OTA workouts to concentrate on getting his injured knee in the best shape possible for the season. Should we expect to see him at mini-camp, and do you have a concern about his status going forward?

Tim: I would expect him to be in Allen Park for the three-day camp, but I'd be surprised if he participated in a June workout. Look, the Lions know how valuable Delmas is to their defense. He's a veteran, he knows the scheme and the Lions know what he brings to the table. There's not much they need to look at beyond how healthy his knee is.

Now, that being said, he will be playing next to a new safety in Glover Quin in 2013 and the two have yet to practice together. Like playing along the offensive line, playing in the secondary, in part, is about playing off your teammates and knowing where guys are, what players like to do and their strengths. Houston has said in the past that he feels he can play more aggressive with a player like Delmas behind him because he knows where he'll be and that'll he'll have his back.

Delmas and Quin will have to build that chemistry in training camp.

But again, Delmas needs to be on the field on Sunday – not June – and the Lions will do everything they can this year to make sure that happens.

Mike: Right about that. Sunday is what counts, but teams have offseason workouts for a reason. You don't win games in June, but you prepare to win them in June.

There is no concern or issue about how willing Delmas is to do what it takes to get on the field and compete. The question is the condition of his knee, and how much he can play. It would be a better sign for him and the defense if he were participating in the workouts, but all questions will be answered when the season starts.

Glover QuinGlover Quin (Photo: T. Altman/Detroitlions.com)

Let's talk – again – about a guy who gets very little publicity – Ndamukong Suh. OK, kidding about publicity. He attended a Tigers game with some teammates this week and was interviewed on TV. How much of a celebrity is Suh, and what does it mean that he gets out in public so much?

Tim: For all the bad press Suh got for "The Stomp" and his propensity to have a bit of a lead foot behind the wheel, if you listen to him speak out in public in those interviews, he's a good spokesman for the Lions. He's smart, he's articulate and he's always touting a positive message.

To me, he seems like a smart young man with a lot of money, who likes trying new things and traveling the world. There's nothing wrong with that.

During last night's interview at the Tigers game on Fox Sports Detroit, Suh talked about professional athletes in this town sticking together and cheering each other on and genuinely enjoying each other's company.

Miguel Cabrera attended a Lions game last year. Suh rode the zamboni at Red Wings playoff game last month. Matthew Stafford could be spotted at both Pistons and Red Wings games this offseason.

I think it's good for the City of Detroit.

Mike: It's good for the city, it's good for the players, and it's good for the Lions that their marquee players are comfortable going out in public and exploring whatever the city has to offer.

Detroit's sports fans might be hard on goalies and quarterbacks, but fans embrace their players. They like to see them out in the community. There is a life to be lived beyond the boundaries of their sport, and they should enjoy any opportunity they have.

But on Sunday on the football field, the focus narrows. For Suh, that means getting to the quarterback and laying waste – within the rules – to anything in his path.

Detroit's fans like that, too.

Tim: They also like winning.

If he helps the Lions do a little more of that in 2013 and beyond, he'll really see his celebrity soar.

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