There was definitely a different enthusiasm level with the Lions defense during the first OTA practice open to the media in its entirety on Wednesday.
“The guys kind of got into it,” head coach Jim Caldwell said after Wednesday's practice. “A competitive atmosphere I think is something that we try and foster with some boundaries.”
The defensive sideline was pumped up today during 11-on-11 drills and cornerback
“It’s a different feel,” Slay said. “Everyone out there is enjoying it. We’re embracing the new coaches and taking it in. It’s a new season for us so we’re trying to start it the right way.”
Speaking of embracing things, Slay says Teryl Austin’s more aggressive defense is tailor-made for his game.
“You can just see it,” Slay said of his early comfort level in the defense. “Even when you’re off the ball, it’s still man. I know when training camp comes we’re going to be all up in (the receiver’s) faces every play.”
It’s certainly a brand of football that seems to fit Slay. He has good size at 6-foot, 192-pounds and possesses sub-4.4 speed. He’s at his best in man cover attached to a receiver.
“I like being up,” Slay said. “I’m not a big (back) pedal guy. I can pedal, I have a good, smooth back pedal, but when I’m on you, I’m on you.
“There are not too many guys that can run by me. The one thing I have to do is get more aggressive with big receivers.”
That will come with playing across
He’s projected to be one of the starting cornerbacks for the Lions Week 1 and an important piece of the puzzle on that side of the ball.