WEEK IN REVIEW: Voluntary minicamp wrap-up

Posted Apr 26, 2014

Lions hold voluntary minicamp, release 2014 schedule and more

The Lions held a three-day voluntary minicamp in Allen Park this week.

Players were able to hit the field with the coaching staff and take part in offense vs. defense drills. Just about every player was in attendance with the exception of Ndamukong Suh, Chris Houston and Carlin Isles.

For the players who did attend, this was their first time experiencing a practice led by new head coach Jim Caldwell.

“It’s just a calm feeling around the building,” veteran center Dominic Raiola said Tuesday after practice. “You’ve got a sense that this guy has been there and done that, and he has.

“You look at his track record, more so being around him -- not just hearing about it. It’s fun to be around him and be back and hear what everybody was saying for a couple months. That really is him.

“It’s a sense of calm and a sense of we’re going to do things his way, and that’s it. That’s the bottom line. There’s nothing more to it.”

Receiver Golden Tate, acquired by the Lions this offseason during free agency, appreciates the "family atmosphere" Caldwell brings to the team.

“We want everyone to be able to sit down and know something about the guy you’re playing with,” Tate said. “I think that’s very important.”

Caldwell was just as pleased to finally be on the field with his players, especially quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“Having the chance to see him work was great,” Caldwell said at the end of minicamp Thursday. “He’s a talented guy. You guys have probably seen him a lot more than I have, but he has just an incredible way about him, too.

“You can see his teammates kind of gravitate toward him. He’s a very good leader, and he works at it. I mean, anything that you tell him, you talk to him about, he’s listening intently and he’s working at it.

“With all the weapons that we have in place, we’ve just got to make certain that we keep things moving in the right direction.”

The Lions will start their 2014 season in a marquee matchup at home on Monday night against the New York Giants.

“That would be a great way to start the year, especially for myself, being on a new team, a new start and being one of the first primetime games would be special,” Tate said when told of the matchup. “I think first impressions are everything, so it would be a good way to start the season.”

Other key matchups include a London game vs. the Falcons, the Thanksgiving Day matchup vs. the Bears and the season finale in Green Bay.

For a full game-by-game breakdown from Tim Twentyman, see the gallery below: