LIONS INSIDER

Camp Notebook: Mayhew impressed with talent; time running out for Ronnell Lewis

Posted Jul 30, 2013

Mayhew comments on talent level, Ronnell Lewis remains out, a possible look at Week 1's starting secondary and other observations from Lions' camp

Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew spoke to the media before practice Tuesday. He talked about job security, the importance of the 2013 season and how much improved he thinks the Lions will be. In fact, he said he's never seen a more talented roster in his tenure.

"I like our group, I like our talent level," Mayhew said.

"I'd say it's safe to say, the biggest, most athletic, fastest team that we've had. Obviously, there are some places where we were more experienced last year than we are right now. We had more continuity and experience on the offensive line last year. Secondary-wise, we got a lot of new faces, so there's a lot of learning how to play together that the guys in the secondary have to do, but I like our talent level."

Mayhew admitted that all 32 general managers and coaches feel the urgency to win right now, but that's especially the case with the Lions after last year's 4-12 season.

Which is why Mayhew made a concerted effort to bring in more talent and better character players like Glover Quin, Reggie Bush, Jason Jones, Montell Owens and Israel Idonije this offseason.

"There was certainly an emphasis on bringing in the right kind of veterans into this football team," he said.

"I watch the running back position and I see Montell (Owens) and Reggie Bush doing extra every day after practice. Glover's been great for us. Jason Jones has been a great pickup for us. Izzy Idonije's a great locker room guy. Those veterans have really made an impact already on our football team."

PRACTICE REPORT

The Lions continued to practice without cornerback Ron Bartell (shoulder), linebacker Carmen Messina (hamstring), cornerback Chris Greenwood (hamstring) and cornerback Jonte Green (hamstring).

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Bartell and Green's status remained the same. Both players have been out since Saturday.

"Both of them are not long-term," he said. "We'll see how fast we can get them back. Both of them will work hard to get back."

Receiver Devin Thomas (PUP) and defensive end Ronnell Lewis (NFI) remain out.

Safety Louis Delmas (knee) and defensive end Jason Jones (knee) returned to the Lions' second padded practice of camp in limited fashion.

TIME RUNNING OUT?

Time is running out for second-year defensive end Ronnell Lewis to make an impression.

Lewis has yet to practice because of an undisclosed injury and remains on the non-football injury list.

"We only have eight full padded practices in training camp, and this was the second one," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "We always talk about our defensive linemen and judging them on pads. We had a half-line drill today, we had short yardage, and we had a live pass rush drill. It was a good hard day, a hard physical day. All those defensive linemen needed.

"Anything you miss is stuff that you can't get back. He's working hard to get back, but the fact is we can't circle back in training camp and make up time for guys that have missed. There's urgency to get back for everybody."

Maybe more so for Lewis, who's competing with Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah, Jones, Willie Young, Idonije and Devin Taylor for a roster spot. Last year, the Lions kept five defensive ends on the 53-man roster out of camp.

"We don't handicap these players, we don't grade them on a curve based on what they are," Schwartz said. "It's a production business. They have to produce in training camp."

CAMP OBSERVATIONS

Montell OwensRB Montell Owens
  • We may have gotten our first look at the Lions starting secondary Week 1 in 7-on-7 drills. Delmas and Glover Quin were at safety. Chris Houston and Darius Slay on the outside at cornerback and they started the drill in the nickel with Bill Bentley inside.
  • Montell Owens was pretty good as a lead blocker in half-line drills. He got his offensive teammates going with a particularly good block on Travis Lewis that stood the linebacker up. If needed, it looks like Owens can play three positions for the Lions: running back, fullback and special teams cover man.
  • Louis Delmas' reps increased today and he was moving very well. He made a particularly nice play in a team period when he was matched up with Patrick Edwards. Delmas recognized the quick pass into the flat and got there quick enough to meet Edwards for a minimal gain.
  • For the second day in a row, Jake Scott split first-team reps with rookie Larry Warford. Could two players be emerging to the forefront in that competition?
  • The Lions were working out a group of four linebackers after practice, which is common practice during the course of a long training camp.

LEFT VS. RIGHT DE

When Jason Jones missed practice Monday with a sore knee, Willie Young flipped over from right defensive end to the left side.

The right and left defensive end positions aren't different from a scheme standpoint in the Lions' defense, but Young told me playing the other side takes a little getting use to. He offered up an example I thought was interested.

"Try brushing your teeth with your left hand," he said. "It's the same, but it's different."