LIONS INSIDER

Camp Notebook: Corey Fuller looking to impress; linebacker competition and other observations

Posted Aug 2, 2013

Tim Twentyman on wide receiver competition, Travis Lewis in the middle, and other observations from Lions' camp

Jim Schwartz said there was an emphasis this season to get more production from the No. 4 and No. 5 receiver spots. In past seasons, the Lions haven't gotten much from than spot except maybe good special teams play at times.

The one positive for the Lions is that the competition for those spots seems more fierce than it has been in seasons past with Patrick Edwards, Kris Durham, Corey Fuller, Mike Thomas, Michael Spurlock and others competing.

Fuller, the team's sixth-round draft pick, doesn't have a lot of time to make a big impression. There's not a whole lot of room on this roster for a developmental player; so, he's doing all he can to stay ahead of the curve.

"First day of training camp I was just really excited to be here and was overthinking things," Fuller said. "Now, a week in, I see myself calming down and being able to go out there and make better plays."

We can't forget that Fuller hasn't played a whole lot at receiver. He was a track guy at Kansas before transferring to Virginia Tech to play football for two seasons.

Corey's brother Vincent is a former NFL defensive back, his other brother Kyle starts at corner for Virginia Tech and his other brother Kendall is one of the best cornerback prospects in the country.

"Growing up, I had my brothers, but they all played defense," Fuller said. "I learned from them a little bit, but now, when I come here, I have Calvin, who's taller than me, but can get out of his breaks shorter than me.

"That says something and he's helping me with the little things. Nate will help me get off the line, quick feet and stuff like that."

When the Lions drafted Fuller they new he was raw, but coveted his size and speed. He has flashed some of that the first week in practice with some nice catches down the sideline in one-on-one and team periods, but the preseason is where he's going to have to leave his mark to earn a spot on this team.

"After every rep I do I'm always going to Calvin or Nate," Fuller said. "What can I do? What can I improve?"

TRAVIS LEWIS IN THE MIDDLE

Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham says he likes the competition brewing for the third starting linebacker spot, but insinuated that it might be more of a two-man race than initially thought.

The Lions have been giving equal reps to Ashlee Palmer, Tahir Whitehead and Travis Lewis, but Lewis has also taken second-team reps at middle, and Cunningham said that might be a better fit.

"They're all doing a pretty good job," Cunningham said. "I think Travis (Lewis) is helping us by being able to go back in the middle.

"He is probably is more of a middle linebacker than an outside (linebacker). But Tahir (Whitehead) and Ashlee Palmer are both doing well, as Travis (Lewis) is doing on the inside. We just got to get them in the games, and that's when we're going to go see the real situation. Whoever's going to win the job will show up then."

Stay tuned.

PRACTICE REPORT

Safety Louis Delmas missed practice again on Friday and hasn't practiced since Tuesday.

Should there be cause for concern?

"We are just trying to be proactive," head coach Jim Schwartz said. "We are trying to give him days off and trying to keep him from practicing when he's already sore. He was still a little bit sore and had a little bit of swelling in there today. It's not that much of a changeover what we have done."

We need to remember that everything the Lions are doing now is geared toward him playing Week 1 vs. Minnesota.

"He is doing everything the trainer and doctors are telling him to do, and I support that," Cunningham said. "The days I've seen him out here, you can feel what he's got. He still has it all and he is obsessed about playing. I'm on his side, I believe he is going to be out there.

"If we had him and (Glover) Quin out there together ... we will be ok."

The secondary continues to be low on numbers with cornerback Darius Slay (ankle) being held out of team drills. Cornerbacks Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood continue to be sidelined with hamstring injuries and safety Amari Spievey if suffering from a hamstring injury as well.

Defensive end Willie Young (ankle) and linebacker Carmen Messina (hamstring) returned to practice. Defensive ends Jason Jones and Israel Idonije remain out with leg injuries and receiver Devin Thomas remains on PUP.

CAMP OBSERVATIONS

  • Kris Durham made two spectacular leaping catches over cornerback Domonique Johnson on consecutive plays in a red zone team period. The first got the crowd going. The second got offensive players off the sideline and headed down toward Durham in the end zone to congratulate him. Durham has shown a nice ability to go up in traffic and use that 6-foot-6 frame to snag the football from defenders.
  • Shaun Hill is looking a little slimmer these days. In fact, the 12-year veteran told me he's around 10 pounds lighter than he was last year. He said he's always been a proponent on playing with as much as he could, but said sometimes when you get older you have to change things up. He looks to be moving around much better when he gets outside the pocket.
  • Punter Sam Martin is going to be in the mix as a kickoff man. He and Havard Rugland took reps there in a special team drill today, though Rugland was the only one actually kicking. As for those, Rugland's kicks consistently went to the back of the end zone or out of the end zone.

FAMILY WEEKEND

Bring the kids to Training Camp Family Weekend, August 3 and 4, at the team training facility in Allen Park.

Festivities begin in the training facility front parking lot prior to practice, beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday. Practice times are 3 p.m. on Saturday and 9:15 a.m. on Sunday.

Both days will feature activities presented by Playworks Detroit, photo opportunities with team mascot Roary, face painting, giveaways for kids including eye black and mini footballs and food trucks.