Mayhew, coaches will learn a lot in these first two weeks of training

Posted Apr 6, 2014

Mayhew: “I’m excited about seeing the players get (here) and to start implementing our scheme and start seeing guys do some different things."

By virtue of having a new coaching staff, the Detroit Lions get to start their offseason training programs two weeks before clubs that didn’t make a head coaching change this offseason. The players will begin workouts Monday.

Ziggy AnsahDE Ziggy Ansah during last year's rookie mini-camp. (Photo: AP Images)

The Lions are also afforded an extra minicamp (April 22-24), which they expect will be invaluable for both the coaching staff and front office.

“It will give us an indication of some areas where maybe there’s a young guy we really haven’t counted on, who looks like he’s going to take to a new system and going to be a really good player for us,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said of the extra minicamp at last month’s NFL Annual Meetings.

“Maybe there’s a vet we are counting on we need to make some other plans for. There’s always a benefit to having that early camp.”

Usually around this time, on the heels of free agency, the focus is put on the free agents added and lost to the roster when determining if a team got better or not. But in the case of Detroit, Cleveland, Houston, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Washington, all teams who have new coaching staff’s, how new schemes and new ways of coaching could affect players already on the roster should be considered, too.

For Detroit, will a new defensive scheme led by a former defensive backs coach in Teryl Austin have a positive impact on young players like Darius Slay, Chris Greenwood, Bill Bentley and Jonte Green? Could players take to new coaching and new philosophies and potentially see a larger jump in their development?

On the flip side, maybe some veterans stuck in their ways don’t adapt well to the change.

It's one of the great unknowns with any coaching staff.

“I’m excited about seeing the players get (here) and to start implementing our scheme and start seeing guys do some different things,” Mayhew said.

“Getting a feel for how quickly they pick up our system offensively and defensively. Getting a feel for who’s in shape, who’s been training, who’s been working out, who hasn’t been doing that. That’s always important too.”

Coach Jim Caldwell told reporters at the NFL Annual Meetings that every player walking into Allen Park on Monday is offered a clean slate.

“We have an opportunity to look at things from a new vantage point,” Caldwell said. “If a guy wants an opportunity to remake himself, he has that opportunity.”

Lions offseason workout schedule:

First day: April 7

Voluntary minicamp: April 22-24

OTA offseason workouts: May 20-22, May 27-29, June 2-5

Mandatory minicamp: June 10-12