The Lions are hoping Houston bounces back from a sub-par season, but there are no guarantees he will.
“I’m not certain,” head coach Jim Caldwell said. “You’re never 100-percent certain about anything, you know? I can’t be certain if I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning. Tomorrow’s not promised to me, so I’m not certain. We’ll see. He’s a young man and typically they heal pretty quickly, unlike old guys like me. But we anticipate that he’ll come along. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Caldwell has emphasized since his arrival in January is that everyone is offered a clean slate. He and the other coaches watched last year’s film to get an idea of what players could and couldn’t do, but they’re being offered a chance at a first impression.
“As a matter of fact, I haven dwelled on last year as much,” Caldwell said. “We looked at it from a technical standpoint, just to know that we were aware in what they can do, appears that they can do. But we wanted to start from a clean slate out here and give everybody an opportunity to start from scratch and see what they have.”
Houston didn’t take part in this week’s minicamp as he continues to rehab a toe injury that caused him to miss four games last year. When he does return to the field, however, rest assured the coaches will have a close eye on his progress.
The Lions installed a lot of their offensive and defensive schemes over the last three days of voluntary minicamp practices.
“As far as plays go, a lot of teams have very similar plays, but it’s dramatically different in terms of verbiage, you know, scheme,” quarterback
“It’s quite a bit different, but it’s fun learning something new. It’s a challenge for everybody in our locker room to learn it. I think guys are accepting that, having fun. (When) we do call a play and execute it well, it’s fun to think about doing that 60, 70 times a game and seeing where we could go.”
Caldwell said the coaching staff got exactly what they were hoping to out of the minicamp.
"The guys have certainly picked up the install that we’ve put in place offensively, defensively and in our kicking game,” Caldwell said. “They’ve responded extremely well to what’s been asked of them. They’ve had a lot of enthusiasm. Practice ended on a great note in terms of just guys flying around and getting to the ball and things of that nature.
“So, we’re pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish. Oftentimes, you feel like you need a little bit more time, and I think coaches always do, but in the time that we’re allotted, we certainly were able to get a lot done.”
The list of non-participants at Lions voluntary minicamp practice grew for the third consecutive day.