NOTEBOOK: Chris Greenwood knows he needs to stay healthy

Posted Jun 10, 2014

Roster spots aren't won on the sidelines. Chris Greenwood, who's entering his third NFL season out of Albion, is well aware of that truth.

Roster spots aren't won on the sidelines. Chris Greenwood, who's entering his third NFL season out of Albion, is well aware of that truth.

He’s been dealing with a second hernia injury in as many offseasons, but has returned to the field in a limited basis in recent weeks.

Greenwood knows he has to be on the field -- and stay on it -- come training camp if he hopes to make an impression and earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

“It’s always better to be on the field than on the sideline,” said Greenwood, who showed some promise in the three games he played at the end of last year.

“I’m getting a chance to get these physical reps right now… there’s no substitute for getting actual physical reps.”

This is a big training camp for Greenwood, who just might be down to his last chance to stay healthy and prove he belongs in the Lions' secondary.

The Lions like his skillset at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, and he possesses great speed, but availability has to be part of the equation.

Greenwood says he likes the new defense and has worked on being more physical this offseason, but health has honestly been his biggest professional obstacle, whether it’s the hamstring injuries he suffered early as a rookie or the hernias the last two seasons.

“I feel like there’s pressure on everyone,” Greenwood said. “No one wants to come out here and just be average. The team doesn’t want to be average. There’s pressure on everyone to do their job and get better every day.”

The biggest pressure Greenwood should feel is to stay healthy and on the field come August.


The Lions are deep into learning a new offensive scheme and one of the most important tools they’ve used in learning Joe Lombardi’s scheme is old New Orleans Saints' film.

Lombardi has brought over a lot of concepts from his seven years spent in New Orleans, and the Lions playbook will have a lot of those concepts in it.

“This is an offense that led those guys to the Super Bowl a couple years ago,” All Pro receiver Calvin Johnson said. “When we look back to the film, we can see exactly what coach wants and we can apply it on the film.

Johnson said most of the film study has been old Saints tapes.

“We’re going after guys," he said of the offense. "That’s one thing we’ve always done, but we’re going to be more smart choosing our times when we do things.”


Chris Houston was never expected to participate in this week’s mandatory minicamp after undergoing recent toe surgery, but Houston isn’t even in the building, according to head coach Jim Caldwell.

It’s an excused absence, of course, but missing OTAs and all of the meeting time in minicamp and the mental reps at practice is likely to put Houston behind the curve in learning Teryl Austin’s defensive scheme when he does return.

“We excused him,” Caldwell said of Houston. “He is not expected to be here. He is right where he’s supposed to be at this point in time. It’s where we expect him to be.”

Along with Houston, rookie receiver TJ Jones was an excused absence for undisclosed reasons.

At practice, but not taking part, were running back Joique Bell, defensive end Ziggy Ansah and receiver Golden Tate.


Coach Caldwell is pretty even-keeled when it comes to the practice field. He treats players like professionals and expects them to perform as such. 

It's much like like a college professor treats his students.

In college, the professors aren't there to babysit. They aren't there to make sure students do their homework or read the assigned material. They expect students to simply get it done and then test them or quiz them on it afterward.

Caldwell has a similiar approach to coaching, especially with veteran players.

“Today, we’ll grade it, we’ll look at it and if I didn’t get exactly what I want, I’ll point that out on film,” Caldwell said of practice. “I’ll show them what I want, we’ll come back out and we’ll go at it again. That’s kind of how we work and how we operate.

“There’s no need for a whole lot of cussing, screaming, yelling and all that kind of stuff. It’s a mini quiz out here. I never had any of my professors yelling in my ear when I was sitting at the desk filling out those multiple-choice questions.”