LIONS INSIDER

Lions don't seem concerned with Larry Warford injury

Posted May 11, 2013

Detroitlions.com lead writer Tim Twentyman on day two of rookie mini-camp, including Larry Warford's walk off the field, Darius Slay's tutoring from Gunther Cunningham and which players are standing out

Coaches want the rookie mini-camp to serve as an introduction to the NFL. They want to build practice habits and get these players up to speed so they don't slow the veterans down during organized team activities (OTAs).

Coaches also want to get out of the weekend injury free.

The Detroit Lions had a little scare Saturday when guard Larry Warford crumbled to the ground during a team drill.

Larry WarfordG Larry Warford (Photo: T. Altman/Detroitlions.com)

The team's third-round pick out of Kentucky, Warford was down on two knees for some time before finally walking off under his own power clutching his left arm. He was unable to return to action, but did rejoin teammates at the end of practice for the closing huddle.

Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Warford did not hurt his shoulder and didn't appear too concerned about the injury.

"It wasn't serious enough to keep him in(side)," Schwartz said. "He stayed around. He caught an elbow that hurt. I don't think it's his shoulder, we'll see.

"We'll err on the side of caution when it comes to just about every injury or situation we have right now."

The Lions are without second-round pick Darius Slay, who underwent microscopic surgery last week to repair a partially torn meniscus.

Slay did go through warm-ups with the team Saturday.

Alex Elkins, an undrafted free agent linebacker out of Oklahoma State, sat out most of the day Saturday after injuring his left hamstring during individual drills.

SLAY GETS PRIVATE TUTORING

Slay might not be taking part in on-the-field activities with his teammates, but that doesn't mean he isn't getting on-the-field instruction.

The rookie cornerback spent nearly all of practice alongside defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham as the two went through scheme and positioning and a number of other things during the nearly two-hour practice.

When asked about the interaction after practice, Slay got a big smile on his face.

"It was like a private tutor," he said. "He was teaching me a little about football, seeing where my head was at. A little mental rep.

"It's invaluable time. I'm here to make the defense better and that's what I'm trying to do. I like Coach. He's straightforward."

If he only knew what he was in store for with Cunningham.

MINI-CAMP OBSERVATIONS

  • The first two days of practice the punt returners have been put through a fun drill to watch.
  • Holding a football, they have to toss that ball into the air right before they field a punt and then catch it again. So, they basically end up holding two footballs if they do the drill properly.
  • Some guys have had their fair share of trouble with the drills. Others have caught both footballs, but it hasn't looked pretty.
  • The best so far has been former Central Michigan receiver Cody Wilson. He must know how to juggle, because he's made the drill look easy.
Cody WilsonWR Cody Wilson (Photo: T. Altman/Detroitlions.com)
  • Rodney Austin, who was on the Lions practice squad last year, took reps at center.
  • "The mini-camp one year ago when he was a rookie, first practice he was a guard and second practice he was a center and that sort of blew his mind right from the very beginning," Schwartz said.
  • "But he played a lot of center for us in training camp last year. When you're an interior offensive lineman, that's an important thing. You have to have the flexibility to play guard or center.
  • "Even guys like Rob Sims take snaps with the quarterback from time to time just to be ready in case of an emergency. But with a young player like Rodney, the more he can do, the better chance he has to be able to stick."
  • Carmen Messina, another practice squad player from last year, has been playing more outside linebacker these first two days. He told me he played the majority of snaps at the 'MIKE' last year, but is trying to put his name into the hat for that open competition for the starting outside linebacker spot.