CAMP NOTEBOOK: Players appreciate Caldwell’s coaching style

Posted Aug 2, 2014

Tim Twentyman covers all the news from Day 6 of Lions Training Camp including Jim Caldwell's coaching philosophy, Larry Webster's big play and more.

Jim Caldwell believes in a hard day of work, but when that work is done, and done well, he doesn't believe in doing additional work just to do additional work.

When a player is in the building, or on the field, or in the meeting room, he's required to give 100 percent. When the work is done, however, Caldwell stresses rest and recovery.

“We use every (minute) we feel is necessary,” Caldwell said. “For the most part we’re fairly close to what the league allows. If there’s a reason to use every second, we’ll use every second. If there’s not a reason to do so, we don’t.

It's a philosophy the players appreciate, especially the veterans.

“We have a really good schedule and that’s one thing I really love about coach Caldwell,” receiver Golden Tate said. “He’s given us chances to heal our bodies. As of now, the pace we’re going, at the end of the season we’re going to be fresh, or more fresh than other teams who are kicking their tails every day.

“Now we come out here and work hard. When we’re out here we’re working hard, but coach does a good job of giving us breaks throughout the day so we can get our legs under us. Ice and massage and hot tub (and) sleep. It’s helped me. I feel fresh for the most part.”

Caldwell has also been conscious of limiting the reps of players like Calvin Johnson and Rob Sims, veteran’s coming off injury. 

“He takes care of us,” Tate said. “Guys want to play for someone who is going to go to work for you and go to bat for you. He’s not going to throw you under the bus. He’s accountable and he expects us to be accountable too.

“Right off the bat we expect that. Numbers don’t lie. He’s put up on the big screen a couple times the statistics that if we win the turnover ratio and different things like that (we’ll win). We just respect him a lot more and he’s taking care of us. Giving us the rest of the day off and letting our legs get back under us.”

Caldwell gave the players the rest of the day off after morning practice on Saturday. Sunday in a scheduled day off as well. The team will get back to work on Monday in preparation for next Saturday’s preseason opener at Ford Field.

“We can still be tough and demanding, that’s not going to change,” Caldwell said. “This is a tough game. You can’t play it any other way.

“But in terms of doing things that make sense. I don’t like doing things just for the sake of doing things.”


Speaking of next week’s preseason opener vs. Cleveland, Caldwell ran Saturday's practice like a "mock game" to get ready for it.

“It gives them the opportunity to kind of feel what it’s like to come out of the locker room and send them in flights and all the pregame operations we went through,” Caldwell said.

“We went through all the substitution patterns in terms of our kicking game first team and second team. In and out with different situations with our offense and defense. Then we tried to isolate some situations toward the end of practice.

“We always do it a week ahead of our first game and it gives us a chance to look at some things, make some adjustments where needed and gives (the players) a chance to feel it, because you can’t really get that done in practice.

Caldwell tied in the mock game practice with the NFL officials being in town to make it more real.

“We just wanted to get comfortable and that’s the good thing about Caldwell,” center Dominic Raiola said after practice. “He puts us in these situations before next Saturday comes so it shouldn’t be brand new.”


Larry WebsterDE Larry Webster (Photo: Detroit Lions)

It is one of those plays defensive linemen dream of. The ball is snapped high over the quarterback’s head, it takes a few hops on the ground and then bounces perfectly into the charging defensive player's hands as he takes off the other way for the end zone.

That’s the scenario rookie defensive end Larry Webster found himself in at practice Saturday.

“I saw that I had a chance to get it and just took off,” Webster said. “It took a really great bounce and I just ended up catching it instead of having to bend over and get it and just went from there.”

The Lions had a few issues with snaps on Saturday and Webster was happy to be the beneficiary on one such occasion.

Webster is big, fast and raw, which the Lions knew when they drafted him in the fourth round out of Bloomsburg University.

A lot like Devin Taylor last year, Webster is going to get better the more reps he gets in camp. Taylor was brought along slow a season ago and was only pressed into duty because of an injury to Jason Jones. Webster could be in the same boat this year.

“He’s one of those guys that has a good skill level,” Caldwell said of Webster. “Hopefully maturity and time will get him to the point where he’s able to play consistently, right now he’s learning, but right now he’s a very good prospect.” 


--The Lions practiced without Calvin Johnson, Ziggy Ansah, TJ Jones, Alex Bullard and Michael Williams.

--Eric Ebron made a terrific catch down the sideline in an offense vs. defense team period. Ebron showed his speed as he was able to get a little separation from Rashean Mathis and Matthew Stafford threw him a perfect ball for a touchdown.

-- George Johnson took some first-team reps at right defensive end as he and Taylor rotated in. LaAdrian Waddle was at right tackle.