WEEK IN REVIEW: Training camp kicks off

Posted Aug 3, 2014

Training camp is officially underway for the Detroit Lions. Can you believe in less than a week they'll be hitting the field for their first preseason game?

Training camp is officially underway for the Detroit Lions. Can you believe in less than a week they'll be hitting the field for their first preseason game?

News-wise, camp started off with a bang when president Tom Lewand announced the Lions were tabling contract talks with DT Ndamukong Suh until after the season.

While the announcement was unexpected, it was made, in part, to prevent distraction on the field.

And there's plenty of on-the-field action to talk about starting with head coach Jim Caldwell.

As a new coach in Detroit, Caldwell has garnered his fair share of attention.

He's a big hit with the players, who value his coaching philosophy.

"Coach Caldwell man, he's something special," LB Kyle Van Noy said in his latest blog entry. "I'm so grateful he's with the Lions organization. He's changing the culture. He's everything I would want in a head coach."

Caldwell, unlike his predecessors, has not inherited a rebuilding project. The opportunity to win, and win now, is there. And Caldwell's no stranger to winning, having won two Super Bowl titles as an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, respectively.

A big factor in determining the Lions' success this season will be the revamped offense lead by QB Matthew Stafford.

He'll have plenty of weapons to pick from including popular offseason acquisition WR Golden Tate.

Not only are Lions coaches and fans expected big things from Tate, Calvin Johnson himself sees Tate as a focal point of the offense.

In addition to an improved Megatron (Yes, it's possible) and Tate, Stafford has another passing threat in the form of rookie tight end Eric Ebron.

Ebron has had some trouble with drops in the past, but the Lions aren't worried about it just yet.

Ebron's ability to make plays in the passing game also adds another layer to the stiff competition at wide receiver.

Practice was held at Wayne State University's Adams Field Wednesday night to make it more accessible to fans and to give the players a change of pace.

The practice was of special significance to running back Joique Bell, who set every significant record for a running back in his four seasons at Wayne State (2006-09), including rushing yards in a season (2,084 in 2009) and career (6,728).

“It’s not even just good publicity for us and Wayne State, but it’s more-so reaching out to the community -- the people who might not have transportation to come to practice here (in Allen Park),” Bell said. “It shows we’re here for the right reason.”

Bell kicked off practice by pumping up the crowd:

Tim Twentyman caught up with several coaches to get an in depth look at the team, position-by-position.

Despite high preseason unit rankings, the Lions offensive line isn't buying into the hype. The only numbers coach Jeremiah Washburn uses to measure his line's performance last season are seven and nine.

“As a group, we need to be better,” he said. “We weren’t good enough last year. That’s something that we all recognize in that room. We weren’t good enough. We were a 7-9 offensive line and that’s that.

Improvement is the message on the other side of the ball, too.

Safeties Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo look to be a better last line of defense for the Lions.

“The safety is exactly what it is, a safety,” Quin said. “A lot of guys are playing man (defense). The safeties are playing man. We have to be that last line of defense. We have to be great tacklers.

The pressure will certainly be on for the secondary to perform, especially with the defense expecting to up the blitz percentage in 2014.

Miss any of the action? Recap it in pictures! View exclusive photos from all six days of camp:
July 28
July 29
July 30
July 31
August 1
August 2